Monday, April 28, 2008

Something Beautiful

5. Something Beautiful

Words and music by Chris Sligh

Produced by Brown Bannister & Stephen Leiweke

The Writing:

The original version of this song was written right after HPF had right after we had finished up the 1st HPF album. We recorded a 2nd collection of songs to add to our merch table that we called Besides… (a play on B-Sides), and the original version was recorded for that album. The original was more along the lines of Jason Mraz or John Mayer, with bluesy tones and b-3 was also a little slower.

As I started preparing for this album, I wanted to explore old songs that I’d recorded before to see if they would work for what I was wanting to do with this record. Obviously, I knew that a few songs from Take a Chance were going to be on this album, so I didn’t want to leave any rock unturned. As I listened to this song, I felt that the chorus needed to be rewritten to really pop like the rest of the record was going to. So, I made it a little less John Mayer and little more U2, melodically. The bridge and verses stayed the same, however.

The Meaning:

I remember having a conversation with a close friend where we talked about how frustrated he was basically with not being in control of his life. There are so many things about God that didn’t make sense to him. As I walked away from that conversation, the optimist that I am, I thought about all the things that didn’t make sense, but really turned out in our favor as human beings. I mean, Christ left heaven to come and die on a cross. Tell me how that makes sense? So, I wrote a song that put all the things that didn’t make sense into a song that basically says that it’s okay that I don’t understand God.

The Recording:

For Stephen & Brown’s co-production, we used Stephen on guitars, Joey Canaday on bass and Will Denton on drums for initial tracking. Will & Joey were in Stephen Curtis Chapman’s band together for a long time and now play with LeAnn Rimes. 

As we started to record, Stephen really wanted to break away from the feel of my new demo, and we tried several different ideas. Joey came up with what is now the opening riff and it stuck. It went from more 80’s pop/U2-ish to Maroon 5-ish in a hurry, but it felt good and it worked.

We did guitar and keys overdubs at Stephen’s studio. I recorded some rhythm guitars and did most of the keys on this one. The keyboard part is from a moog sampler called MiniMonsta. The piano part on the 2nd verse is from Akoustik piano...we threw some distortion and delay on there to really mess it up. Finally on the verses, we used a Nord keyboard to throw a moog-like bass (real filtered and funky) to copy what the bass was doing then mixed the real bass and fake bass together.

On bgv’s Chris Eaton came in and did them all.

There’s something beautiful   * 
About the way you don’t make sense
 *   A crown for a cross, heaven for earth  * 
Beauty for ashes in the dirt  *  There’s something marvelous,
 *   Some kind of mystery in your grace  * 
Love comes from pain, joy comes from loss  * 
Still we find beauty in the cross  * 
And hope from what was lost

 * *   Though I can’t wrap my mind  * 
Around the mysteries I’ll be fine  * 
There’s something beautiful in all I can’t see through
 * *   There’s something wonderful
 *   About the way you break my heart  * 
This world for a cross  *  Riches for shame
 *  Trading this glory for your name  * 
And success for lovely gain   * * 


 1  * * Though I don’t understand today  * 
The mysteries of grace I’ll be okay  * 
There’s something beautiful in all I can’t see through  * *  Oh, something beautiful  * 
Oh, something beautiful  * * full chorus  * *  bridge


Carrie said...

Chris... this blog is.... exactly what I needed to read right now. So thank you. Also your last one made me want to watch Anchorman but I don't have it so I'm going to watch Talladega Nights and just laugh.

risalea said...

I guess an analogy for us trying to comprehend and understand God is something like an amoeba trying to understand a human. Isn't it great that we don't have to, though? All we have to know is that He loved us so much He gave His son to die for our sins. You don't have to dissect it or analyze it. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, "it is what it is."

Cathy Storms said...

I was waiting for you to put up this song. This song has become one of my favorites on the CD. It reminds me of a YES song "Owner of A Broken Heart." It has the same bass that the YES song does. The drums in this song are awesome. Plus, I can shake my booty to it. lol.....

Joseph said...

I don't understand the half of all the technical recording stuff you write about, nor frankly do I care about it, but I love your heart and I truly love what God is doing in and through you. I imagine you've worked hard to get to where you are and I'm confident that it hasn't been without the attendant pain and suffering. Enjoy the success and remember to give Him the glory. Phew! Didn't realize I was going to preach. :)

GirlyGirl45 said...

still enjoying the background stories on these Chris.

Ok, can you answer one thing: did the judges consistently show up at final rehearsals when you were on the show?

ChrisSligh said...


GIrlyGirl, on Oprah last year, they talked about the fact that they watch the dress rehearsal from their dressing rooms and THAT is where they make their judgements from b/c the sound in the actual studio is so bad.

I always wondered, after seeing Every Little Thing, how they got it so wrong...when I heard that I realized it. really had falled apart in the dress rehearsal.

I think I even talked about this in my open letter to the top 24.


Cathy Storms said...

What a shock that the judges make their decision during dress rehersal.
lol..She kind of blew it last night when she commented on both songs Jason sang instead of just the first one. I bet the producers were having heart attacks. lol....

GirlyGirl45 said...

AHA! thanks Chris. Conversely, it also explains why some were showered with praise on nights when America was hearing, um, something completely different. Perfect excuse for me to go listen to Every Little Thing--very enjoyable performance (and yet wasn't this the night they came up with the perplexing yet creative 'in-the-pocket' phrase? lol; they still trot that out now and then)

Some folks who have been to rehearsals are claiming that the judges were never there, but the dressing room viewing would explain things, but Paula was really inexcusable. Tonight should be interesting, to say the least. I can't decide whether the show officially jumped the shark last night or just bought itself a new lease on life. I do feel bad for Jason and hope he gets to live for another week at least.