Music, musings and more from the mind of Ben Averch.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Creative Destruction

"We often regard fire as an agent of destruction, but to Nature, it is an agent of necessary change."

“Creative Destruction” is one of my favorite songs that I’ve done. For the lyrics, I started with the visual of a forest fire – an event that devastates the area and destroys most living things there, but is also a natural part of the cycle of the life of the forest, “bringing new life from what there was”. This great article “Fire’s Natural Role” by the Florida Forest Service describes all this in detail, and all the ways that trees have adapted to periodic fires, and the new kinds of trees that can only grow from soil rich with the ashes of the previous generation.

There’s something pretty powerful and comforting about the idea that whatever may be “burning you up” (or burning up around you), it’s necessarily setting the stage for something new to come, the next phase in an ongoing evolution. There are only 14 lines in the song, but I think it really comes together and makes a statement about the power of hope (and maybe, faith in the ‘okayness’ of whatever path we find ourselves on) when it appears that all is lost. So, deep thoughts going on here.

The music reinforces these ideas with alternating “heavy and dark” introduction, verse and bridge segments and a bouncier, almost lilting, melodic chorus, driven the bass line, that lets some of the light through. In the heavier sections, I’ll include a bar of 7/4 after a couple of bars of 4/4 (just to mess with people), basically dropping a beat here and there to maybe add to the sense of instability. (That being said, it seems to flow pretty smoothly and I’m not sure people would notice this, which is usually a good thing for bands playing in odd time signatures!)

Listening now, there sounds like a little Tom Petty thing going on in the vocal which is kind of different for me. (Most people used to tell me I sound like the Counting Crows guy, a comment for which I will reserve comment!)

One of my favorite parts here is the reprisal of the introduction heavy part after the bridge, with the lead guitar plaintively wailing in the background. I really love that bit as it leads into the solo. Without giving up any state secrets, I used a little trickeration on the main guitar solo here, but I still played it (in a manner of speaking).

This song is one that carries across into my live solo acoustic interpretation pretty well, I think, and it’s been a staple of the live performances that I’ve done over the last few years. You can really put a lot into the song and it doesn’t seem too overwrought (at least to me). Only the bridge section is a little bit reworked as it relies heavily on the lead guitar in the recorded version.

Yep, I like this one a lot and I would be sure to include this on a “Greatest Hits” record should such a thing ever become a good idea. So, something to look forward to!

Forest fires raging in my heart
Everything I've built is torn apart
And you know I'll never be the same
As the picture hanging in the frame

Creative destruction bringing new life from what there was
Without hope there can't be any way to see what could be

Black smoke engulfing all I see
Wind whips the flames when you look at me
No words can say what this means
Regenerate this in memory

Opening the canopy to let light in
From this sea of ashes you'll begin
Open up to every possibility
From this smoking darkness you can see the sun

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