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March 27, 2022

Updated: Mar 27

This new version of michaelaba.com is a little over two months shy of reaching its first anniversary, and finally I’m adding to the catalogue of songs I’d promised to expand in the very beginning. Progress has been slow, I’ll admit. But it’s being made!


“Waiting for the Next Surprise” originally consisted of three tracks: the title song, “Happy Hour”, and “I Can Dream”. Now there is also “Follow You Down”, which is notable to me for having lyrics that MUST have been inspired by the failed insurrection of Jan 6, 2021 - except for the fact they were written a full six months prior! “Sparkling Starlight” seemed to come from out of nowhere. And “Her Arrival” might be my new favorite because, well - in my own humble opinion, there’s something so damned sweet about the lyrics.


For me, sharing songs feels more intimate than when someone reads one of my books. That’s my voice, as faulty as it is… My arrangement, my lyrics, my music… My guitar and piano playing, my harmonies… Even though most of the compositions are not directly related to my own life, they become personal in a true sense. None of them would have existed without me taking the time to lasso them up before they would have otherwise faded off into the ether.


Some questions can be difficult for me to answer in relation to songwriting, the key one being “why are you even bothering to still do this?” After all, I’m obviously not trying to make a living in this regard, and my output seems to supersede the amount of ears out there interested in listening. There might well be a slim line, or maybe even a non-existent one, between continuing to write songs and completely wasting one’s time.


The best explanation comes when taking myself out of the equation. When I regard the initial moments of brief inspiration as gifts (from where I cannot say), I’m more likely to record and/or remember the initial chord progressions and jumbled words. These little presents magically delivered should not be simply dismissed, I often force myself to remember. Then the challenge becomes discovering and uncovering what the true song appears meant to be.


And eventually - voila!


I don’t see the results as an ostentatious display of “what I have to say”. Even though, in the end, that’s what they become. And yes - sharing them with you all can feel very personal.


I’m hoping the next two songs - there are still around ten to go from the surprisingly prolific Covid isolation days! - will be finished and online by this time next month. Their titles are “Your Wife” and “Love Has Finally Come”. I probably won’t write a blog about them but look forward to hearing random reviews, should any of you be so inclined.


After this recording period is over, I’m not sure at this point if I’ll return to writing fiction or if another working season in Martha’s Vineyard will entice me once again.


As usual, I find myself waiting for the next surprise.


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