Friday, June 23, 2017
Un-Guitar'd: Second Best
This week, I finished recording 2 songs for my Un-Guitar'd project. Both were written while I was in High School. The first, A Heart Shaped Rock, I wrote about in last week's blurb. Second best is another song that's always been very important to me.
I took piano lessons as a kid, but never got along with my piano teachers. It may have been the juxtaposition of an instrument that I had to practice on my own 6 days a week with my experience learning the Trombone, where I had the opportunity to learn it alongside my peers. I also always had an inferiority complex about the piano. Because I wasn't surrounded by students who had been playing a comparable amount of time, I was always jealous of people who'd been playing two and three times as long as me, and thus were stronger players.
In spite of all this, the first handful of song that I wrote in eighth grade were written on the piano. After all, I wouldn't get a guitar until I turned sixteen two years later. As I developed as a songwriter, however, I all but stopped writing for the piano. My piano teacher suddenly "couldn't find room in her schedule" for me once I started high school, so I stopped taking lessons until college(another story in altogether). Then, one night, I got an idea for a lead line and wrote Second Best.
The verses are about my experience taking a girl to the homecoming dance my senior year of high school. She was someone I'd had a crush on more or less since middle school, and it almost looked like we might have a chance at dating. Then, about halfway through the evening she started talking about a bunch of drama related to her on again off again boyfriend. Even before I expressed my feelings for her later that night, I knew I didn't stand a chance. Just for the record, we did remain close friends for the remainder of high school and had a falling out after an unrelated disagreement the following summer. I still got sad when she didn't want to go out with me though.
Although the song was written initially about a very specific event, the idea of always coming up second best is something I've grappled with before and since. In high school, I was always in the running for various awards and leadership opportunities, but was consistently passed over. I'd even joke that my band, "Whoever Shows Up" was everyone's second favorite band in the school, since we were well liked, but always did poorly in the battle of the bands. More recently, I was passed over for a promotion at work that I was sure I was being groomed for. The point of this project was to find meaning and value today in songs I wrote at completely different points in my life. Second Best still resonates today almost as much as it did back then.
Thanks for reading. The song is below, and you can pay what you want for the full project at kendallhalman.bandcamp.com. Look for a couple more songs next week, and then I'll have to start work on my Christmas album.