Posting this song for thoughts and advice. I have shared this song in another songwriting group in the past and I have rewritten it a couple of times but I still feel it could be improved somewhere. Some questions in my mind: Would it work as a congregational song in your church? Is there anything about the song that you would do differently if you were writing it? Does it flow nicely or is it clunky somewhere? Is the style and melody appealing? Do the lyrics make sense?
A worktape recording of the song is attached as well as a current lyric / chord sheet.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to listen, review, and offer any feedback.
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Okay, so here are my first impressions... you know how I operate on this stuff...
Reading through the lyrics, there is something about that line "Saved by God's own Son" in the first verse that feels off. I just really want it to be something more metaphoircally in tune with the 'building" theme of the song - which I think you do a good job of sticking to thoughout most of the song, although I do think "purchased with His blood" is similarly off-topic. It's not that I object to the thought that we are "saved by God's own son," it just feels like you've sorta abandoned the imagery and just filled in some good contemporary worship song words.
The bridge does shift from God as "Him" to God as "You" which is one of my pet peeves... since it's a moderately slow song, my first thought would be to cast it all with God as "You" - "which YOU rescued from the rubble" etc. I don't know, I'm not sure I'd know until I tried it both ways, but I would try to make it consistent, one way or the other.
I wonder if it would be more appropriate to refer to "A temple of broken pieces" instead of "THE temple..." Or, depending on how the song was cast, "YOUR temple..."
I feel like things are a little inconsistent just in terms of... are we Christians (as a group) a/the temple, or are we people who are rescued from the rubble of a broken temple. Or maybe it's more like ARE we a broken temple or WERE we a broken temple but now we're something else?
Okay, so, musically... in that first line (etc), I'd be interested in hearing what it sounds like if the word "temple" hit on the 1 beat rather than "We are..."
In general, it feels like there are a number of words that are held out that might be more effective if they were sung as, like, quarter notes rather than half notes. It's not that the tempo needs to be sped up, it's just that the individual words want to be sung more quickly, even if that means longer pauses between lines in the lyric, or maybe a couple places where eight beats of music could be done in four beats.
I think there is a song in here that I would do with our congregation, but it's not quite there yet. Any objections if I fiddle around with this, see if I can record a version the way we might do it? That's easier than trying to explain what I would do, and I also find that just the process of recording a song is the way I figure out where the subtle issues are... plus it gives you a chance to react in horror to what I would to your baby :-)
Thank you. I can always depend on you for a thoughtful critique.
Yes, I was aware that I switched to addressing God directly in the bridge, and it is something I don't usually do and agree that it probably shouldn't be done. The bridge also gets a little weird in rhythm so that whole section may need some fiddling and adjusting (or maybe a total overhaul).
Please see what you can do with this and share it here. I took this song to a point and abandoned it, but I like the concept enough that I want to see what can be done with it to improve. So have at it.
Also, I can play up my reaction if you wish, but I have done enough co-writing of songs to appreciate how others may interpret and redevelop what I have come up with.
Sorry, no new recording yet, but I have been looking at this some more... the sticky spot I keep running into is whether we're talking about a "broken temple" or a (whole) temple made of "broken pieces." Taking the title for what it says, I know we're talking about the latter, but the image that keeps coming up in my mind is of a temple that has been reduced to rubble. Maybe the lyric needs to be a little more like "God is building a temple from broken pieces..." "We" are the broken pieces, "we" are not the temple. That may require a little more lyric tweaking than I was initially thinking of, but I think that's where the lyric is stubbing its metaphorical toe. I shall continue to ponder...
Hey, Brian - decided today was the day to see what I might do with this one, since it's been stewing for a while. MP3 and .jpg of chord chart attached - I ended up doing it in E for the recording, but the chart is nashville notation. The top note isn't quite as high as it was in your original melody.
So, yeah, it still felt to me like that "God as he / God as you" issue needed to be fixed, so I ended up making it a "God as you" song (though there are probably a couple spots that aren't quite fixed).
I also continued to feel like that question of whether it's the temple that's broken or the pieces (Christians) that are broken wasn't as clear as it needed to be, so I maybe went a little overboard making those changes.
And, of course, I changed some chords and some structure and some phrasing... you may or may not recognize your original song. But it's still your song, this is just a "what I would do if it was my song" exercise, and a lot of those things I can't figure out until I'm recording at least a rough demo. Not adding myself as a co-writer or anything like that, though you're welcome to adopt any of what I did as part of your song. Or not.
I'm still not sure whether this is one I would take to our band even with my "fixes," our church tends to minimize the focus on "brokenness" so it might not fit in our services real well. But it's my shot at making the song say what the original intent was.
Hmm, the attachments did not seem to upload... here's the chart, I'll see if I can upload the mp3 in a separate message...
See if this works to play the song - it wouldn't let me upload the mp3, so I put it out on my own webspace...
Oh, yeah, wanted to mention that maybe instead of "reclaimed" in the verse, it could be "restored." I didn't want to use "redeemed" because I didn't feel like that word would be taken to mean "it was broken but you fixed it." It sorta has that meaning, but I think within the church it might just be passed over, so I specifically wanted to use a different word...
So, Charles, I listened to your recording and read your lyrics. I appreciate what you did with this and find it enjoyable as a performance style song. However, there is a lot you did that doesn't allow it to readily work as a congregational song. The lyrics are bunched up at times rhythmically and that shows where you are rushing through syllables to stick to your melody. That's ok for a performance song but doesn't allow it to flow nicely for congregational singing - at least in my opinion. In verse 2, line 2, you broke the syllable count pattern you had set for the 2nd and 4th lines in each verse. Not a biggie, but to fix that you could get rid of the second word "on".
Overall, I understand that the original lyrics didn't seem overly clear to you. That prompted you overhaul the song. That's fine, but I don't think that most of what you did with the lyrics was necessary. I think I will not be inclined to go with that kind of overhaul. However, I do appreciate your effort and will take what you have done for ideas moving forward. At this time I am working on other songs, but when I get back to this, I am likely to modify my original melody, tweak the lyrics in the verses and chorus, overhaul the bridge, and see how that turns out. Again, thanks for your feedback and suggestions!