I Love What You Could Be

I Love What You Could Be

alyxanderjames's picture
Artist Favorite

Tags: 

Demo: 

Liner Notes: 

First 50/90 song is an appropriate one for July 4 here in the USA. I’m currently in a songwriting class at the Old Town School of Folk Music here in Chicago, and our assignment this week was to write a song about our experience of living in the United States at this point in our lives. So, I wrote a bit about what it’s like to be queer here. Melody’s still a little shaky (it HAS a melody, I just didn't quite hit it in this demo), but I think you get the idea.

EDIT JULY 7: Uploaded a new demo that hopefully avoids the level issues the first one had and where the melody is more solid.

Lyrics: 

West from Chicago, an annual drive
Windmills and soy beans and corn on all sides
Sometimes we need space from the city to breathe
So we hit the road and escape for a week

There are endless alternative routes we could take
But we mainly stick to the interstate
Rest stops feel safer than small country towns
So much of this country doesn’t want us around

America, I’m in love with your beauty
Your fields and mountains
Your lakes and your streams
America, you hold triumph and trauma
Our chains and our freedom
Our nightmares and dreams
I love what you could be
But I don’t think you love me

Can we hold hands, can I give you a kiss
Have there been small warning signs that I missed
I heard that the fight for our freedom’s been won
But what if some homophobe’s here with a gun

America, I’m in love with your beauty
Your fields and mountains
Your lakes and your streams
America, you hold triumph and trauma
Our chains and our freedom
Our nightmares and dreams
I love what you could be
But I don’t think you love me

We struggle to stay on our feet
Rise up every day
We may not be land of the free
But sometimes we are brave

America, I’m in love with your beauty
Your fields and mountains
Your lakes and your streams
America, you hold triumph and trauma
Our chains and our freedom
Our nightmares and dreams
I love what you could be
But I don’t think you love me

Yes I love what you could be
But I don’t think you love me



Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.

Comments

OdilonGreen's picture

Really powerful lyrics, with lots of genuine moments in the verses, and a nice tension between the first and second halves of the chorus. Truly affecting! Just maybe turn up the mix next time; I had to turn my volume up past my normal levels to hear the song (and I'm glad I did - it was well worth it!).

mike skliar's picture

Wonderful topic and very well done! That duality of the so-horrible but so wonderful feeling about this country is what I was trying to convey a bit in my first song here too (it's called "butterfly(streets of the capitol city)).

This is emotional and effective and what a great chorus! (and America, or at least some part of it, loves you!)

recording suggestion (not that I'm such an expert, tho)- do some eq (equalizing) - cut out everything under 100 hz, and lower everything from 100-300 hz a bit too- it'll get rid of that "boominess" and make the vocal stand out a little more. (and yeah, when you're done with that, boost the volume too)

colgoo's picture

I really love that line:

I love what you could be
But I don’t think you love me

coolparadiso's picture

Everlasting story - so true for so many everywhere - real troubadour song. So gently told.

ethanlyn's picture

I was inspired by Hank and John Green to look up some of your phrases - there are no Google results for "I love what you could be" or "you hold triumph and trauma." "Corn on all sides" appears to mostly elotes recipes. You have a way with words!

ustaknow's picture

Well done. I am not sure what you mean about "shaky melody", so you'd have to comment that concern as you feel it and ask specifically if folks agree or not.

I don't sit through entire songs often, but did with this one.

When I listen to what I see as a "love" song, my test so to speak is, if I can sing it to my gold fish, cat, dog... and it makes sense, -- if that makes sense... love is love and allows mind pictures in the listener to form for them. However, that can change a song too. So for me applying that, it works but for one line sticks out since tries to "explain" the song, literally.

But, regardless, - this is great work.

johnstaples's picture

This is a really beautiful song! It has a lovely melody...a relaxing, tender groove...and a powerful message! Your vocals are soft yet strong. Your insightful lyrics really make one pause to think. As a white, hetero male I rarely even bother to consider the possible consequences of small towns although I do avoid certain "bad" neighborhoods in Chicago out of a sense of mild fear and concern. But I have friends of color and friends of differing sexual orientations and I have come to understand there is genuine danger and risk in many places of this "free" country. It is very sad and you cover this so beautifully in your lyrics. Wonderful work here!!!

Side note: When you refer to windmills are you by chance referring to Batavia?

standup's picture

Sweet tune, I enjoyed traveling with y'all out there. Favorite line: We may not be land of the free/But sometimes we are brave. And America, love what you could be...

I have lived in places for years where people could walk down the street holding hands no matter who they were. But all of us, at all times, even cis/straight people have to have awareness of our surroundings for various reasons. No one is ever completely safe, but being queer makes safety even more precarious.