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Deconstructing 12 Step

February 25, 2013

12%20steps12 Step started from a single phrase uttered by my son Ben. We were on holiday in a sunny place with a swimming pool. Ben had spent so long in the pool and the sun was so bright he remarked as only a little boy can do “I’m turning blue !”

For months I had that opening line “I’m turning blue… because of you” and it went nowhere. I’ve read lyrics by real songwriters who cleverly develop a word theme through the song so I thought verse 1 would be blue and verse 2 would be… red.  Too clever for my own good aren’t I?

One evening I had a conversation with someone who was coming out of a bad relationship. His former partner was/is a nightmare by all accounts.  Putting on his “hat” (see what I did there?) I tried to tell a story from the side of someone who has stuck it out but eventually reaches breaking point.

The air turns blue next to you

You’re out of line we’re out of time

I’m always stuck in your firing line

Watch out . . .  here comes the chorus !

Over a simple C to A minor progression.

Jumps up to B7 to E for the chorus when he puts his foot down.

I deserve more than this shouldn’t be a one way street
I deserve more than this shouldn’t be a one way street
I deserve more than this

Have you ever been to a dinner or party when there’s someone who wants to crawl under the table because of their partner’s behaviour? Picture the scene as this guy apologizes again for what happened. Again.

I’m turning red at everything you’ve said

In the morning when they’re gone

You won’t remember what you’ve done

I should stress… this is all fictional and no actual people were mentioned in the writing of this song.  The song title “12 Step” refers to 12 step programmes as I wondered what it might be like to be stuck in a relationship with someone who needed all 12 Steps every day.

Middle 8 sections: what’s not to like?  The middle 8 is a section in the middle of a song to give the listener something fresh… also called the ‘bridge’.  You can read all about it here if you’re so inclined.
I’ve wanted to use the A minor > B minor 7th > C > D progression for years and now I finally had a place for it.

I will try I will fail look at me I’m too good for you
I will try I will fail look at me I’m too good for you
I will try I will fail look at me running after you

A twist in the end… yet again he’s suckered back into the relationship and we hear her complaint

I deserve more than this… she said

The recording of the song took me through a few versions but it wasn’t until Mark (bass) and Tim (drums) got to grips with it in a rehearsal room that it took proper shape. My favourite bit are the backing vocals in the middle 8 singing ” me me me me me . . . “. They were fun to record and I have to credit Dan Prendiville for the idea.

12 Step was remixed by two friends (Dave Riley and Dan Prendiville).  I sent them the multitracks and let them loose with it. I still get a kick hearing what they did and you can too (for FREE!) just visit my online store and get a free digital download of “Other People’s Remixes“.  While you’re at it… buy a copy of the album “Other People’s Hats” too.

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