Hot, Sad Temps: Where A Song Comes From

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When we last checked in on our song-in-the-making, I was explaining how cheap tricks, like running a very pedestrian drum loop through a distortion pedal, can often provide enough spark to jumpstart the stalled songwriting process.
With this song, that process had been stalled for about, oh, eight years. As with many of my tunes, the initial hit of inspiration lasted just long enough to come up with the verse, but faded before I could put together a chorus, or a bridge, or any interesting ancillary parts.
I was pretty excited about that verse, though.
I wrote it when I was dating this woman who was basically still on the rebound from a difficult breakup. She was working a series of incredibly stupid and pointless temp jobs all around the Bay Area before heading back to grad school, and regularly showed up at her corporate office du jour in a mood of funereal despair, accessorized with inappropriate footwear.
I watched her stomp off towards BART in her Doc Martens one bleak April morning, feeling a little guilty about my own temporary leave from wage slavery, but pretty psyched about going back to bed, when her Model T-colored outfit started to strike me as slightly funny. I imagined that it was just a facade, her businesswoman’s suit of armor, and that the monochrome exterior hid a collection of much more interesting amulets, charms, relics.
Fortunately, I happened to have a guitar and a notepad handy, and I put down the first verse of the song pretty quickly, sounding a lot like this:
The vocals are a little muffled, so take a look at the lyrics here if you want to follow along:

She wore big black boots to work today
She’s got a great big hole in her heart
She got roses, doses, bibles underneath her clothes
So many ways to get a head start
So many ways to falling apart

Next time: the chorus!


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