This week’s entry is another female penned and sung song “Sunny Sunday” by Joni Mitchell. I’ve always loved this song and a handful of others from her mid-90’s album Turbulent Indigo. Some of the songs on that album suffer under the crushing weight of “adult-contempo” production techniques, but the ones that don’t soar above with great lyrics, rhythm guitar, and tasty playing by Wayne Shorter, among others.
Initially with this version I thought I’d go with a very, very stripped down interpretation. The final mix which appears here still only has about 5 tracks (usually with ACA songs I’m using 16-24!) But the vocal line is complex and with only the bass line in the mix, the singing is difficult. I ended up adding acoustic guitar and a quiet keyboard part to outline the chords. Joni has fretless bass, drums, synth, and tenor sax, in addition to her guitar on the original. I decided to come up with my own rhythm tracks and ended up with a drum pattern featuring some Timbaland sounds that I programmed with my MPC. The snare sounds especially I used because it reminds me of a great Timbaland produced Jay-Z song called “Hey Papi.”
How does that relate you ask? I don’t know, but in the world of All City Affairs I’ve created I like messing around and pulling influences from all over the place. The lyrics to this song are impressionistic in a way I find very hard to write myself. It’s a scene of a woman and her strange behavior. Most of the time when I’m sitting down to write lyrics to a melody I’ve created I feel like I have to sum up a big issue over the course of my lines. But when I get blown away by a song like this it’s because there’s a tide of emotive energy coming from the performances and the vocals nuances that makes what seems initially like a “smaller” idea feel like so much more. It’s a way of writing about the atom that is the building block to the rest of the world.
Best, Peter – ACA