The Singles Series: Always Leave The Tape Rolling

Transparent recording process reveals all.

iPhone, Voice Memo, tape reel, Gibson guitarArchivists know that the most illuminating moments in music often come when the engineer leaves the tape machine in recording mode, as the musicians talk about whatever suits them.

This week Shelly Peiken and I finished writing a song we started last Spring. It’s called Better Not To Care.

For the sake of remembering the details we imagined while writing, we recorded an extremely off-handed version. Shelly sketched in the vocal, and I the guitar. Mistakes aside, you get the idea [play video].

Much to my surprise, the most inspiring part of the voice memo is what came afterward. With the iPhone accidentally still in red-light recording mode – Shelly talks about what it would take to properly record the song.

In the moments as she spoke to me, my main thought was that Better Not To Care was best left to a female singer?

But listening now to Shelly’s opinions on the ‘tape’, I am floored by the authority of her instincts. What she said not only warms my heart, it also has me jazzed to record a proper performance.

You’ll smile at what she says. It’s truthful.

Everything about writing with Shelly is a master class in truth and flow. Her ability to identify a vibe, an emotional angle, a narrative voice and then spill it out, was unlike anything I’d seen. What an honor to work with her!

More on Shelly.


    u keep that saying you’ll call but
    I’m not even on your shortlist
    If I told you you’d ignore this..this I know
    And the truth is that I’m just paralyzed
    You’re gonna go and pass me by
    And drag my poor heart with you when you go

    I spend too much time
    Wondering why
    All in love’s not fair
    Shoulda seen signs
    There were So many signs
    Sayin we never had a prayer
    I spend too much time
    building these castles in the air
    Come TO the conclusion
    It’s better Not To Care
    There’s just no solution
    It’s Better Not To Care

    I’d make every day your birthday
    And I’d sing you songs on Sundays
    And I’d cook romantic dinners by the sea
    If you’d only put the book down
    And just admit the worlds round
    If you’d only stop your life and notice me


    (Then I’d be) Someone who can flick a hearts switch
    Turn it on and turn it off so easy
    Someone who resists the urge
    To jump in when she feels it so completely….

    Well I guess I’ll let you go
    It’s getting late and you have no idea and
    I don’t wanna go thru this again
    Maybe we’re just better off as friends

Click to see the entire collection of “Singles Series” blog posts.

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One response to “The Singles Series: Always Leave The Tape Rolling”

  1. "I'm still trying to facsimil…FORGET ABOUT IT!" <– my favorite part. Shelly is very generous.

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