An exercise in songwriting

After a recent gig, we ended up in a pub with a Bar Billiards table. It's a game with a particular resonance for us - when we first started going to pubs, our regular haunt had a table and many an evening was spent drinking, laughing and playing a few games of bars with our friends. Anyway, for old times sake, we played a couple of games and it reminded me that (as with all successful games) it has a very pleasing balance of risk and reward - you can amass points over time with little risk but can also score big or then lose them all with a single shot. Anyway, this led to a brief exchange about bar billiards as a metaphor for life and having been waxing lyrical about songwriting during the gig, it was suggested by one of our party that it should form the basis of a song. Being up for a challenge, I therefore idly tossed round a few ideas and came up with this:

It's maybe not the greatest song I've ever written, but I think that weakness is inherent in songs with a somewhat laboured metaphor. Even great songwriters like Nick Cave can get themselves tied up in metaphors that don't quite work, which for my money is the case on 'Rock of Gibraltar' from 'Nocturama' (an anomalously weak album in my opinion). Obviously in this case the metaphor is that the balance of risk and reward in a game is the same in love. This chimes nicely with some of the game theory that has been used in evolutionary psychology to explain how mating strategies develop (or so I've read), but it's not the most romantic sentiment ever (then again, hey, the subject matter hardly lends itself to grand romance!)

I'm reasonably happy with it structurally.  It deploys a classic form which I haven't used that often - verse, chorus, verse, chorus, middle 8, instrumental verse, chorus.  I say classic, but I can't actually think of any that do - anyone else? The verses include a bridge, which is always pleasing to give a lift into the chorus. The melody in the middle 8 is somewhat similar to the second half of the choruses but over a different chord sequence (again, not one I've used before with both the minor and major 2nd chords used)  which mitigates that a bit. I like the fact that it's in a 6/8 time signature as I rarely write in that but it can be very effective (Mike used it perfectly on 'My Confession').

But overall it doesn't quite fly for my money, probably because it started life with an idea (using the metaphor of the game) rather than a mood, a story or a character to build around. Not that songs can't be successful when starting with an idea, but I think it's then harder to craft something really good out of it. But anyway, there it is, I offer it and these thoughts as a little reflection on how songs can come to be.