"hit or miss" is the middle track on the july ep (itunes) in the yearbook series. i think i've proclaimed this before, but (unfortunately for those closest to me) i am a very impatient person. no matter how hard i try, i am just not a fan of waiting for things.
the opening lyric, "hurry, hurry up and wait" is the heart of this song. in the middle of yearbook, that concept was at constant play in my head. i would rush, rush, rush to meet the monthly deadlines and when i finally hit the finish line, as soon as each song left my hands, i'd have to do more waiting. so even though the whole idea of yearbook was born in the spirit of impatience, making the gap between writing, recording and releasing disappear, i was still impatient with the whole thing. so i wrote this song to remind me to cool it.
musically, a lot of this song's shape and heart was written several years before this song became a song, in a hotel of all places. a while back i got a new keyboard, and as is tradition with each new instrument i buy, i write something and play around with recording it with no aim, aside from seeing what i'm capable of doing with this thing. so while on tour way back when, i spent an evening in my hotel room messing around with my new gadget. usually those try-out-my-new-toy recordings don't turn into anything more than a bit of fun, but i always liked these particular little odd melodies. so i kept this song on the back burner until it made sense within one of my projects... yearbook felt like a perfect fit for this sort of exploration.
once i decided this piece of music belongs on this ep, i decided to approach this song without any specific intentions aside from having a lot of fun playing around further with it, keeping it in the spirit in which it was written. in most cases, i have a very clear picture of how i want a song to end up and exactly what i want it to say, so i really enjoyed a less pressured approach for this one.
musically, i liked the idea of taking some of those descending sparkly melodies and have different instruments take turns playing them. bells turn into wurlitzer turns into banjo, turns into several other types of keyboard sounds. instrument evolution of sorts.
lyrics... as i mentioned, are all about me venting my impatience, while pretending that i appreciate the importance of patience. (i do, of course... it's a virtue after all, but just not my favorite one...) this song is obviously very much about time.
i liked the idea of expressing patience (and impatience) through a lot of common expressions, like:
"a watched kettle never boils, a watched tree never grows"
"hit or miss"
"may we reap all that we sow"
i'm not sure why, but i generally tend to like the use of idioms in songs. there's a familiarity i suppose that i like when in contrast with (hopefully) new ideas. so for this song, i wanted to include as many as i can. it was a lot of fun to make those odd little connections.
"much too tired to try, much too stubborn to quit."
that lyric always kicks me in the butt in the right way. i find myself feeling like that, often. a state of limbo. that lyric is a good reminder and overview of the ridiculousness of letting myself remain in that place.
on a visual level, i was really excited when this line came about...
"every cloud above's full of splattered paint"
it has two meanings: on a totally surface level, i just liked the idea of there being clouds above us that are full of multicolored paint. and the actual meaning behind the line is probably obvious: rain is what gives our world life = color. when a line works on both levels, intent and surface visual, it makes me super happy. so i was grateful when that little line appeared.
overall, "hit or miss" was such a fun song to write! because of the less pressured approach and lyrically it's a lot of me venting and discussing my obsession and struggle with patience, it was quite enjoyable to write.
total side note: as i mentioned in the "wilderness: how it was made" blog post, i aimed to make that song in the vein of some of my older material from my "ghosts" album... i aimed to make this song have some instrumentation similarities to music on my "keep no score" album, AND on the next song of this ep, "aperture" i built it similar to songs on my "storyboard" record (when i began writing and recording my ukulele) so there's a fun little sleeping at last history concept at play on this july ep.
thanks for reading!
much love, ryan
click here to read other "how it was made" blog posts!
listen: (why does that have the wrong artwork? no clue.)
HIT OR MISS
hurry, hurry up and waitis how the waiting game is played.a thousand moving parts keep scoreinside the watch we can’t ignore.
so let’s hurry, let’s hurry up and wait.
much too tired to try,much too stubborn to quit,on an island in betweenthe coasts of hit or miss.are we settlers or are we natives of this land?only time will tellon which pedestal we were meant to stand.
so let’s hurry, let’s hurry up and wait.so let’s hurry, let’s hurry, hurry up and wait.
every cloud above’s full of splattered paint,every seed below lies patiently in wait.but a watched kettle never boils,a watched tree never grows.may we have our tea in the forest,may we reap all that we sow.
so let’s hurry, so let’s hurry, hurry up, hurry up and wait.so let’s hurry, hurry up, hurry up, hurry up and wait.