“Keep Warm Tonight” Lyric Feedback

I had a great time creating my “Bite The Bullet - EP”, challenging myself to complete a batch of music by my March 2017 deadline. However, I isolated myself, not looking for different perspectives, not actively sending out demos for feedback. While I am happy about that project, moving forward, I want to have more people involved in the process and receive some enlightened opinions from the outside world.

I asked my musically inclined compatriots to provide feedback on the Lyrics for “Keep Warm Tonight”. When I first wrote “Keep Warm Tonight”, my bones and heart were definitely attached to the guitar and vocals of the piece, but enough time had passed that I felt open enough to get some insight into the words.

WARNING SPOILERS: If you would like to provide feedback on the lyrics yourself without any spoilers of the rest of this article, please e.mail kanem.music@gmail.com, go to the form at the end of this article, or click this link!

Original Lyrics:

Verse 1
It's 28 degrees;
That ain't enough to freeze;
But hold me tight;
To keep warm tonight; 

Verse 2
Oh may I rest my head;
My labors bring me dread;
Let's rest under moonlight;
And keep warm tonight;

Verse 3
How do you sustain;
In the most inhumane
Someday we'll reach new heights;
But let's keep warm tonight;
Yeah, someday we'll reach new heights;
But let's keep warm tonight;

Verse 4
The struggle has your soul;
I stay strong, keep you whole;
Not much is going right;
But let's keep;
No, not much is going right;
But let us keep;
Not much is going right;
But let's keep warm tonight;

My questions:

  1. What do you think of the lyrics? If you relate to them, how do you relate to them?

  2. Should Verse 3 & 4 be swapped? Why or why not?

  3. Would you change anything about the lyrics? What would you add, revise, or remove?

Question 1: What do you think of the lyrics? If you relate to them, how do you relate to them?

I am happy that the lyrics were well received! People related to them, stirring their thoughts and emotions, bringing up ideas of an endearing relationship, overcoming adversity, focusing on the present moment as well as loneliness and homelessness. I am glad that the lyrics had flexibility for interpretation, they painted “a picture without over-saturating the song with descriptors”. And although the lyrics were focal point for the feedback

\, I welcomed comments about the guitar and my voice, and how they fit well together. It is not always necessary for my lyrics to have a grounding and connection, but for “Keep Warm Tonight” it felt needed, so I was satisfied to hear the words were doing their job.

Question 2: Should Verse 3 & 4 be swapped? Why or why not?

This question nagged at me because I continually tipped both ways. When I was working the song at open mics and gigs, I would sometimes swap the verses to try to solve the problem, but never came to a conclusion. Through outside perspectives, I found 47% thought the verses should be swapped, 12% thought it should not, 35% were indifferent, and 6% had other unique takes. The main reason people gave to swap the lyrics was to end the song on a moment of hope, “someday we’ll reach new heights”, which was probably the root of my indecision, did I want to sing out on a moment of hope? Thinking on it, the song needs a ray of sunshine at the end. However, there is one opinion that resonated with me, it came from the 6% of persons with unique answers. Switch the refrains between Verse 3 and 4 (see redone verses below). I dig this answer because the “sustain” and the “inhumane” attaches better to the notion “not much is going right”, and the song maintains the hopeful end of “someday we’ll reach new heights”.

Verse 3
How do you sustain;
In the most inhumane;
Not much is going right;
But let's keep warm tonight;

Verse 4
The struggle has your soul;
I stay strong, keep you whole;
Someday we'll reach new heights;
For now keep warm tonight;

Question 3: Would you change anything about the lyrics? What would you add, revise, or remove?

This question allowed for all other suggestions, which provided more detail to things I may have not focused on. There were suggestions to extend the song more for a longer story, which I may toy with. Persons replied with useful ideas on how to better sing the piece, paying attention to phrasing, the space between words, and vocal variation between verses. I am going to reflect on comments about the clarity of the story of the song, possibly considering making the song a little less ambiguous. However, my favorite repeated remark was that the first lines “It’s 28 degrees, that ain’t enough to freeze” don’t make sense. If you read them literally, they do not make sense, 28 degrees fahrenheit is freezing. But I wrote them in a more abstract way--in fact, the temperature started out as “48 degrees” and I brought it down to 28. If you want to learn more about the writing of the lyrics, you’ll can provide your own feedback to the original lyrics, and then I’ll clue you in!

I truly appreciate all of your input into these lyrics and this song, which is now our song. I still haven’t made a final draft, but our lyrics have been altered below, if you want to check them out. I would like to thank everyone for their input, and if you played a part in this feedback process for “Keep Warm Tonight”, please let people know that you helped out with this song, and I will work diligently to do justice to our piece of music for us.

Preliminary final draft:

Verse 1
It's 28 degrees;
That ain't enough to freeze;
But hold me tight;
To keep warm tonight;

Verse 2
Oh may I rest my head;
My labors bring me dread;
Resting moonlight;
Will we keep warm tonight;

Verse 3
How do you sustain;
In the most inhumane;
Not much is going right;
But let's keep warm tonight;
Ohhhh, Not much is going right;
but let's keep warm tonight;

Verse 4
The struggle has your soul;
I stay strong, keep you whole;
Someday we'll reach new heights;
For now keep warm tonight;
Yeah, someday we'll reach new heights;
For now keep;
Someday we'll reach new heights;
But for now keep;
Someday we'll reach new heights;
But just keep warm tonight;

If you thought this was a cool experiment to get public feedback for my music, let me know by contacting me here or e.mail kanem.music@gmail.com. I will be doing more of these feedback sessions in the future, but for now, provide your feedback for "Keep Warm Tonight" via e.mail, the questionnaire below or use this link. If you like this sort of thing, please share this post, the more people in on this, the more I can do for you!

Yours Truly,

Kanem X