Sunday, November 4, 2018

Setting the Record Straight - Each Scott Cooley Album Contains the Best Available Songs at the Time of Release

Back when I used to stretch the truth to impress people more than I do now, in conversation and even in my blog and web site, I would make it seem like I saved my best songs I'd written for submitting to artists to record.  I try not to do that so much anymore, if at all I guess.  With few exceptions I pretend to not remember, for the most part I try to be honest in my life now - with a take-me-as-I-come, warts-and-all approach to most people.

The truth is, I record and release my best, and always have.  Although I have submitted songs to artists before (which they never recorded), and they were usually among my best, I've released my own versions of them on my albums.  If I'm being honest, I have to admit there's no pending possibility that the world will soon hear the better songs I've written as recorded by their favorite artists on the radio, and there never has been.

As a matter of fact and to set the record straight, I release anything closely resembling a song on my official album releases.  Yes, it's true I've weeded out some of the worst, and yes, it's true I've written way more songs than I've actually released, but if they were even half-way decent and somewhat complete, I've recorded and released them.  Every two years, you get the top 13 I had available.

As I've alluded to in past blog posts or in person to a few people I know, I have my own weeding out process to arrive at which songs make the cut on my albums.  Many remain on the cutting room floor still, but what I release are the best I could do at the time, so as disappointing as it may sound, in a way, each record is like a mini greatest hits of the two years leading up to its release.

Since I'm not a great singer or instrumentalist or live performer, my thing has always been that I'm first and foremost a songwriter above all else.  It's truthfully the one aspect of music that I'm most proud of:  the fact that I've written a bunch of songs that can actually pass as sounding like real songs.  Particularly when that's your deal, you tend to make that a part of your identity in your own mind.  It is indeed a big part of who I am.

I'm many things - a son, a brother, a husband, an uncle, a nephew, a cousin, a friend, a neighbor, etc.  Among the first things I'd add to that are that I'm a skier, and also that I'm a songwriter.  It's a hobby I've had since I was about 20 years old.  People tend to like the things they're pretty good at, and there's not much on that list for me, but one of them is songwriting.

Granted, being "good" at songwriting is my opinion, and one that is shared by some but not all who've heard my music.  The number of people who have actually listened to my music is relatively small, and of those who have, there are some who do not find it to be their particular cup of tea.  I am a realist who takes into consideration that judgment of creative works in general is a matter of personal opinion and taste.

We have all heard songs written by professional songwriters and recorded by popular recording artists that a vast majority of people in the world think are good, yet we disagree.  Some people don't think Smells Like Teen Spirit or Like A Rolling Stone are good songs.  Some people don't think Kind Of Blue by Miles Davis or Graceland by Paul Simon are good albums.  Same goes for singers, bands, and songwriters.  For example, there are people out there in the world who don't think Aretha Franklin or Elvis were good singers.  There are people who think the Beatles and Led Zeppelin were not good bands.  There are people who think Bob Dylan or Smokey Robinson are not good songwriters.  It happens.

So, I thought if I pretended that the songs I write, record and release were not my best, and that secretly, I'd saved the best for ones I'd submit to mainstream major label recording artists to record, that people would think I was better than there was evidence for.  Possibly I did this out of insecurity or as a preemptive strike to soften the blow of them not liking my songs that I did make available for people to hear.

I'm not one of those people who have obvious successes in areas of my life such as an impressive career or fancy material things.  Maybe when one doesn't have those kinds of things, they tend to make themselves out to be something they're not to make up for it somehow.  Present yourself as a starving artist creative type who is probably on the verge of finally having their unconventional path pay off, after which people would be impressed that you followed your passion for so long.  Guilty.

My dream is to have list as its primary content artists a who have recorded my songs.  The list would be enough:  Famous Artist Name, Name of Scott Cooley-penned Song, etc.  I would maybe then eventually release a couple of albums called Cooley Sings His Own Songs, parts I and II, or something like that.  Maybe throw a couple pictures on there of me accepting songwriting Grammy awards and hanging out with those famous singers and bands.  That would be about all I'd need on my website if my dreams came true.  The life of Scott Cooley, Professional Songwriter, would then consist of collecting royalty checks, recording newer, better songs in a kick-ass home studio with expensive equipment.  No day job as a technical writer anymore.  That's the dream.

Instead, my website is all about me pretending to be an actual recording artist, which I'm not really.  Yes, I've sold some albums and individual songs I've written and recorded myself performing, because anyone can do that nowadays.  It's a site that is a mess, made by a guy who doesn't really know anything about making websites, and it's full of me making myself out to be something better than what I really am.  This is my perhaps sad but true reality - one of a million guys who figured out how to write and record some songs in his house, make them available for sale in online music stores, and put up a website that probably claims he's better than he really is.

So, to sum up and set the record straight, my records contain the absolute best songs I could come up with.  There are approximately 100 of them on 8 album releases for you to discover.  Despite all of this (and maybe because of all this too), I love doing it and will continue!