Dear Orphan

Dear Orphan
Little Image

My team of three friends had just lost our pickup basketball game at a local park. We collapse onto the bench, breathless, sweat soaking through our shirts,  while our six other friends get ready for their 3-on-3; the winner would be our next opponent. Whatever song was playing through my friend’s bluetooth JBL speaker starts to fade out as the song ends. Then,

The 4 beat stick click count-in. 

Instinctively, the drummer in me hits the downbeat with the heel of my right foot, and continues tapping the downbeats, keeping time. Suddenly, I’m tapping the upbeats. Confused, I shake my head, as if to rouse the musician in me that’s been distracted by basketball. I find the next downbeat and I’m keeping time again. Wait, no, now it’s upbeats. 

Has it really been that long? They say if you don’t use it, you lose it — did I lose it? 

I tear my eyes away from the game, turning to this little black box, hoping that it would console my existential crisis of losing all my musical training – I listen. Not only with my ears, but with my mind. No, I haven’t lost it; it’s an odd time signature. 

“That’s game!” someone yells. My friend, who has played with me as my drummer, sits on the floor next to me, panting. I hand him his water bottle and simply say, “Listen.” We spend the next 15 minutes counting the beats out loud to find the time signature. 

Can you rouse your inner musician and find the time signature? I’ll put the answer at the bottom 🙂

Musical Magic

Unfortunate Timing

The time signature keeps this track in anticipation, as if it’s always waiting for something that’s missing. This underscores the lyrics, letters between a mother and a somehow-separated child, the dear orphan. 

Lyrical Harmony

While each verse is a letter, the chorus plays out like a dialogue, a call and response. One voice echoes the other within the space of each line. However, in the final line, “The distance that’s between us / is only in our head”, the two vocal lines come together in a harmony, effectually closing that “distance”. 

Lovely Lyricism

Forgiveness is ideal, but in some cases, may not be necessary. I don’t think forgiveness should ever be expected, but accepted with gratitude, if it is given. I’m still learning to be content with non-resolution. “If you’re lonely, forgive me” says the mother. While forgiveness is never found, healing is: “Oh mother, you did it for me / I’m hurting, but I’m healing / You hurt me, but I’m healing”. 

Lyrics:

Dear orphan, I’m sorry

Dear lonely, you’re lovely

Dear lovely, I did it for you

If you’re lonely, forgive me

If you write me another letter

I’ll read it on my bed

Cause the distance that’s between us

Is only in our heads

I’ll write you another letter

You’ll read it on your bed

Cause the distance that’s between us

Is only in our heads

Dear stranger, I’m speechless

Dear danger, protect me

Oh, mother you did it for me

I’m hurting, but I’m healing

You hurt me, but I’m healing

Oh my love, release me

Let me go

Oh my love, release me

From the grips of this hold

Suggested listening:

The whole Musings record is well-arranged. Each next song feels like it should be the next song. Little Image clearly has a high level of understanding of music theory and technical skill, but they restrain it and expose it tastefully throughout all of the tracks. So, as always, listening through the whole thing is ideal. But if you only have time for a couple, here are two favorites from the record:

  • Prin – my favorite kind of chord used to be the Major 7 chord. This song made me change my favorite to the Major 9. 
  • Fly A Kite – a reimagining of the Mary Poppins tune. It’s spectacular. 

Trick question: there are three different meters in the song. The verses are in 13/8, the chorus is in 12/8, and the instrumentals between the chorus and verse are common time 4/4. WILD.

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