TearsOfJoy.jpg
Tears of Joy - Artwork: Eva Krusche

I remember exactly the moment the first seed of this song was born.


It was a summer’s morning and I was sitting on the sofa in the Hof in the sun jamming away on my guitar when I came up with this unusual riff.

It was a sort of cyclic chord based pattern, the chords being on the most part relatively unrelated. This means that, in conventional 19th Century harmony (which is used for most Western music that we know that doesn’t sound like an orchestra falling down a flight of stairs) one usually sets the music up within a key. The key is basically a starting point for the melody and the flavour. The default, Vanilla flavour is Major and the alternative choc or mint choc chip flavour is Minor - one tends to sound happy (Major) and one tends to sound sad (Minor).
So within a key there is a sequence of notes that are used, which is where the ‘flavour’ comes from. But with the sequence I use for Tears of Joy it changes the flavour every 2 chords:


B minor - F# major  /  A minor - E major  / C minor - G major / C# minor 7 (b5) - F# major


in terms of sharps and flats (the black notes on a piano) each set of two has:


6 sharps  /  1 sharp  /  no flats or sharps / 7 sharps? (this last one is complicated)

Don’t worry if that last bit went over your head - all you have to know is that this sequence of chords is odd.
In addition the time signature (how many beats in the bar (how we count, or would dance to it)) is 5/4 - it’s in 5 - which is also odd.

As soon as this riff / chord pattern had taken it’s form I became incredibly excited and literally ran into my room to fetch my small recording device to capture the idea, because I have made the mistake many many times of thinking I would remember ideas only to forget them later on. My memory is an animal of great mystery that has lead me into all sorts of situations both fortunate and misfortunate, but that is a story for another time.


So for the next unmeasurable portion if time I sat playing this riff over and over trying to find a melody and words, with my voice. I do remember squinting up at the bright Sun overhead - and as it is a well known fact that only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday Sun (see the song ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ (Cole Porter) - English natives have a love hate relationship with the Sun. If you ever find yourself at some non-UK sunny holiday resort you may notice a group of people looking like bright red lobsters.

 

That will be the English.


So, it is somehow ingrained in the English psyche that the Sun burns and bites us. So as I squinted at the Sun with something of a look of distaste, the words came “Sunny days, did I ask for anything to shine on me?
Makes me red, gives me sunburn..” and so on. This did take some time to arrive, but following this the words flowed from my sun-battered screwed up face with relative ease.

Aside from the Chorus section, which drops into a more ‘comfortable’ 6/4 time there are 3 other sections that are deliberately written to sound ‘cheesy’. Whilst working on the song our Producer, Dine Doneff queried me on this point asking if I was aware that these sections sounded ‘cheesy’ and after explaining that it was deliberately done as a sort of musical irony the cheesiness was allowed to proceed in the recording.

So, Tears of Joy - the odd song about being bitten by the Sun, with plenty of cheese on top!
 

Tears of Joy

Sunny days, did I ask for anything to shine on me?
Makes me red, gives me sunburn but it teases something like a smile, it cracks across your face, triggering me a single tear of joy.

Maybe later we’ll go outside and have some cool ice-cream.
What d’you think?
Make you happy?
Makes me happy, everything you do it makes me happy, just ignore those streaming tears of joy.

I feel them strolling down my fat face.
It leaves a greasy stain behind, but I think I don’t mind.
I don’t think at all

The goal of my dreams, the pinnacle wave is just to be happy (happy)
Then I’ll have achieved everything, then I can lay down and die.

Maybe later we’ll go outside and have some cool ice-cream.
What d’you think?
Make you happy?
Makes me happy, everything you do it makes me happy, just ignore those screaming tears of joy.

 

Ian Chapman: vocals, guitars, cornets

Dine Doneff: drums, double bass

Producer: Dine Doneff

Music, Lyrics & Arrangement: Ian Chapman