Can’t You See I’ve Lost The Motivation?
After quite a long hiatus, it seems fitting to me that I would want to continue with the song dissections this month with a very important song to me lyrically and containing one of the most important lyrics I feel I’ve ever written. One year ago this fall I had the opportunity to do some European touring that would essentially take me away from home from October to early January. To do this touring, I had to make the decision to give up the securities of my “real job”. I told myself it would be ok, and in order to focus on music, one sometimes has to make sacrifices. So much has happened to me in the past year personally and professionally. I’m quite proud of myself that I had the courage last fall to go for something that was so important to me. I would recommend taking a risk to anyone. You might fall down a few times along the way but that’s what makes life exhilarating, and the head rush when you stand up again is worth it all! (There’s your motivational speech of the day!)
Girl on the Floor, is the ending track on the Hearts For Bullets CD and it took about 2 years to finish writing as I was never quite satisfied with the melodies and structure I had started with, but not wanting to abandon the song, I kept coming back to it and put it through several incarnations until I was happy with it. It was always had upbeat poppy styled music, but the lyrics went through many re-writes. The end result is a deeply personal song about me, not really wanting to continue with Ayria or music at all believe it or not. I keep mentioning this, but after my father passed away, I wasn’t able to write music for several months. I went numb, tried to hold on to stability in my life any way I could and didn’t really think about Ayria. Long time friends and fans might remember this, but back in 2007, the week I was supposed to leave on tour for a U.S. leg with Combichrist with 3 starting shows in Florida, my dad passed away and I had to cancel the first 3 shows. The only other time I’ve canceled a show was when we were snowed in at an airport in Russia and missed one of the 3 Russian tour dates.. that’s another awful story! Anyway, I did join the tour the following week through the Southern States to L.A. but all I remember was being really numb. I remember being in my bunk on the bus not thinking, not feeling, just playing shows and being social to distract myself. Later that fall, I stopped writing songs, I dyed my hair back to it’s natural brown (GASP! I’m not a natural blonde!?) I focused on my day job & distanced myself from anything Ayria or music related. It may seem strange that I’m sharing all of this with you now, I’m not the dramatic type. I prefer to face and conquer my struggles internally. I’m opening up here, because it’s been 3 years, and I know some of you appreciate these song dissections, and my complete honesty, and knowing the dark corners where songs come from. To summarize it as best I can, Girl on the floor is a bit about my struggles with grief, but more so: My loss of appetite for what I was passionate about, thinking about giving up on music, feeling guilty about my life choices, my feelings of lack of self control over my life, feeling guilty about not giving enough to those around me & relationships that were important to me, and maybe guilt over apathy & selfishness. There.
So this dissection is more about the story and the lyrics rather than the music production, because that’s what I want to talk about, just some of the lyrics that stand out to me personally:
“Mirror Mirror on the wall, I’m just a girl with no self-control”
It was true, and sometimes I still feel like I have no self-control in certain situations. Some days I eat too much, I drink too much, I make bad decisions and when I wrote that lyric I felt like a broken girl facing my inner demons. Occasionally, I get caught up in things people have said or written about me online that isn’t very positive or constructive. I’d like to believe my skin is thick, and it really has become thicker with time, but occasionally something will get under my skin. The lyric “you don’t know the real me but you get a glimpse so you paint a picture. So vivid, but just so wrong” addresses that, as everyone can relate to being misjudged or feeling that no one knows the real them.
“I just want to leave the situation
I don’t want to reach this destination
Can’t you see I’ve lost the motivation”
I still get weird chills singing the chorus of this song live, as it represents the desperate part of me that lost the drive to do what I once loved.
“You ask what I want, it’s complicated, the truth is I don’t know.”
I think that’s fairly straightforward. Pretending things are so complicated, and maybe they are, but in my case, saying that things are complicated helps to hide the truth that I just don’t know the answers or that I felt lost.
“It’s not enough to be there sometimes”: I felt like I was giving myself to some areas of my life, and some people but not fully. I felt stretched pretty thin, and wasn’t able to give any one thing, the best of me. It’s also based in a bit of regret of not spending enough time with my dad I guess.
“I’m too tired to fake the strength behind this lie.”
When it came to doing music and Ayria, I felt like I couldn’t even fake it even, which is why I left it alone and didn’t try and write. Sometimes when you’re going through tough times, it’s not always the best idea to dive into what you love. In my specific case, giving myself distance was the best thing so I could continue doing it and appreciate it more.
The bridge of this song was the most powerful part of this song for me musically and lyrically. It really gave it an epic feeling. Seb’s (Komor – my producer for any new readers of this blog) addition of piano chords in the production of this song, was totally awe-inspiring. My demo version DID have a break down but had simpler synth strings, I felt the piano layers he added a delicateness and sadness to a fairly upbeat song and helped my favourite lyrical part stand out:
“And now I sit here all alone and bored
My head is filled with, advice I once ignored”:
The clichéd saying that all you’ve ever needed has been right here in front of you. Well, this was my take on that realization of being so wrapped up in your self, your guilt, your insecurities, or only looking to the future, that you ignored all the advice that you should have taken.
Bringing me to my favourite lyrics EVER:
“All you get from this moment, is all you gave to your past
and all you’ll get from this moment, is what you gave to your past”
Simple. But it’s my favourite. Is what I’m doing now, affecting what I will be in the future? Have I even cared enough or has it all just slipped by? I hope it made others think about what they are giving to their now and how it will affect them in the future. There’s so much backstabbing, pettiness, bitching, self-pity, whining and complaining out there. If that’s your contribution to your now.. then I’m wondering what you feel you’re so deserving of? What have you done in your life, or worked hard at that brings you to this moment and what you’ll get out of it, because previous inputs = currently outputs. I’m over explaining it but but it made me think about my own life and actions. This lyric just continually sticks with me.
“I’m turning to the next one, we laugh for a moment.
I’m crying on the bathroom floor because nothing is the same”
This is absolute truth. One day I did end up just crying on the bathroom floor feeling that my life was out of control, and that I was losing grip on the things and especially some of the people in my life that were really important that I hadn’t realized I had taken for granted. That was a turning point for me to pick myself back up off the floor and change some things and start moving on.
I’m of course in a better place now, my passion and motivation obviously returned and keeps me going. These emotions I write about were the extreme ones that covered about a year’s worth of experiences! Songs are my outlets, and I know we all go through these periods of our lives so I’ve always known this song was relatable to alot of you. It’s strange but I think a bigger fear for me is that one day I WON’T feel these extreme emotions from time to time. These crazy intense overwhelming emotions that force me to face myself and think about my life, then what would I write about? Heh. So, this was a pretty emotional dissection. But this is a pretty emotional song about things that are important to me. I didn’t touch much on the music and programming, but only because I felt this song was so important to me lyrically. I’ll try and do more music talk on future dissections. This is actually the song I get the most comments from fans saying it helped them through a tough time (next to “Invisible” from HFB & “Lovely Day” from the Flicker CD) & that means more than anything for me to hear.
Weird Tidbits about the song structure:
– If you’ve listened to this song, you’ll notice the first and second verses start with the same lyrical idea: “Mirror Mirror on the wall..” but that the melodies and the rhythm of the vocals are completely different in each verse? It’s kind of a mistake, I couldn’t decide between how the first verse flowed and the second. When it came time to finish the song, I couldn’t decide so I left the verses different, hoping the lyrical link of the first line would make it ok.
– The song is often confusing to members of my family since it’s so boppy and pop like sounding, but the lyrics are so sad. I think it’s funny that they can’t understand it. I say to them “it’s what I do! I like upbeat dance music, but I can’t help but write about sad themes!!” ;P
Despite the serious nature and theme of this song to me personally, for some reason I had the giggles, while recording this song. I blame it on the fact that I hadn’t practiced the song enough before recording (you’ll hear I mess up the chorus a lot which is now second nature to me!) This song’s been surrounded by deliriousness… even one of the many working versions sent back and forth between Seb and I during production, one version he had titled “Girl On the Floor looking for her slurpie but can’t find the vodka” So here’s a blooper take of me recording the chorus layer for the song. I can’t believe I’m sharing this with you since I sound TERRIBLE (This is clearly not the final takes used! 😉 You can hear Joe Byer of v01d in the background, whose studio I used to record vocals for this CD (before I got my own studio set up).
WARNING: Blooper Take has excessive use of the F-bomb by Jenn (sorry! You guys know I can be a potty mouth!)
how all that emotion & subsequent silliness came out after final production, here’s a clip of the bridge into the chorus:
Knowing my current musical journey, If you’ve enjoyed reading this dissection and enjoy this song, or want to hear it in it’s entirety, please consider supporting me directly by purchasing the full CD from my web shop (I’ll sign it to you!) or just the song from iTunes. In case you didn’t know, I also launched a new line of awesome merchandise with Toronto’s own clothing designers: Plastik Wrap this past summer such as Ayria ties, garter pockets, gloves, plus new T-shirts, etc. And please buy your Christmas presents soon too so I can send you your Christmas Present!! ☺
New music is on its way! Only a few more songs to record for my upcoming CD out sometime in 2011 and I can’t wait to share it with you! 😉
My Question To You: Have you ever lost the motivation to pursue what you love? How did you get back on track and find yourself and find motivation again? I’m just curious about others experiences.
Previous Song Dissections:
Suck It Up
13 replies on “Song Dissection #8: Girl On The Floor”
I really like these song dissections and especially this song. It was also nice to meet you after your set at the Philly show with Project Pitchfork. Such as a great show!
Ok so yes, I’ve definitely had a time where I had a loss of motivation. Though I didn’t have anything terribly tragic happen but the feeling for the lack of motivation on something you love sound seems similar.
At the time I was a freelance illustrator, just a few years out of college and badly wanted to get the big break. I worked hard for two years after college on a single portfolio hoping to put all that education and money spent to use.
So my luck strikes and I finally get that chance to work on a graphic novel for one of the big publishers. Half way the project it was canceled.I never got a clear answer so I was left to assume they weren’t confident with the art direction. I also had a long time relationship fall apart in the same month.
It was pretty crushing at the time blow because all the time and effort spent to get there everything came undone. After that I walked away from the art scene and worked the day job instead. It was tough because it stayed that way for a few years. The whole time I felt frustrated and defeated because my passion is to illustrate.
However one day when I was at my job I was approached with an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. A local book publisher (zenescope) used my work to get there business supplies. In short I showed them my work they brought me as the senior art director. Now I work on the Wonderland series (I listen to Blue Alice everytime I work on it!!! Love the song.), grimms fairy tales, charmed..etc.
It was a great day that reminded me to never give up on your passions and just keep working on it even through set back. I cant wait for the new CD and the next time you play in Philly!
Wow… Thanks for sharing your awe inspiring story!
First off, let me say that I started writing lyrics for a band project last year, and I realized that I was waaaaaaaay more involved emotionally in the meaning of lyrics than I had initially thought…
So much so I realized that certain types of music had become so dear or important to me, or so much of a reflection of myself, something I could relate to, and THAT’S why they were in my life, and THAT’S why I listened to them so much.
I have never shared this in public before, but I feel it’s the perfect example of how music can affect people on the deepest levels of one’s soul, so I think it’s worth sharing.
Alot of people I tell this to say “WOW, I never would have thought that about you!”… I was the “victim” (bleh I hate that word… bleh :P) of a physically abusive relationship for several years. It started simple, like, mean words, and finally escalated to violence.
Now I’m 6’1″ and I weigh alot more than people think. I’m also trained in martial arts to an extent, so needless to say I was pretty screwed up in the head when all this was going on. I knew that while I was getting hurt I could fight back, but I couldn’t bring myself to do that to another human being, even someone who was hurting me. “Training was only for saving your life” my sensei would say… The founder of the style I took has “Never In Anger” on his grave, because the power of the knowledge I had could be dangerous…
Without getting into grievous detail, I lived for several years like, I don’t know a shell of a woman. Like everything inside me was gone. No love, no life, no nothing. A vast void of nothing. I had tried several times to get help from the Justice System (once it got really bad) and both times had failed. Surprisingly, not because of anything I did either – That’s like an 8 hour story in itself.
“I just want to leave the situation
I don’t want to reach this destination
Can’t you see I’ve lost the motivation
I just want to leave the situation”
One day something really horribly bad happened, and I had to go to he hospital and all these other terrible things. I think the worst part was them taking pictures of me after it all happened… It was crazy. I think something clicked in my brain, and I just… “Fell inside myself”. I was totally repressed. Almost catatonic.
It’s weird. I can only describe it as being like a viewer in a ride that is you or something? (Cant say robot because I love them *^_^*) You can smile, walk, laugh, talk, but I always felt like an automaton. Like my body was full of little gears pushing me forward, but there was no electricity there. A mindless drone. The soul has left the body…
The lyrics in this song are a HUGE reflection of not only how I felt at that time, but also a beautiful example of what I’ve starting calling “The Springboard Effect”.
You were able, (albeit eventually, because even I can attest to the fact that there are some things we always have a hole in our heart from) to take all those feelings, as horrible as they were at the time, and maybe even now, and weave them into something beautiful – To create passion and love and beauty out of something horrible and traumatic.
I felt so numb and dead and lost for so long, that when I started to become happy again I didn’t know what to do with myself. I kept waiting for something terrible to happen… Bracing myself for the downfall.
I finally realized (with the help of my best friends, family and really great music) that after the weirdness of being happy and nothing bad happening, you have this point where you feel ‘spring-boarded’ into art and creativity and whatever you passions are – Like you were shot out of some icky place into… Well, in your case I would say somewhere very pink and full of untz untz untz LOL – A happy place…
Almost every word in Girl On The Floor feels like something that I have felt… I feel like I could do a song dissection myself, but if I don’t stop ranting I’m afraid I’ll break the reply word limit LOL (and scare everyone away lol)
Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that even in the darkest places of our lives, we have to make a choice – The choice to stay there and wallow and fall deeper into a place that is bleak and terrible, or take what we’ve experienced and learned and crawl out of that hole…
It’s wonderful awesome people like you that use those things and turn them into something beautiful and awe inspiring, and even go as far as to share them with the world…
I wanna be just like you when I grow up! 😛 Except, uh… I’m not really a pink person… But I still <3 you 😛 I also can't be taller, but I already can't find pants O_o
Well, I'm going to shut up now – Coffee is a terrible drug 😛
Sincerely – Your Biggest Fan (In The Literal Sense)
OMG! You guys are amazing! Thank you to Chris & Suzy! I never knew this post would inspire people to open up so honestly about such deeply personal events of their lives! I always have a bit of trouble dissecting these personal songs, wondering how much to share and open up, or wondering how it all will come accross.. reactions like these always remind me that I’m doing something right! 😉
Suzy, your comment: “Almost every word in Girl On The Floor feels like something that I have felt… I feel like I could do a song dissection myself,” Really melted my heart and made me realize just how much so many of us had in common!
Love to you guys and thank you! <3
I love this song. I also felt a deep connection with this song, as my father passed away three years ago on fathers day. I was eleven at the time, and seeing that happen in front of my eyes just tore me apart. I was so lost and had no idea of what to do or where to turn. The next part of that year I felt so emotionless and fake. I didn’t have the strength to do anything. I would go to school and literally come home and sit for about an hour and do nothing. Finally I realized that I couldn’t stay in the spot I was in and that I had to move on. I put my past behind me and totally changed. Now I’m fifteen, and when I first heard that song to now when I listen to it, I still feel a strong connection with it. Well, my rant is done 🙂
From a huge fan-
So sorry for your loss Cat. It’s hard to lose a parent at such a young age. My dad committed suicide when I was 14. I’m glad you recovered from it so quickly. I am 35 & I still cry sometimes.
I can relate to this song as well. I have alot of crap in my life right now. I don’t really have motivation for much of anything. I’m just kinda numb. Either things will work out or they’ll fall apart & I’ll move on. I just have this nagging feeling that I’m being used, lied to & betrayed. I feel like a fool for allowing it to continue but since I have no solid proof there is little I can do but wait & see. It’s hard & it totally sucks!
Thanks Jen, for sharing your story with us. It means alot to all of us to know you care about your fans enough to do stuff like this. You are the most personable musician I have ever met. You always take the time to talk to your fans (even when you are sick & feel like crap). I admire you for that! And we all feel so close to you after reading these dissections. You don’t just give us a glimpse, you let us into your heart & your life. That’s why we all love u so much! <3
Thanks for the nice reply Eidh Lyn, and I am sorry for your loss to. It is still hard for me to, especially on holidays or birthdays. I still cry to this day, and have also found myself in the bathroom sobbing my eyes out. It seems to never fully go away, but slowly gets more and more tolerable. To add to my problems, after my dad died I dealt with several other deaths in my family, with did not improve my situation. I hope your situation improves, and that your life will get better soon.
YAY! A new Song Dissection!! I know each time a dissection comes out, I can’t listen to the song the same way. Although the emotions and lyrics behind this song are quite somber, the fact that I am listening to it shows your strength of overcoming. Had you given up, I never would have been able to experience it. I am a huge movie fan and I have a movie quote applicable for just about every situation. The quote “Get busy living, or get busy dying” from Shawshank Redemption came to my mind after reading your dissection. After reading the dissection, to me, this song is about living. Picking yourself up, dusting yourself off.
On a side note, I have a new favorite phrase… “Fucksey Doodles” I laughed my ass off when you said that!! XD
Take Care Jen, and until next time! <3
Jenn! This song dissection is the best so far. I really enjoyed reading it! I know how it feels to not want to do anything anymore and just give up because you feel that everything just crashed down on your shoulders and you not being strong enough to hold it. I’m so glad you didn’t give up and kept your head up. If you quit music idk what I would do in all honesty. Idk who I’d listen to and sing in the shower every morning [my parents think you sound like Madonna by the way ;)] This is my favourite song next to Suck It Up and Invisible on Hearts for Bullets; highly emotional and VERY inspiring. Ever since this album came out I have become a better person in the emotional realm. This song has also helped me through some really tough times. I just want to say thank you for inspiring fans like me and I’m sure millions of others to be better people and watch what we do now, because it will effect us in the future. Jenn, never give up; we as fans will always be here for support!! “All you’ll get from this moment is what you gave to your past, and all you’ll get from this moment is what you gave to your past” That quote is now and forever on my facebook page lol. FUCKEN FUCK!! FUCKITY FUCK FUCK FUCKSY DOODLES! I say you should have put a bonus track of all the blooper outtakes. I would have loved it! lol. Also I CANNOT WAIT for the new album! Stay strong you little Canadian!
Well I only really make music as a side thing, Im at college so I don’t have alot of free time! But I do go through periods of… uh, “extreme creativity”? haha and then times when I don’t see the point in bothering. But what gets me motivated again is talking to/spening time with people who are really creative and really motivated 🙂
Zoog, from Angelspit, is the most amazing guy (I believe you know him and DestroyX ;D) just reading his facebook updates about making “rock!!!” etc gets me motivated! ha.
Also, listening to your music gets me motivated 😀 x
Hi Jen, really glad to see this dissection posted because I feel the same way about this song and the bridge. It’s a very powerful lyric and it has stuck in my head through some challenging times recently. Thank you for sharing the experiences that led to its creation.
BTW-I met you briefly before the Rochester, NY show (my girlfriend and I were the ones who got in before the show started). It was a fantastic show and I hope you guys make it back to the area again.
I relate to this song so much but then I guess everyone does now and again. Don’t worry about your detractors, you can’t please everyone. Your music is appreciated and loved by loads of people and as long as you are enjoying life and doing what you love, that’s all that matters.
Yes I have lost the motivation to write my novel when I have felt like utter shit.
What drove me forward is to prove to people that I will not give up. Now, I am in Chapter six in my book!!!!!! 🙂
Bites and bloody kisses,
Crystal from Los Angeles, CA
P.S: Please come to Los Angeles and do some shows!!!!!!!!! 🙂