Sometimes I'll have an idea for a song that I think has a lot of potential, only to find when I sit down to write it that the song simply refuses to be written the way I planned it. Some of those songs never see the light of day, but sometimes something happens to push them into existence. "Well Done" is one of those songs.
About five years ago I was co-writing songs for a band I was in at the time, and we were looking to write a ballad to put on our CD. I came up with the idea of a song with 3 verses that would each be a prayer to God, asking him to grant me peace, hope and strength, with a chorus of praise thanking Him for those things. I really liked the concept and I imagined that this would come together pretty easily.
But when I tried to write "Peace, Hope And Strength", it never quite came together the way I wanted. The verses sounded plaintive instead of prayerful, and the chorus never had the punch I wanted it to have. We ended up using another ballad on that CD.
I kept the idea in the back of my mind though, and when I was working on my first solo EP a couple of years later I wanted to try tackling this song again. I had a new co-writer and mentioned this idea to him, but once again, we didn't really come up with any new ideas to improve it and so we shelved it a second time.
When we were planning the CD that became "Everything Everywhere" I decided that I wanted to try this song once again. For this CD, the process was a bit different and involved stripping down the songs I wanted to do so that I had just the vocals and guitar and sending that down to Nashville where the arrangement would take place and the music recorded. So I took "Peace, Hope And Strength" and threw together a drum and a guitar track. Then I started recording the vocals I had and realized I'd made a mistake.
On my new demo, the choruses were twice as long as they were supposed to be. I sang the chorus lyrics, and then there were 12 more bars of chorus with no vocals before the next verse started!
That obviously needed to be fixed, but I didn't want to go back and start over when I was nearly done my demo, so first I decided to see if I could come up with some more lyrics that would fit the end of the chorus.
With the recording running, I started just reciting scripture and trying to make it fit the melody that was already there. That's when the lines in the chorus about being:
"a faithful servant who will hear you say
'Well done, well done, well done,
Oh my good and faithful servant,
suddenly came into being.
Now the chorus had the punch it had always been missing, and a pretty good hook as well. I packaged that up and shipped it off to Nashville.
A few tweaks to the verses later along with some awesome tracks by the great musicians at Creative Soul Records, and suddenly "Peace, Hope And Strength" was living up to its potential the way I always thought it could.
Now I just had to keep explaining to everyone why a song that should obviously be called "Well Done" was called "Peace, Hope And Strength".
Either that, or change the name.