• Rawiri James

Behind the Lyric: HELL.O.V.E.




I'm gonna start off by saying, if you think you're being clever by messing with the grammatical sequencing of your song titles - especially with acronyms - be prepared to be wrong. Every distribution channel will reject it!


Shit, even I couldn't tell you what the eighth track on my album is officially listed as for copyright purposes. Their are limits and rules to these kinda things, apparently.


When I wrote the song, I titled it HELLO.V.E. and considered myself a undercover genius for portmanteau'ing a metaphor with an acronym. It's not genius. It's just headache inducing. When it came time to submit all the song details I had to re-do this one over and over for the different channels.


When I see it written as Hellove I feel sad. It looks impotent.


Anyway, enough about titles. Let's digress...


"Hello, baby
Why you go and do me like this?
I been hella patient
Reply me with the sound of silence
No love yous, no, nothing
Just the sound of anger all in your voice..."

This was the last song I wrote for the album and Fred had come up with an eerie, atmospheric midtempo beat that I instantly got a tune for. I liked the idea of telling a story about a break up but from both sides of the conversation.


It seemed a natural fit for a duet with a strong female voice that could carry the opposing viewpoint. Luckily, I knew just the person.


I had met first Melonie Webb when she was singing with Urban Foxes, Fred's band a few years back. She and I bonded over R&B (what else?) and had a reciprocated respect for each other's voices. We had collaborate once before, on Frhetoric's album track Blue in 2016, but I knew she'd sound dope on this so I kept her in mind while writing the lyrics.


The idea of the song - that a relationship can be equally parts loving and an absolute hellscape - is easiest remembered for the chorus where Melonie's dulcet tones sit beautifully on top of mine. And it is, by design, one of the more simple and effective choruses on the album.


Still, I'd hardly be me if I didn't throw in a couple spelling entries and this song had me explaining both 'cabalistic' (mysterious, secretive) and 'convalescent' (healing) to various people.


Both of these words appear in the second half of each verse, where the tempo speeds up. It took me a few run throughs to record it, once again trying to get all the words out in time!


Props to Melanie though, who nailed her part in this, and gives the song depth and maturity. I could happily listen to this woman sing all day and I'm grateful to have her on my album.


As for the words, I think maybe on the next album I'll pick my words a bit more wisely and stick to two syllables. At the very least I'll avoid using full stops and acronyms. You'd think I would've learned after the DTF debacle.



Listen here:

















 




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