Feeling Fine

The Story
This September, my Israli step-second-cousin, Hadar Engel, visited my family. We drove all the way out to CasinoRama. Me, her aunt Lily, my step-mom Esther and my father Tim. When we got to the casino, we stayed there about half an hour. Tim didn't stay at all--he went to visit his friend John Oldham, who is the minister at the Rama reserve.

So as we were leaving this casino, Tim and John showed up, telling us there was a pow-wow scheduled for the evening and we were welcome. We had an amazing time.

I slept in late the next day. That day, I was to meet Hadar & company at Queen & Spadina. When I got down to Gerrard, to catch the streetcar, I felt alive. It was a warm, bright, beautiful day, and I was euphoric.

Now, when the streetcar doesn't come, I walk to the next stop, if the weather's anywhere near decent. So I was walking. And I was astonished by how happy I was. So I wrote this song-- wrote part in my head in the streetcar, the rest later on.

The Song
You can't write simply about happines for the same reason that porn is boring. Pleasure is a very simple thing. It's chemical in nature. Everyone knows what it is. So when the chorus of "Feeling Fine" was written, I had a problem. I couldn't go on with the same subject--there just wasn't any more to write. Pleasure alone is meaningless.

So I started with the context. Walking down the street with the warmth of the sun on my skin. I must have stolen a line from the Beatles, saying "It feels like years" since I'd been in the sun. Harrison's line, in "Here comes the sun", is "It seems like years since it's been here."

Next, I mentioned a thought I'd had: "You feel good every time you get outside, Aaron. Maybe you should try getting outside at least once a day!"

I also wanted to make it clear that this experience was a lot more mystical than merely smoking up. This was spontaneous pleasure. And finally, I said that being joyful was not a solution by itself, but having problems didn't preclude it.

The melody-- ahh. For a while, I'd been trying to write a song where the melody line stayed with one note while the chords shifted around. This turned out to be the song. In my songs, the chord is usually subservient to the melody. The only exception I can think of is "Play Me a Song", where I repeat the same melody line, with different chords.

All in all, I feel pretty good about this one.

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Questions, comments or suggestions about this web site? Email me at aaron.bentley@utoronto.ca