“My Arm” by John Everett Morton

“My Arm” by John Everett Morton

Musical ambitions come and go over the years. “My Arm” comes after a pretty lengthy hiatus in original songwriting. It’s the most excited I’ve been about writing a song in a long time.

Lyrical Inspiration

Having broken both my arms in the summer of 2019, their prolonged mending has been a subject of concern for me. The x-ray and photo are from that time. The idea of an arm being a metaphor for a relationship also goes back years to an e-mail exchange with a friend of mine.

I feel like many people who, when they start seeing/dating someone, make this declaration that “we’re not putting any labels on it.” At first I thought, what is the difference? It’s just semantics, right? The more I thought about it, I feel it’s a response to society’s expectations of how a relationship should progress when people are dating. There are dumb rules that somehow folks feel bound to like when you should call, when you should kiss, when you say “I love you.” We aren’t’ made from cookie cutters and we should just go at our own pace.

In the song, “my arm” is a fluid metaphor depending on the context. In the repeating line “Let my arm spend some time around you,” what we’re asking is can we just spend time together even if we’re working to rotate the tires on your car and our arms never come near one another. If you want to spend time with someone, spend time with them and don’t let anyone tell you what that should look like.

Technical Details:

Shot with two cameras. My Panasonic Lumix G7 and my Motorola Stylus phone. I liked the color from the phone better than the camera, hence the camera shots were relegated to black and white. This maybe could have been fixed with lighting and adjusting the exposure, but I just barely know enough to put this all together like I did.

Audio was recorded into Garageband while filmed. Had to remind myself that I’m having fun. Any time I got frustrated I had to reevaluate the objective. Cousin Paula recommended some synth/organ action, and some vocal harmonies. Originally I hoped to put a noodle-y overdriven guitar part at the end. Maybe these things will happen if I ever get around to recording some kind of an album. Doing all these things at once by myself in a weekend is daunting.

Original lyrics that didn’t make the cut

Want to play it?

Relative to capo on second fret

Intro & Bridge: E E7 F, E E7 Am

Verses: C E7 Am F (x3), C E7 Am Am7 D7

Refrain: C E7 Am F

Lyrics

My arm shovels sidewalks, my arm pulls out weeds
My arm rotates your tires and other good deeds
You’ll find the terms of service so profound too


Just let my arm spend some time around you

During a movie put my arm over your shoulder
While my other arm acts as a popcorn bowl holder
Grab my arm during the scary part
Hope the thrill don’t go to my heart

Just let my arm spend some time around you

My arm is made out of muscle and bone
In that way it’s like other arms you have known
It’s been bruised, it’s been pained, and it’s got wicked scars
It’s persevered through the years to strum this guitar

Both my arms have been broke before
My poor arms can’t take much more

This wristwatch makes my arm a little old fashioned
In this day and age this must sound impassioned
If you wan’t my arm and all the comes with it
You should know that my arm don’t just want to hit it
Surely there are other ways to your heart
But as limbs go I think my arm’s a good start

Just let my arm spend some time around you

Gear

DeArmond Starfire
Marshall Haze 40
AKG P420 (x2)

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