Hotter song 2: Because I Care

I can't remember the details of how I wrote "Because I Care." I know it wasn't originally as much of a power pop tune as it turned out. Given the chords at the end of each verse, I think this was a Cure-wannabe song that ended up quite different (which is probably a good thing—don't want to be ripping off "Just Like Heaven" too obviously). The lyrics tell a story. It's not a story that actually happened, but it could have happened. As with "We Have Only Begun," I was playing with word combinations, and through that a story took shape.

I came up with the chorus somewhat separately from the verses, and I worried that it sounded too different. Too calypso or something. That changed when the other Hotcakes got hold of it. Somehow, they made it work in a way that I couldn't in my head or playing by myself. I also got used to the idea of the chorus feeling lighter, musically, than the verses, and I really love how the band brought back the heavier part at the end of the chorus.

The song is a bit long, I know. If I could have told the story with one less verse, I would have, but it seems to need all the verses. And despite the length, I felt the song needed a bridge as well. It started out feeling obligatory and uncertain, as bridges sometimes do. I thought maybe that B minor chord was just an attempt to make it different. But over time the bridge solidified, and now it's one of my favourites. I think it works well. And I think the B minor is essential.

In the studio, the bed track wasn't too difficult to get right. We had rehearsed this song a lot and played it out several times. My only concern was making sure the tempo was steady. And T nailed it. Still, I think I replaced the rhythm guitar, removing a relentless one and replacing it with something a bit more subtle, especially in the bridge. I kept the second guitar quite simple. I almost nailed the solo and like the overall feel of it.

Gisele sang this one fairly early in the session on vocal day, but I like how the vocal came out. I adore that slight trill she does in the final chorus on the word "stay" just before the repeated refrain. She gets total credit for that, because I can't sing it, at least not well. The harmony vocal was pretty easy for me, even though it's high, and I thought we had a good mesh on those parts, especially at the end of the bridge and on the refrain on the last chorus.

And then there's the cowbell. I knew I wanted a cowbell in there. The others were dubious, but I was in charge of percussion. I didn't want to overdo it, but it was the sound I wanted. I even played up the calypso feel! We had been dropping down to guitar and vocals only for that part, but now we're considering dropping to vocals and percussion only, if we can make it work. I love how the band comes back in for that second chorus. This song makes me chair dance! I hope it works that way for others.

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