Music Monday: Splinter

About the Song

androcles and the lion : Music Monday: Splinter

This song “Splinter”, track three in my debut album, is a dark tale told with a beautiful melody. The story, while more suggestive than literal, is intended to be full of mystery and meaning. I chose an alter-ego role: a soft-toned harmonizer looking out dispassionately over the detritus of broken love and blue murder. At the end of a river, something is found, which will prove to either kill or cure. A letter could be the answer; whether truthful or not is unknown. Another killing is suggested in the silver voice of the letter as its author is urged ambiguously to “make him see the light”. Is the message a confession of guilt or a sentence to death or some sort of moral restoration? Can the letter reader be left to live after reading it? Ambiguity as a motif, hangs in the hallways of this song, tightly woven through its melody.

The story also references the old Greek tale of Androcles and the Lion. Androcles was a slave who was saved by the requited mercy of a lion. I used this tale to further the story of the song and somehow embody the whole sentiment, however my song does not share the tale’s happy ending. Instead, a soul of sin is found in the body of a child. Is this child the culprit or the victim? This is somehow all revealed, answered and yet also left hanging, almost rhetorically in the mantra of the closing lyric “Happy ever after, Let us never speak again, Of the day we found a soul of sin in a child of only ten”

About the Composition

Kevin Nolan : Splinter

Musically, as is my style, I used jolting off-beat instrumentals to both open the song and punctuate the narrative. I also tried to put intensity into every bar of this song. And, the above story’s ambiguity is paralleled with the contrasting euphonic harmonies and the rhythmic cacophony of the instrumentals.

In terms of vocals, I layered them with different effects – from whisper to a full-out chorus effect – again, to give the song different levels of intensity.

Lyrics for ‘Splinter’

Went to the river
In another part of town
Want you to give her
Exactly what you found
And when it’s over
You will be alright
Never again alone again in the middle of the night

Oh Girl

Send him a letter
Tell him what you found
At the end of the river
Buried in the ground
And just like the splinter
In the lions skin
You’ll be never a slave again restoring everything

Oh Girl

Use a voice of silver
In the letter that you writer
She’s not the killer
Make him see the light
Happy ever after
Let us never speak again
Of the day we found a soul of sin in a child of only ten

-Kevin Nolan-