• Submitted on time! Feb 3, 2024
Meteor Shower at the Motel

I spent some time trying to make a “bigger” version of this, in a different key, with piano, but it wasn’t working out. I was going for cottagecore Taylor Swift ballad but just couldn’t make it big or dramatic enough. Decided to slap a capo on the 11th fret and do a quick single-track, Fleet-Foxes-in-the-stairwell thing instead, and I think it’s a much more honest take.

Some of these lyrics “came to me” and some I had to “write.” Does this happen to everyone else, where the lyrics you have to “write” never feel 100% right? Looking back on almost every song I’ve written, I *always* remember which lines came to me and which I had to write. I try extra hard to make the ones I “wrote” feel natural. And I’m forever wondering if something else would have worked better. Curious whether it comes through for the listener. I’m inviting the criticism – which lyrics feel natural and which, if you had to choose, feel more forced?

Realizing that I think I forgot a cascading melody. 🙁


It’s Axel and Hannah’s anniversary
Plywood bunk beds and black tea
Checked into the motel with a backpack and a mask
And some little Moe stars in my belly

Managed to rally for the after-thing
Someone spilled wine on the floor
And the comets came down in a grand finale
And the mountains sang hey, helan gar

It’s Axel and Hannah’s anniversary
Nicole remembers it first
Maddie chimes in with “I can’t wait to see you girls”
And I know how much this is worth

Not one for presents or remembering dates
Don’t think there’s much to define
But I hope people know that I live to be theirs
I hope they can feel it and that it’s something that’s mine

Looking for feedback on

Which lyrics feel natural and which, if you had to choose, feel less so?


EliasSZ February 14, 2024 11:15am (edited)

All these lyrics feel fairly natural to me – the first verse in particular really captured me though. I’d say the least natural to me would be “Not one for presents or remembering dates | Don’t think there’s much to define“. When I read it, I like it, but listening it didn’t capture me quite the same.

This is such a nice song – I’d love to hear it with a bit more of an arrangement, though I get when the ‘bigger’ version just isn’t happening. Maybe some soft piano chords, gentle vocal harmony, something else? Sounds great as is too.

danhunt February 10, 2024 7:24pm

This whole piece is just gravy atop the beautiful two-syllable rhyme within “Hannah’s anni-versary”. Little nuggets of beauty like that (including your great vocal delivery) make me happy. Lovely, evocative piece!!

alechutson February 9, 2024 3:33pm

Love all of the inside friend references, I feel cool for catching them 😉

I can definitely hear the fleet foxes in a stairwell vibe — i’m getting some mix of tiger mountain peasant song and a low key father john misty track.

The lyrics all feel very personal and specific, and with loads of depth. Lines like “Maddie chimes in with “I can’t wait to see you girls” / And I know how much this is worth” carry a lot of meaning, even if the listener doesn’t know who you are referring to.

My one note is that I don’t love the word “thing” as a lyric. I acknowledge that it works well in context as an ambiguous “whatever” after party that you’re not thrilled to be at, but i don’t love how it feels aesthetically. Take it with a grain of salt.

Ryan February 7, 2024 2:19pm

As always, just freakin’ great to hear you sing. Some of my favorite moments: “managed to rally for the after-thing”, “finale”, “hey, helan gar”, “rememberin’ dates”. All the humming. Just great stuff.

Great feedback question. I agree with what others have said about economizing where needed, excising small words that add to syllable count. With a line that’s inherently complex, I think that’s especially important. Would “I hope they can feel it / and it’s something that’s mine” carry the same meaning for you? Conversely, there’s a line like “Nicole remembers it first” that doesn’t feel quite right in terms of its delivery. Maybe it’s delivery, maybe it’s the lyric. But it’s worth exploring.

Anyway, always love hearing your stuff. This one is particularly sweet.

nurphgun February 8, 2024 10:21pm

Totally with you on “Nicole remembers it first” – it really irks me on every listen – I like the line, but it needs a softer delivery.

zoya February 6, 2024 9:28pm

i love the humming it’s so perfect and captures what it feels like to look at a meteor shower in such an unexpected way

nurphgun February 6, 2024 11:06pm

Thank you!!

Ben February 6, 2024 4:24pm

“The after-thing.” What a perfect way of summing that kind of event. Sometimes in the chaos and haze of a wedding, or just a friday night in highschool or college, when there’s this other party that you know is happening somewhere, sometime, it really just feels like an after “thing.” You don’t know exactly what it is, where it is, or who’s hosting it or how you’ll get there (and back), and every time you hear a little more info on the event, certain parts of it have changed. So you just end up walking as this giant group and hope that whoever is in the front of the glob of people knows where theyre going.

Ben February 6, 2024 4:24pm

This is amazing, and so different than the original piano version that I heard you playing.

Its Play February 6, 2024 7:56pm

Idk about the US but in New Zealand (and probably Australia cause we always share slang) we call this kick-ons haha, usually more of a party type term tho, just thought I’d drop a fun fact lol

nurphgun February 6, 2024 9:02pm

@@Ben yes exactly. A big glob of people who don’t know where they’re going. Hannah and Axel’s after-thing was, I think, the last time I was a part of such a glob. For fun I just googled the phrase “after thing” (in quotes) because I definitely didn’t make it up, but nothing really comes up in my google search. It’s a lot of people saying “thing after thing”.

@@Its Play love it! managed to rally for the kick-on (kick-ons?)

troods February 6, 2024 12:12pm

hello to the gentle reverb-y echo that follows your consonants! what a lovely tone, the humming feels like it’s following me.

the lyrics feel all natural to me, but I’m not super experienced in lyric writing…it feels narrative, gentle, sweet. this tune feels like a gentle bridge between two differing halves in an album – tender, prosaic, listenable.

Ben February 6, 2024 4:19pm

wow yeah, the S’s and T’s! didnt notice that until you mentioned that

nurphgun February 6, 2024 9:03pm

Thanks @@troods ! 💚

nick February 5, 2024 3:50pm

really beautiful singing and melody writing. all the humming is absolutely luscious. “finale” is literally perfect.

to me, they all feel very naturally written. perhaps “don’t think there’s much to define” would be the least natural to me. kind of a separate comment, but in regards to them sounding naturally sung, i like to see how much i can getaway with by removing the sentence structure and letting the most meaningful words remain, like “motel check-in, backpack and mask” could get you to the same place with less clutter. especially when paired with other lyrics that allow for the full sentence structure like “managed to rally for the after-thing”. such a great line btw. as for the last line, i think im understanding it more, and i really like it, but it’s a little compressed at the moment. id experiment with hanging on that last chord for longer so you can sing all those words with more space in between. could help to emphasize the intention, too. just a thought. great recording, nora!

nick February 5, 2024 4:48pm

specifically “and that it’s something that’s mine”. really continuing to grow on me, so who the hell knows, but maybe a little more space could help.

nurphgun February 6, 2024 1:52pm

Yes – “don’t think there’s much to define” is one of them. Had three other options for that line, and I think this was the best one, but it’s still not quite it. There is a specific meaning I want to get across in the last verse, and trying to fit it in the rhyme scheme is tough.

Love, love the advice re “motel check-in, backpack and a mask”, etc. – it would be a really interesting practice to take a pass through it and see where else I could make similar changes. Top of my head, I could probably change “Maddie chimes in with I can’t wait to see you girls” to “Maddie chimes in, can’t wait to see you girls.” Maybe waiting a beat before “Nicole” so it’s less harsh.

Interesting idea to add more space to the last line. I definitely slowed down a bit for the last two lines so I could milk them a little. I worry that giving too much space will further highlight how clunky the last line is. I actually like its clunkiness and how quickly it goes by – I almost wouldn’t mind if it passed someone by on a first listen & only revealed itself to them later on.

nick February 6, 2024 3:33pm

ah the beauty of being the artist. and i think you’re right, to boot!

stonewindow February 19, 2024 5:45pm

Your voice is so lovely. I have had very few songs come with lyrics. Poetry is honed and honed. If it comes naturally that’s a gift. I will listen more.