Chapter 11: Saila – A Song for Love’s Losers

This one and Roger’s House deliberately ‘light hearted’ songs. Not that it’s a dark album or anything. Just wanted to have some fun. The song is in Hindi, and it’s from the point of view of a, wait for it, pissed of lover whose girl’ is selfish, materialistic, and heartless. He still loves and wants her though, but vacillates between mock anger (“you have a dirty heart”) self pity (“I’ve always been alone, I’ll continue to be alone”), and self help (“don’t look back, move on, stop drinking, vodka is expensive”). Ahem.

The Korg Triton: AR Rahman squeezed every ounce of funk from this silver beast. As did everyone from The Neptunes to Peter Gabriel. Now in software. Only had to wait 25 years. Courtesy Korg.

This was essentially composed early on as well, and was originally supposed to be in Telugu, to pay homage to another one of influences, the Indian musician AR Rahman. AR made at least six monster smashes in the 90s, and by smashes I means songs, and by monster I mean he managed to combine funk, electronic, South Indian, African and dance music into a completely new and irresistible beast.

I was enamored, and still am, with songs like Urvashi, Muqabla, Chikbuk Raile, and Hello Doctor. Everyone knows and loves Chaiyya Chaiyya, but those older Telugu songs are my favorite. Sadly, my Telugu is about as proficient as my Dothraki, so I ended up going with Hindi.

Who needs a girlfriend when you have your Soup Boys…circa 1997. Note table tennis racket in my hand.

Saila was my attempt at crafting something that AR might like, kind of in that style, but not really. My own thing, like all the other songs on the album, but with a tip of the hat to legends like AR. Lyrically, the themes of ‘loser’ ex-boyfriend with no money and too many bottles of vodka under the bed, is a classic South Indian cinema trope. So even though some of you might think this is a breakup fuck you song, it’s actually not as autobiographical as some of the later songs. My pain and experience did add poignance and humor to the lyrics (stop calling her says the stupid heart) but the song is actually kind of a good ole boy, exchanging war stories drinking song. No toxic anything here ladies!

A shawarma, in case you were wondering. Muncheez, Washington DC. Now I’m hungry…

Saila is just a fun tune about silly ‘soup boys’ as they’re called in South India (because ‘soup’ is all they can afford, see). Love hungry puppies who just can’t stop having their heart broken. Immature perhaps, but good hearted. I am reminded of a friend I had in Dubai who, desperate to buy ‘his girl’ a sweatshirt from some pricy brand (Diesel?), spent a weekend working at a carwash, and when he finally got paid, his ‘girl’ had bought the bloody sweatshirt already. Or maybe it was bought for her buy a richer rival….

I convinced him to treat us to shawarmas and milkshakes. Him and I would sing songs like Saila.

I enjoyed working on this, and it came together without too much angst. Especially like the down tempo groove, and the synth bassline and chords really juice things up. This, El Hend and Activation are my ‘brass’ songs. It was fun to incorporate horns into my music. They definitely added a touch of class.

Next: Chapter 12 – Roger’s House