"I HAVE LOVE, I HAVE YOU": A WEDDING SONG FOR MY WIFE & HOW PUNCH DRUNK LOVE HELPED ME FINISH IT

More than any other song of mine, people ask me when they will get their hands on a recording of "I Have Love, I Have You."  It's a song I wrote as a surprise for my wife Lauren on our wedding day in April 2010. For awhile, I never even considered recording and releasing it: the song was written for Lauren as a gift and releasing it would be like buying my wife a necklace then distributing little bits of it out to everyone on your block. So time went on, until, eventually, even Lauren herself asked me, "When are you going to record my song?" So, I'm happy to report, I should be recording a full band version in the next month or so. To tide you over until then I've posted a demo, the lyrics, and a small story about how the film Punch Drunk Love figures intot the big picture.

Here is the song...



...here are the lyrics...

"I Have Love, I Have You"

Don't need no roof above
No shelter from the storm
When I bear the elements
Somehow I'm safe and warm
And the coldest wind and rain no longer do me harm

'Cause I have love,
I have love,
I have love,
I have you

Don't need no dollar bill
No golden hope or fear
To riches or to rags
I'll never shed a tear
'Cause I've got a currency that's tried and true and dear

'Cause I have love,
I have love,
I have love,
I have you

There is no way I can repay what you have given me
But I will give my heart, my life, the air I breathe

Don't need no afterlife
No gated kingdom come
It's here now with my wife
Our heaven just begun
And there is no end to any moment that is won

When you have love
And you have love
You have love
You have me

...and here is the backstory:

Hop in my time machine and step back in time with me.

!!!ZaZaZAP!!!

Wow that was fast, we're here already: September 13th, 2009. Whoa, look over there, there's me! Look at me with my notebook and pen. Wait a sec, what the hell am I wearing? Jesus, I look so 2009. Anyway, it looks like I've started writing a song for my bride-to-be. Let's listen in shall we:



Oh yeah, that's right, the words are a little different now aren't they? I can make out "I Need You, I Need Love" but, alas, nothing else. Ohhhh, of course. I remember. The rest of the words are an ultra secretive and solitary language I spoke in 2009 exclusively. My, how 2009 of me! Moving on...Ugh oh, why is there a light bulb hovering over my head? Yes, now I get it, this is the moment I had that zany idea formulating in my giant cranium. Looks like I want this song to be THE song. You know, the song I want to surprise the wife with on our wedding day. Really 2009 Ryan? It didn't sound all that great to me, especially the gibberish parts. Those barely even made sense to 2013 Ryan. 

!!!ZaZaZAP!!!

Whoa, we're back in 2013. Thank God. I was getting a little tired of writing this blog entry "Our Town" style. And, frankly, the light-bulb-hoverin-over-my-head part starting taking it a bit too deep into Toon Town. Let's readjust the perspective. No more time travel and old self/new self dichotomy. Ahhhhh, there we go. Perspective readjusted. And so the story resumes:

So I had the skeleton of the song: the form was pretty much there and the melody was on its way. Shortly thereafter, I even wrote the first verse about how the storm couldn't harm me. But being this was to be THE song, it had to be - at the very least - you know, good. An OK song would simply not do.

It had to be worthy of Lauren.

It had to sum up all my love within about three minutes.

The words couldn't be cheesy. They had to be honest and heartfelt. 

Ultimately, the pressure I imposed on myself built and built to the point where I felt the song had to be nothing less than the best song I had ever written.

So, I agonized and agonized for the next three months with the lyrics, knowing all the while that all I really had to do was tap into my authentic emotions and express my feelings with the words. Well. Easier said than done.
To be honest - and I'm not proud of this - but as far as my emotional capabilities go I too often am akin to a fortress wall:  I always have my frickin' guard up! Truly, it's always an enormous effort for me to open up even the smallest fraction of an amount. I did progress somewhat, though. I had finessed the first verse, written a chorus and renamed the song "I Have Love, I Have You." Now my only problem was the rest of the song! I had no idea where it was going or where it should go. For awhile, I pursued the notion of defeating all sorts of elements: wind, rain, fire, ice, lava, gravity. Unfortuantely, the song began to sound more and more like a Tenacious D song about slaying dragons than an honest love song. I scrapped all those lyrics and when I came up for air - !!!ZaZaZap!!! - it was 2010. 

Luckily, in February 2010, about two months before the wedding, I found inspiration from a film I originally didn't care much for: PT Anderson's Punch Drunk Love. Now, I'm a huge PT Anderson fan but when I first saw Punch Drunk Love, I just didn't get it. Boogie Nights and Magnolia - Anderson's more sprawling, panoramic, multi-character films - intrigued me far more than this smaller, quirkier, more intimate, and somewhat fantastical story. These other earlier Anderson films I could watch over and over on DVD. Leaving the theater after Punch Drunk Love, however, I was content to let that be my first and only viewing.

My second viewing was a much different experience. Nearly eight years after first seeing PDL, something resonated with me. One scene particularly struck me: Barry's (Adam Sandler) confrontation of the "Mattress Man" villain (Phillip Seymour Hoffman). Barry tells the "Mattress Man" off, taunting and intimidating him into backing down.

"I have a love in my life. It makes me stronger than anything you can imagine"

Here's a clip, watch from about 1:11:




Suddenly, Punch Drunk Love made sense to me. This was how I felt having Lauren in my life. I knew I had to write not only about how my love made me feel impervious to the physical elements, but also how my love had humbled and strengthened me. I knew I felt unaffected by the fear of financial security and immune to the angst of not knowing what happens after death. Essentially, I felt like Barry does in this scene, all like YOU CAN'T TOUCH THIS!! 

Happily, the rest of the song came to me in the next few days.

And when Lauren heard the tune on our wedding day, she cried!

I can honestly say it's the only moment in my life I was happy to see her cry. : )

I am very proud of this one and I hope you all enjoy it. 

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