miles playing acoustic guitar and singing

Songwriting Stories: Standing in Line (2009)

Standing in Line is yet another oldie that I wanted to get out there for the sake of documenting some of my musical history. It’s a song mostly written by Matt Stankiewicz, that I believe he brought to Gary Zimmer and me after he had the chords and a title. We wrote this at our band’s headquarters/rehearsal space on Milwaukee Ave in the Portage Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Lyrics considered

The story is about a guy who is with a girl that would rather be with someone else but is afraid of making the move. He senses it and pulls the trigger before she gets the chance. I like a lot of the rhymes here (“when I’m gone, will you see what you did wrong?” and “make you see… he’ll do to you what you’ve done to me”) so that part holds up to me.

The one thing that bugs me about it is the line “dreaming of his bed while you’re sleeping in mine.” I wish that had been a bit less explicit because that kind of locks in the meaning of the song. At the time, I think I liked the idea of it being applicable to any situation where you’re in cahoots with someone but they’re looking around for something better. I thought a similar situation that came up at the time was being in a band. I thought about changing that line to “being in his band instead of playing in mine.”

Chords and Melody

As far as the music goes, I’ve long been impressed by what matt came up with. The leading tone walkdown through the augmented A and the diminished F# just give this a real smooth journey. Then, you get a walk back up from the F, through the F#dim and back into the G and finally hang on that G7 until another smooth resolution to the tonic with the C on the chorus.

The verse chords don’t exactly wow me but they provide a stable structure and a break from the relentlessness of the chord changes in the chorus.

I did notice in re-recording this that I end up kind of shout singing most of it. When Matt sang it, he didn’t strain as much. I guess it just seemed like it needed to be shouted to me.

Words and Chords


Intro: C – C7 – Am – A+
G – F#o – F – Fm - C

Am G
I don't think we can make it better
C E7
I don't think we can work it out
Am D
There's no hope left for us together
C E7
I had my questions now there's little doubt
F
cause you got here
F#o Gsus G
wishing that I could be someone better than me

C C7
excuse me please
Am Ab+
It's time for me to leave
G F#o
I'll save the both of us time
Am Ab+
it hurts me inside
G F#o
but I'm leaving with pride
F Fm C
and that's better than standing in line

I can see where this is going, you're
dreaming of his bed while you're sleeping in mine
but in this life there is no knowing
what you've got until it's passed you in time
cause you got here
wishing I could be someone better than me

C C7
excuse me please
Am Ab+
I'm down on my knees
G F#o
I'll stop wasting my time
Am Ab+
you with your pride
G F#o
and what's left of mine
F Fm C – C C/B C/A
is better than standing in line

F
when I'm gone
C
Will you see what you did wrong
F
When you're free to
C
Have him instead of me, will
F C C/B C/A
He be there, to make you see
G G7
he'll do to you what you've done to me

solo over intro chords

C C7
excuse me please
Am Ab+
I'm down on my knees
G F#o
I'll stop wasting my time
Am Ab+
you with your pride
G F#o
and what's left of mine
F Fm Am
is better than standing in line

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *