Ukulele serenade series: “Just Say”

This is part of a daily uke notation series released in advance of Valentine’s Day 2020. I have plans to do this in advance of other holidays and sabats, so if you have recommendations please let me know.

As a native Pacific Northwesterner, I grew up aware of “The Seattle Sound.” Even though I was cast off in rural Eastern Washington and decades younger than most of the “grunge” movement’s key players, once I hit middle school, I was eager to dive in.

It’s hard liking stuff when it seems everyone else likes things.

I learned what I could through back issues of zines and blogs written by fans and soon realized that the scene was huge and included outstanding bands of all different genres. Some of the best pop and pop-punk music came out of Seattle in the 90s including a 1996 album called “New Mansions in Sound” by Fastbacks.

“Just Say” comes from “New Mansions…,” an anthemic single that made loneliness feel catchy. I pulled this song for my serenade selections because it’s fun to play and so goddamn relatable — and I thought it might bring some comfort to other folks who always seem to be the wrong number.

As usual, we’re working with a concert ukulele tuned to GCEA.

So, let’s get into the chords.

Chords

C

A|-3-|C
E|-0-|E
C|-0-|C
G|-0-|G

F

A|-0-|A
E|-1-|F
C|-0-|C
G|-2-|A

G

A|-2-|B
E|-3-|G
C|-2-|D
G|-0-|G

Verses and bridges

First verse

C           F          G   C
How can you say you're all alone?
C           F         G       C
How can you say where are you going?
C           F       G
How can you say the phone rang
F        G
Once for a wrong number?
C           F          G      C
How can you say you're always sad?
C           F       G       C
How can you say you feel so bad?
C           F       G
How can you say you don't think
F            G                   C
Anyone cares you're around here?

First bridge

C    F      G
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh x2
C    F    G    C        G
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
C    F    G
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh  x2
C    F   G   F  G
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Second verse

C   F      G   C
Why can't I be strong?
C    F   G      C
Why's my number wrong?
C    F     G       F           G              C
Okay, it's not the only time I felt like this before
C  F   G       C
Why is nothing new?
C  F     G       C
Why know what to do?
C   F     G       F                G                    C
Okay, you look so hopeless I don't know how I'll get by

Concluding bridge

 C   F  6 G  C    
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh  x4

Chorus

C    F       G   C
Just say I'm all alone
C    F         G    C
Just say where am I going?
C    F       G
Just say the phone rang
F              G
Once today for a wrong number
C    F       G      C
Just say I'm always sad
C    F        G      C
Just say it's all so bad
C    F          G
Just say I don't think
F            G            
Anyone knows I'm around here

Structural notes

This is a special song in that we’re only going to play each section once through. The order is as follows:

  • First verse
  • Chorus
  • First bridge
  • Second verse
  • Concluding bridge

Resources

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