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Seems like I only write sad songs..


WinosaurJR

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Do you think it'd be a major turn-off for an audience if my writing style is a bit dramatic, and sad? I've finished writing two lyrics out of ten, for an album I'm working on. Both of them relate to me and mean a lot, for one is about a friend who suffers from a fatal respiratory disease.

 

Another is just about a lifestyle that goes on forever repetatively. In it's entirety, a drug addict could relate to the lyrics, a 9-5er who isn't content with his life, someone who's found themself stuck in a "personal desert" of their own. (Since every song is assumed to secretly be about the writer doing heroin or coke, I threw in some lines that would make them think. heh..)

 

Let's say a year or two from now I finish everything and play the songs with a band. Do you guys honestly think that songs about heartbreak, loss, uncertainty, and frustration would appeal to anyone in a live setting? I guess you guys wouldn't know unless you read the lyrics, but..

 

Would songs like that generally seem melodramatic to you all? The lyrical rhymining is ABABAB with some AAA and BBB parts. I don't mean to rhyme like that, it just is what it is. I really hope that the "nursery rhyming" doesn't make it even lamer. The lyrics are all based around my feelings and my life, so they're genuine, and I believe in every word I've written.

 

So, whoever actually takes the time to read this, I thank you for your patience and thoughtfulness.

 

EDIT: This song's been in my head a lot lately.. I don't think this song is lame or melodramatic at all, and it actually has an operatic tinge for some reason, which is what I'd like to go for, but, let's say the songs are emotional in the same sense that this song is.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbZM6ZSlvvY&feature=related

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Well, I get what you mean, but I'd still like to have inspiring words for the fans who'll truly appreciate the music. I also don't think that the songs'd be very poppy, and a few of them have pretty slow grooves. So I doubt they'd be dancy, but then I guess I'm not really looking to appeal to the kind of person who thinks of music as background noise.

 

And, I've just realized, about two or three songs are pretty upbeat compared to the others. I have about 20 songs, 10 of them generally revolving around my personal life issues, and 10 of them following a more entertaining, "fun" vibe. A bowie-esque vibe, lyrical themes of space and surf rock mixed. But I'd rather play the darker songs live first, honestly.

 

Thanks, though.

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Well, I get what you mean, but I'd still like to have inspiring words for the fans who'll truly appreciate the music. I also don't think that the songs'd be very poppy, and a few of them have pretty slow grooves. So I doubt they'd be dancy, but then I guess I'm not really looking to appeal to the kind of person who thinks of music as background noise.


And, I've just realized, about two or three songs are pretty upbeat compared to the others. I have about 20 songs, 10 of them generally revolving around my personal life issues, and 10 of them following a more entertaining, "fun" vibe. A bowie-esque vibe, lyrical themes of space and surf rock mixed. But I'd rather play the darker songs live first, honestly.


Thanks, though.

 

 

Why not mix it up? Do a darker song, and follow it with a more upbeat one, and so on.

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Write what YOU WANT to write. Don't be concerned with what people will want to hear.

 

You are writing original music, right? If you write what you want to write, it will be genuine. The more you write from the heart, the better you will get at it. The better you get, the more people like it, regardless of the content.

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Hey, DeVotchKa....nice!

 

Anyways....it's fine to be totally dark all the time. Works for the Arcade Fire, and Bon Iver who I've been loving lately and all of his songs are really dark and emotional:

 

[YOUTUBE]UrMmr1oMPGA[/YOUTUBE]

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Nobody listens to words in today's public performance venues. If the melody's memorable and the beat's alright, you'll be OK.

 

 

I was thinking along those lines myself.

 

I do think that lyrics are quite important......most listeners want to hear your message. But a melodic hook will quite often trump lyrics in a tune with a groove.

 

As far as sad songs go......you need to write whatever you are feeling if you want your songs to ring true. A song that comes from your heart will tend to reach the hearts of your listeners.

 

Your songs will tend to change with your frame of mind if you keep at it.

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What I say is, "I don't pick the songs, they pick me" I can't help what's in me, and that's what comes out when I write. Music is like a fart, it just comes out of you, you can't help it.

 

I've written songs that people have heard and told me, "that song made me cry" and I said THAT is what I was going for! And I cried when I wrote it! And I've had farts that have made people cry? So again, they are very similar...

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Write what YOU WANT to write. Don't be concerned with what people will want to hear.


You are writing original music, right? If you write what you want to write, it will be genuine. The more you write from the heart, the better you will get at it. The better you get, the more people like it, regardless of the content.

 

 

This whole process would be a lot easier if it worked that way. But it doesn't. Paul and John didn't really want to hold your hand, Keith and Mick look pretty {censored}ing satisfied, and I can't tell from the way he uses his walk that Barry Gibb is a ladies man with no time to talk.

 

If you want to play to your bedroom wall, you can write whatever you want. If you want to play for other people, you owe it to them to be considerate of their needs as an audience.

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Well, damn, guys! Thanks for the motivating words about following my fart! (Woops, I meant.. Heart.) I'm not quoting anyone, because I'm gonna answer a few of you.

 

Kurdy; I'd simply mix it up like that, but the two sets of songs are completely different from each other, so I think I'm gonna just let them be.

 

Dano; The themes are pretty familiar. Loss of a loved one, a song about being lost and uncertain and desperate in one's life, a song about longing, a song about coming out of one's addiction,

 

Chicken, I can understand what you're saying, but I also am realizing that there's a place for niches everywhere, and I'd be content if my music could somewhat support me or I could reach and touch even just a small group of people. I don't think, no matter how experimental I may be, that there wouldn't be a solid structure, and there's much worse out there, in terms of lyrical/musical obscurity and acessability. Since I'm not trying to be the next flavor of the month, I think I'd be fine looking for places that focus on music, because I know there's a few places around my area, and I'm sure they aren't the only places. I'm not naive, and I approach everything with common sense and forethought. If you have anything else that's important to note, I'll be listening.

 

And, thanks to everyone else for reassuring me and giving me some newfound confidence about my material. I'm not very keen on a song with empty words that I can't believe in or relate to.

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What I say is, "I don't pick the songs, they pick me" I can't help what's in me, and that's what comes out when I write. Music is like a fart, it just comes out of you, you can't help it.


I've written songs that people have heard and told me, "that song made me cry" and I said THAT is what I was going for! And I cried when I wrote it! And I've had farts that have made people cry? So again, they are very similar...

 

man I need this in my sig....

 

haven't really thought of it in this manner but you're right to some degree :eek:

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Some songs you write from the heart and other songs are a vehicle to service the riff. I come up with some heartfelt meaningful tunes but do others just as a way to rock out on a certain groove or riff I like.. But then sometimes those turn into something really cool out of nowwhere and become cool songs with a riff and meaning /hook

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Yes, exactly, the songs pick you. Just because that's what you write now doesn't mean you won't write different stuff later.

 

Plus there are lots of different kinds of sadness and addressing different aspects of it can bring a surprising amount of variety to your set. A sad-about-war song, a sad-about-breakup song, etc.

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This whole process would be a lot easier if it worked that way. But it doesn't. Paul and John didn't really want to hold your hand, Keith and Mick look pretty {censored}ing satisfied, and I can't tell from the way he uses his walk that Barry Gibb is a ladies man with no time to talk.


If you want to play to your bedroom wall, you can write whatever you want. If you want to play for other people, you owe it to them to be considerate of their needs as an audience.

 

OK... which is it, CM? :D

 

 

I'd say your earlier cynicism trumps your latter cynicism.

 

If one is trying to write hits... that's a thing unto itself. That's Boyce & Hart, Brill Building stuff. And aside from supplying the Britney's and Cristina's of this world with pop fodder, it's something of a lost practical art, though its vestiges live on with producer/song doctor types who try to beat the often incoherent ramblings of pop/rock stars into easily absorbable pop formats.

 

 

I'd say most songwriters -- even a great many with successful if not megastar careers -- are not trying to write hits and are trying to write songs that are honest and say something they feel they want or need to say.

 

 

My philosophy -- since my experience in the music biz has never left me with the slightest notion that the songs I wanted to write had any hit potential whatsoever -- has always been to write each song as best I could, to bring that song to its own self-realization.

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Hey it worked for The Smiths and Morrisey. Go for what you know. If it's honest and not contrived than it will work.

 

Could there ever be a less likely hit-maker, ever?

 

I, personally (and I'm a very broad-minded and artistically open guy) was utterly amazed to find myself singing along with Morissey as he sang in that whiney voice about wanting to see some guy's 'underpants' [conjuring up thoroughly unwanted images of guys in tidy whities or bikini briefs :eek: ] -- and trebly amazed that I was singing along with that song playing on a major market rock station...

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OK... which
is
it, CM?
:D


 

I certainly shouldn't have used examples from lyrics to emphasize my point that no one listens to lyrics, but writers are an exception to that rule anyway. I'm talking about meeting your audience's needs rather than your own in both posts.

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I have to say that words in other people's songs are often important to me.

 

And I'm not really concerned with meeting the aesthetic needs of 14 year old girls, death metal/vivisection rock fans, or emo kids. At all.

 

 

The thinking of those who put commerce over art is entirely familiar to me -- and it's one of the reasons I got the hell out of the music business.

 

I'd rather be Van Gogh than Thomas Kinkade.*

 

 

 

*Not that I have the skill to be either, even metaphorically. BTW, I can never remember Kinkade's name -- but it's easy to find: I just searched on the phrase "famous shlock landscape painter" -- and his name came up in the top two Google returns. I'll give Kinkade this: he's a hell of a marketing machine.

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Here's my take on "only writing sad songs". If the sad songs are more of a habit and affectation, then mix it up. It's hard to look at yourself and say, "I'm putting it on", but it might be a good idea to examine why you only write sad songs.

 

If it's because you're always sad, as much of a bummer as that might be, go for it. The truth of it will shine. If it's because that is a side of your personality you have a certain facility in communicating... same as above. Go for it.

 

If it's all made up but you're just really good at writing sad songs. Don't stop! Get even better. Once again, go for it.

 

But if it's because you like a lot of artist who do it and you've heard it a lot and it just sort of comes out that way cause that's the kind of music you and your peers listen to...

 

That borders on affectation. And for me, that is geekiness incarnate. A put on. And not the cool sort of Bowie persona put on, but the trendy bandwagon put on that'll have your audience rolling their eyes by the 2nd tune.

 

So go for it if you can tap into some truth. Even the made up kind of truth. That's what great fiction writing is. Showing the truth through lying. Otherwise, leave it for the posers and go chase the real.

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The thinking of those who put commerce over art is entirely familiar to me -- and it's one of the reasons I got the hell out of the music business.

 

 

I took a stab and assumed the OP wanted to take a shot at a music career, in which case, you've got to meet your audience more than halfway. For me, it's a bigger challenge to write a song that means something to someone else than a song that means something to me, and there's an element of "commerce" buried in there.

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Oh, sure, I wasn't taking exception to your take on it, at all, only talking from my own, peculiar perspective.

 

That said, I've seen a lot of potentially creative artists get their heads all twisted up striving for a career in the music business. Some of my closest friends have 'given it all' to the music biz, year after year, striving for something outside themselves -- only to finally quit in disappointment and even bitterness, often leaving music and songwriting completely behind, presumably because of their bitter disgust with the business.

 

It seems like the higher they climb, the more empty promises that are made to them, the shinier the brass ring dangled in front of them, the more bitter and resentful they become about music in general.

 

And that's a damn shame, certainly for the embittered musician, but also for the people who might have enjoyed the music he or she is no longer willing to make.

 

I think sometimes that my targeted cynicism about the music business -- which I find every bit as disgusting, vulgar and corrupt as you might imagine from my frequent tone in discussing it -- may put folks off.

 

But here's the thing -- because I'm making music primarily because I like making music (or even feel like I need to) and because I have no interest whatsoever in having anything to do with the vile scum who run the music business, I will probably continue making music and enjoying music while others who have approached it as a career are burned out, sucked dry, and discarded.

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Well, Lee, I don't feel that it's a put-on, because the songs that I've written, as I've said, I believe in every word, and the songs are actually about my personal life and the few struggles I've had to deal with. I mean, I'm just a kid, but I've had a few problems in life that'd affected me, and the songs would be a way to release tension and stress and connect with other people who've most likely gone through the same kinds of stuff.

 

I'm probably going to get a side-job, but I know that there ARE bands out there have don't have side-jobs, so I'm wondering how they do it, and if I could ever stop and do that, I would.

 

I'm dead-set on pursing a musical career of some sort if the opportunity opens up, but my target audience is people who actually go to venues to see the music, and not a pop/drunken/mindless audience. I'm not looking for money out of playing (unless I could make my way to large venues and festivals), I'm just looking to play and possibly be an influence to bands that come after me. I'm all about the music, which truly makes me happy, and I don't mind having a job on the side until I get the opportunity to live off of it, and I don't know wether or not I'd sign to a label or anything. I don't know the pros and cons of major/indie labels, and I'm only learning. If anyone here would explain some of that basic business stuff to me personally, I'd like to learn it all while I'm young and eager.

 

So, generally speaking, I'd like to have a band that's ambitious and remembered for originality and uniqueness and has a loyal (even if relatively small) fanbase, and not just a flavor of the month. Even if the music turns out horrible, I don't see myself doing anything else with my free time. I don't want to be in the absolute spotlight. Maybe I'll feel differently if I get out there and build confidence, but I think that, right now, it would make me worse of a nervous wreck than I already am. And it doesn't help that I'm not tall, dark, and handsome. I'm rather pale, average height, and average looks. lol

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honestly, and "sad" as it is to say.

 

most people don't pay that much attention to what your saying, as much as they do "how" your saying it. I've listened to some of the happiest songs in the world, that were written about some of the saddest things imaginable. I usually write what I feel, and I don't worry too much about whether or not the lyrics are deep. As long as they mean something to me. Like someone mentioned, unless its a song that focuses on the lyrics (most don't) the melody of said lyrics is far more important. There are reasons to have good lyrics, but good lyrics don't always mean happy or complicated.

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