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Extremely personal songs


VGW

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I'm going through a situation right now that has invoked emotions that I haven't felt in ages. Not in a good way either. So in the mindset of making a negative into a positive, I'm working on writing a song about it.

 

I write all the lyrics, and about 85% of the music for our band. We are a fun party band, so most of the stuff is very uptempo, story telling type of songs. This would be a bit of a change from my normal songs. I'm uneasy about showing something this personal to the band, much less actually performing it live. However, think about how many great songs were written out of angst.

 

It's a weird situation for me. Have any of you been in this situation before?

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I haven't been in that particular situation -- but I do know that when I was in a full-time band I wrote stuff that didn't fit for them. Sometimes we'd do it as a goof in practice. (We were a sort of early post-punk band but I had this totally tongue in cheek song about a happy-go-lucky flower child girl that we would do in practice for giggles. Our lead guitarist would whip out a flute he made out of PVC pipe and... well, it was pretty awful.)

 

But it doesn't sound like giggles is what your song is all about.

 

There's no harm in showing it to the guys, if you feel it, but you might want to save it for an album project or something... nothing like a good tearjerkin' slow, sad song to brind down the party atmo... ;)

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Actually, I don't think it is going to be slow. I'm pretty pissed about the situation, so I am leaning towards making it an aggressive, angry song. It will just have some real personal things in there, which is something I'm not really known for doing.

 

I guess I'll just have to swallow my pride and throw it out there and see what happens (once I get it finished, that is).

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Maybe not quite the same situation, but an interesting anecdote ...

 

IIRC when Paul introduced "Yesterday" to the Beatles, they liked the song but didn't really want to do it ... they didn't think it was really a "Beatles song". And, again iirc, that's one of the first Beatles songs to not have the full band on it.

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I haven't been in
that
particular situation -- but I do know that when I was in a full-time band I wrote stuff that didn't fit for them. Sometimes we'd do it as a goof in practice. (We were a sort of early post-punk band but I had this totally tongue in cheek song about a happy-go-lucky flower child girl that we would do in practice for giggles. Our lead guitarist would whip out a flute he made out of PVC pipe and... well, it was pretty awful.)


But it doesn't sound like
giggles
is what
your
song is all about.


There's no harm in showing it to the guys, if you feel it, but you might want to save it for an album project or something... nothing like a good tearjerkin' slow, sad song to brind down the party atmo...
;)

 

 

Hey I've got a flute like that, don't be whippin' on it. :)

 

KAC

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Actually, I don't think it is going to be slow. I'm pretty pissed about the situation, so I am leaning towards making it an aggressive, angry song. It will just have some real personal things in there, which is something I'm not really known for doing.


I guess I'll just have to swallow my pride and throw it out there and see what happens (once I get it finished, that is).

 

Yeah, most of my poetry is based on real events or thoughts or ... but sometimes modified to not reflect exactly - particularly if you are "attacking" someone in particular.

 

You can always change some of the details/names/actions slightly so it's not so "real."

 

The best songs start with real situations that us a bit of poetic license to make better or disguise. Besides you can always claim you just made it up. :)

 

KAC

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you could just say it's a story about something completely different?

 

or make its meaning really vague... but still write it so it's still an emotional release.

 

EDIT: btw I forgot to say, that's if you don't want people to read into it too easily.

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I would go ahead and finish the song, and put it aside. Then come back to it when you're in a better frame of mind and see if it still holds up.

 

I find my best songs come when I'm not intentionally trying to write about myself, but just simply trying to write a good song. If I focus on that objective, I usually find my own personal feelings and experiences somehow make their way into it anyway, which of course, will usually make it a better song.

 

But if you're too close to a situation, it can be easy to want to keep certain lines that may be confusing, or simply not very good, just because they have some personal meaning for you.

 

Although if you can put a killer riff or melody to it, it just might work. As long as there's something in there to keep it entertaining.

 

If anything, I think showing it to the band may be a good idea. They won't have the same personal attachments to the song that you do; their reaction will be based on whether or not they think it's a good song. That's the kind of feedback you want, right? :)

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I write a lot of songs that are extremely personal or sexually graphic. The type of songs I'd like someone who knew me to find after I'm dead but not before. Emotions in the form of inspiration are handed to me one at a time, and when I can't put one aside, I just have to write it out of me. Like many people have said already, it's cool to just put it aside and figure out what to do with it later. You'll be glad when you look back on it and see what a vivid insight to your emotions you left.

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I agree with kurdy, you can never know how people will react. One of the songs on my second album, "Out on the Road" (hear it at Soundclick if you'd like), I considered it WAY to intense to perform live. Thought it would be a real downer.

 

And yet, it turned out that it was many people's favorite. Some found it interesting, as a depiction of my thought process, some identified with it, and others just loved the groove and didn't really think about the words.

 

But on the other hand, there are a few songs that I choose not to play for anyone because they really are too personal. Nothing wrong with that.

 

PS I read a Shania Twain interview where she said she had songs that she'd never record because they didn't fit the mold of her persona, they were too personal, and they were nobody's business. Can you imagine what a "too personal" song by Miss Any-Man-Of-Mine would be??

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Write the real song about the real deal.

 

Your {censored} seems precious to you now, but it isn't.

 

Everybody goes through the same {censored}.

 

The more real you keep it the more real it will be to anyone who hears it.

 

 

 

caveat: Don't name names. :)

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I guess I'm assuming that this isn't anything involving or possibly involving or could possibly be construed to necessitate involvement of the Department of Homeland Security. If this is the case (a political thing) then yeah, you should by all means go straight to the trolls-and-elves-and-faeires-pixiedust allegory thing. :thu:

 

Otherwise, frankly, the situation is probably not too unique. I say this not to belittle your distress which I would not do since I have been through it myself (I mean distress. Gastric, romantic, political. In fact, all three at one time one afternoon in 1981) and know it to be real. The universality of these feelings and emotions (anger in your case) is what you have going for you. Everybody gets pissed off. I think we can even say everybody gets pissed off about the same things pretty much. So that's your "in".

 

When you're all done, we should all be sitting here listening to your song and going "oh hell yeahs, I dated that same crazed female person! Or maybe her sister!" And then we all swap tales and get completely {censored}faced, and end up all writing a terribly sad song together about how much we miss her. And then we pass out.

 

Unless you are a woman, writing about a man. In that case you have probably simply misunderstood him and misjudged him, and you are about to compound these errors by writing an angry song about the poor guy. Shame on you. :mad:

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I always try to avoid self-censoring, though it's not always easy. For me, nothing hinders creativity more than thinking, "Oh, no, what is so-and-so going to think?" I would say write the song assuming you're never going to play it for anyone except yourself and maybe St. Peter when you reach the Pearly Gates. Then, after it's done, revisit it and decide if you want to play it with the band. If it's a good song, they probably won't put too much thought into how personal it is.

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Unless you are a woman, writing about a man. In that case you have probably simply misunderstood him and misjudged him, and you are about to compound these errors by writing an angry song about the poor guy. Shame on you.
:mad:

 

:lol: - so true!

 

Music is all about communicating emotion, not clever rhymes, guitar solos, production or anthing else. Some of the best songwriters ever have written the most open and fragile songs (Joni Mitchell, Bright Eyes, Paul Simon, Richard Thompson come to mind).

 

It takes huge steel cujones to be that brave!

 

Write it and perform it if you are brave enough.........

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If you look at Jagged Little Pill, one of the best selling albums of all time, which had pretty simple instrumentation and was primairly just a vehicle for Alanis' great voice and songs, one of the reasons it was so popular is that she wrote some pretty bitter and biting songs. That's actually pretty rare, in that way anyway, where it's very personal and revealing and cleverly angry. There are plenty of metal screaming anger type of songs of course, but it's not so common to have songs that are pretty poppy and melodic, but really angry.

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I listened to your advice and decided to switch it around a little bit, and tell it as if I was the cad. To protect the guilty, so to speak. Also, I tried to make it a little bit vague, but I don't know if I did a good job of it. Here is a rough draft of the lyrics. If it sucks, you can tell me, and I won't take it personally. This is more theraputic than anything. And yes, musically, this is an angry song.

 

I get lonely sitting right here next to you.

This time is overdue

I

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