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Elemental songwriting...


blue2blue

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Just when you think all the good stuff has been written you come across an idea set forth in simple, elemental language that hits you hard with its elegant presentation.

 

I was just listening to "No Earthly Good" (performed and apparently written by Johnny Cash, based on the same hymn, apparently as Dylan's "Times They Are A-Changin'") -- a song I wasn't familiar with.

 

The first quatrain knocked me out:

 

Come heed me me, good brothers,

 

come hear one and all.

 

Don't brag about standing

 

or you'll surely fall...

 

Boom... it gets in, says what it needs with simple, elegant language and basic imagery and sets up the rest of the song. It's not necessarily a novel concept but like Hank Williams' "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" it evokes the eternals with a primal elegance.

 

 

When I first started writing songs (as a disaffected college poet) a lot of my stuff was just chock-a-block with convoluted imagery, half-baked literary allusions, and references to just about anything pretentious or intellectually trendy... any shiny object idea that caught my attention.

 

It took me a number of years to learn how to write a simple song that talks to people instead of trying to impress them with supposedly facile wordplay and faux erudition.

 

 

 

BTW... As I continued listenng to Cash's Unearthed album I was captivated by a short spoken track, just "studio" chat between him and (presumably) Rick Rubin, titled "Book Review" where they talk about Lebanese writer Khalil Gibran... and, as down home as Johnny is, he reveals a sharp, inquisitive intellect and interest in things far beyond the hills of home... What a guy. Many thanks -- and top props -- to Rick Rubin for rediscovering a great artist who'd been all but forgotten by the Nashville establishment.

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It took me a number of years to learn how to write a simple song that talks to people instead of
trying
to impress them with supposedly facile wordplay and faux erudition.

 

 

 

Most musicians never seem to get this point.

 

Good job

 

Ryan

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...a lot of my stuff was just chock-a-block with convoluted imagery, half-baked literary allusions, and references to just about anything pretentious or intellectually trendy... any shiny object idea that caught my attention.


It took me a number of years to learn how to write a simple song that talks to people instead of
trying
to impress them with supposedly facile wordplay and faux erudition..

 

Wow.. that sounds like me now.. :freak:

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Wow.. that sounds like me now..
:freak:

 

Well... just enjoy yourself!

 

Or... maybe more on point, be yourself. And enjoy that.

 

 

And -- let's not forget -- at any given time, a jumble of half-baked thoughts and grand allusions (describing the old me here, not you ;)) might be a genuine expression of oneself...

 

You kind of have to be who you are at any given time. Just the same, it doesn't hurt to keep your eye a couple moves ahead.

 

_____________

 

BTW... I checked out ovda's music... I don't know if you wrote "Spin the Prism" but the flurry of words works pretty well, there, and a pretty engaging, edgy, sound.

 

Perhaps oddly, I'm not usually one to listen to words right off in rock... I sort of move into a song from the outside in... the feel, the sound... phrases that repeat or stick out... Eventually, I may look at the lyric sheet if there is one.

 

But that's kind of a rock thing because I recognize that some of my favorite rock songs are greatly diminished by reducing them to the printed page. I mean, the ultimate, of course, is Wild Thing. Or Summertime Blues.

 

And, really, perhaps those songs are, in a kind of inarticulate teenage rage kind of way, the fundamental equivalents of an elemental Hank Williams song.

 

Gonna raise a fuss, gonna raise a holler, about working all summer, just to try to earn a dollar.

 

I mean, is it doggerel rhyme or is it pure, classic elegance, a whole summer's worth of teen angst wrapped up in one quatrain? So, I've come back around, again. Anyhow, I really liked "Spin the Prism" and I'm gonna make sure I hear the rest of your tracks.

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Well... just
enjoy yourself!


Or...
maybe more on point,
be yourself.
And enjoy that.



And -- let's not forget -- at any given time, a jumble of half-baked thoughts and grand allusions (describing the old
me
here, not
you
;)
) might
be
a genuine expression of oneself...


You kind of have to be who you are at any given time. Just the same, it doesn't hurt to keep your eye a couple moves ahead.


_____________


BTW... I checked out ovda's music... I don't know if you wrote "Spin the Prism" but the flurry of words works pretty well, there, and a pretty engaging, edgy, sound.


Perhaps oddly, I'm not usually one to listen to words right off in rock... I sort of move into a song from the outside in... the feel, the sound... phrases that repeat or stick out... Eventually, I may look at the lyric sheet if there is one.


But that's kind of a rock thing because I recognize that some of my favorite rock songs are greatly diminished by reducing them to the printed page. I mean, the ultimate, of course, is Wild Thing. Or Summertime Blues.


And, really, perhaps those songs are, in a kind of inarticulate teenage rage kind of way, the fundamental equivalents of an elemental Hank Williams song.


Gonna raise a fuss, gonna raise a holler, about working all summer, just to try to earn a dollar.


I mean, is it doggerel rhyme or is it pure, classic elegance, a whole summer's worth of teen angst wrapped up in one quatrain? So, I've come back around, again. Anyhow, I really liked "Spin the Prism" and I'm gonna make sure I hear the rest of your tracks.

 

Its true. I've mostly always just listened to the "rock" more than the lyrics. Now I'm trying to hard.. as you pointed out.

 

Thanks for listening to our songs. Yes, I'm the songwriter (words/music) for our songs. We have aroun 15 total and are in the middle of making a demo ep to get gigs with.

 

Thanks again for checking it out AND for the comments in this thread.

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