300//\\365//\\300 (#13)

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

“You can’t make a record if you don’t got nothing to say
You can’t play music if you don’t know nothing to play”
Willie Nelson, Shotgun Willie

As so often happens with good advice, it usually goes unheeded.

I love music. I’ve made it my life.

I love a good melody, complementary production, and challenging arrangements, but most of all I love lyrics.

I love to challenge myself within the rules of popular song– to be inspired and then guide that inspirational moment through the labyrinth of songwriting.

A piece of prose is held to no rules, other than that of the language in which it is written, but even then the author can take a fair number of liberties. In song a writer has to see his or her idea through the ringers of rhyme, brevity, a repeating chorus, melody, accompaniment, and the ever-present considerations of time (if you’re writing for radio that song better not be longer than 4 minutes or you’re out of luck). It’s hard, but then again it’s supposed to be hard. That difficulty is the thing that delivers the thrill you feel after writing a song. It’s the thing that keeps me coming back for more.

It’s not about mastering a few of those steps and foregoing the rest– it’s about mastering them all, and then cajoling them into working together.

First and foremost, though, the song begins with the idea.

With the need to share something.

With the need to say something.

As a fan of music I tend to skew pretty far to the side of thoughtful lyrics– in regards to both the thought put into their presentation as well as the thoughts that are ignited in the listener through their performance. I don’t expect that everyone is like that, nor do I expect every song should be like that. Diversity is what helps us to appreciate the unique characteristics that make up the overall spectrum of whatever it is that we’re enjoying. But I do expect a song to say something.

A lot of popular music seems to be telling me I’m wrong on this account. I don’t mind being wrong– it happens quite often.

But damnit, this is Texas. Who does this kind of music think it is telling Willie he’s wrong?

time: 2:28 pm
date: Tuesday, May 6th
place: home, New Braunfels, TX
words: 381

300//\\365//\\300 is a writing exercise– 300 entries over 365 days, each no longer than 300 words (I’m not so hot at sticking to the last part).


Leave a comment or contact me via Twitter @dk_music

  1. Selena says:

    My favorite element of a song is the lyrics. I often fall in love with a song by lyrics alone (rarely by melody alone). I’ve found that many people in my life aren’t as concerned with the message of the song. This has always bothered me. I’ve always thought of it as a slap in the face to the songwriter who worked hard to open themselves up or convey a story. Anyway, I’ve always loved what Grandma Ivy said in Pure Country, “Without the words there’s no song”.

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