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Lately, seems I've been on a roll. For me. Writing has been as productive as ever. Yesterday, I wrote another song. A song that has blown me away. Like, WOW! That came from ME. WOW! This is GOOD.

 

Today, I could hardly stand it. I wanted to SHOW somebody. I purposely went out, knowing I'd bump into people. (I've NEVER felt this way.)

 

I showed it (the lyric) to three girls I knew at a table together. First, thought it was kinda funny. Second, just a casual "That's good." Third, no comment whatsoever.

 

Okay, so this is my masterpiece. I am floored the first girl said it was "funny." It is ANYthing but funny. It is the ultimate horror one can endure in life... the loss of your family. Where the hell did she get it was funny?

 

I knew this song is "controversial." I knew it deals with a subject that is hardly ever dealt with in songwriting. But I sure expected a different reaction.

 

A. These people are not lyrically oriented.

B. Bad setting.

C. My song sucks.

 

Any comments?

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Duke, Don't put your push to be creative into others hands. Create to please yourself. Put it into what ever media you want & then be satisfied that it's out there. The people will then pick & choose what they like to listen to.

 

Just because you think a song is great doesn't mean it is. I wrote some, to me, really great poetry many years ago. Others don't think the same. It's all in the perspective.

That doesn't mean to say that at some time or other the status won't change. It just says that in the here & now it isn't great.

Now, take that song/poem to some different people on a different night, at a different place & things may be different. It's so subjective.

 

Write, if you can, take if from there & fly with it.

 

Our Joint

 

"When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it." The Duke...

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Even the best song lyrics don't mean much without the music. Backlit by the glaring light of a blank sheet, they tend to look a little... well.... "eh." A song is a song, and they didn't hear the song. So maybe it really is great and they just haven't really heard it.

 

But it probably just sucks. :D

Jim Bordner

Gravity Music

"Tunes so heavy, there

oughta be a law."

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And, on the other hand, I wrote some poetry that I thought blew chunks, but my wife thought was splendid!

 

Make what you will out of that. But, I hardly think three opinions sum up your song's quality all that much.

 

Whitefang

I started out with NOTHING...and I still have most of it left!
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I disagree with verydark, that there has to be a resolution or a solution to any issue put forth by lyrics. Life doesn't always wrap issues up in neat little packages with solution attached. Life doesn't always make you feel better. Why should music or any art do that...just to give the consumer an escape. I think not. People have enough venues for escape, IMO.

 

It's up to the performer to make people digest something that makes them uncomfortable and leave them liking it (perhaps, even thinking about it). That's far more difficult (and admirable) than feeding people the stuff that they're willing to ingest simply because it gives them a false sense of security for 4 minutes.

 

Anyway, I'd be interested to read your lyrics if you care to share them with the boards. I consider myself lyrically minded. I'd give you honest feedback from a fellow songwriters perspective.

Jeffrey Altergott

"Look at you, you like to fly...so dangerously high."

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Originally posted by Icarus Grounded:

I disagree with verydark, that there has to be a resolution or a solution to any issue put forth by lyrics. Life doesn't always wrap issues up in neat little packages with solution attached. Life doesn't always make you feel better. Why should music or any art do that...just to give the consumer an escape. I think not. People have enough venues for escape, IMO.

 

It's up to the performer to make people digest something that makes them uncomfortable and leave them liking it (perhaps, even thinking about it). That's far more difficult (and admirable) than feeding people the stuff that they're willing to ingest simply because it gives them a false sense of security for 4 minutes.

 

Anyway, I'd be interested to read your lyrics if you care to share them with the boards. I consider myself lyrically minded. I'd give you honest feedback from a fellow songwriters perspective.

I guess i agree with your disagreement.

Of course there are many variations and many variables as to what will work with what.

ALWAYS.. no, you are correct. But my point really was that a writer will not succeed by simply dumping their problems into lyrics. that may be good therapy for the writer but it is boring and unattractive to the listener unless it is coupled with some solution or as you stated, a path or subtle direction of interest that leads from it.

:)

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Originally posted by Icarus Grounded:

...I'd be interested to read your lyrics if you care to share them with the boards. I consider myself lyrically minded. I'd give you honest feedback from a fellow songwriters perspective.

If you or anyone wants to, fire away.

 

This song is done with the driving, strumming acoustic guitar as the focal point. Kind of a driving, angry tone to the song. I really like the music, myself. If I knew how to do a demo, you could hear it. I have my hands full and STILL have not conquered putting stuff online.

 

This song ovbiously deals with a very unusual theme. I have other versions; haven't totally settled.

 

I'm still editing and polishing but it's close to done. Yeah, sure.

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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Duke, for some reason I can't get to your link through my companies firewall software. I'll check it out as soon as I can.

 

Verydark, I do agree with your agreeing to my disagreement :D . Personally, I do work out alot of things in my lyrics. But after I brain dump to a blank page, I always go back and say to myself..."Ok, what thoughts on this page will reverberate for others." I pick those kernels of goodness and build the real lyrics around them. If I feel a sense of hope on the subject, which I often do, I'll find a way to work it in either lyrically or musically. An example of such a song of mine can be found here. I'd love your opinion on if succeeded.

Jeffrey Altergott

"Look at you, you like to fly...so dangerously high."

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Duke,

 

I like the concept of the song but I think it's just a bit awkward in places. For one thing I think you could relay the idea in less verses to more effect. One thing that often makes a good song is not to reveal all the details. It seems like you restate the same thing in different ways, several times.

 

I'd also try to make it a bit simpler in general. Good pop songs are conversational. I don't really believe that a guy in prison who killed his family driving drunk would really tell the story by saying something like "Each day, I must suffer this pain from perdition,

I'm witness to my own mental decomposition." Know what I mean? Try to picture what this guy would really say if you were speaking with him.

 

Between the melodramatic repetition of the idea and the awkwardness of some of the lines, that's probably why that girl mistook it for something funny. It comes off a bit like a teen horror movie the way it's written. I know that's not how you intend it so just trying to give you some honest idea why it comes off that way.

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

Duke,

 

I like the concept of the song but I think it's just a bit awkward in places. For one thing I think you could relay the idea in less verses to more effect. One thing that often makes a good song is not to reveal all the details. It seems like you restate the same thing in different ways, several times.

 

First of all, thanks for taking the time.

 

Now, about what you said above... I'm not sure I agree with you but I am going to continue to ponder what you said. You may be right. I _do_ agree that sometimes not revealing stuff if effective. Perhaps I'm not a good enough writer yet.

 

I'd also try to make it a bit simpler in general. Good pop songs are conversational. I don't really believe that a guy in prison who killed his family driving drunk would really tell the story by saying something like "Each day, I must suffer this pain from perdition,

I'm witness to my own mental decomposition." Know what I mean? Try to picture what this guy would really say if you were speaking with him.

 

He's not in prison. It's all in his mind and it's driving him insane. He dreams this every night. Living hell. His sentence was 50 years of a recurring nightmare.

 

Between the melodramatic repetition of the idea and the awkwardness of some of the lines, that's probably why that girl mistook it for something funny. It comes off a bit like a teen horror movie the way it's written.

 

The girl saw a version quite different from this, although it was basically the same idea. She did NOT, however, see an intro because I had not written it yet. I added the intro because I felt it needed something more to set up what happened.

 

I know this is "out there." Since I wrote the first version four days ago, I have had several "a-ha" moments... ways to clear up something or make it better. Hopefully, I will have more.

 

Anyway, the point of this... it's a nightmare. We know that a real judge wouldn't sentence a guy to mutilate himself by tattooing himself with scars. It's in his mind. That's why I said in the very last verse:

 

When I wake from my dream; back to widowerhood.

I didn't mean to do it; I'll try, how I'll try to make good.

 

See, he's not in prison. He's in living hell, dealing with his guilt. And the element of "hope," if there is any, is that he really wants to try to do SOMETHING good with his life. "I'll try, how I'll try to make good."

 

This is probably one of those that is almost impossible to get "right" the first week. I _really_ like this idea. Hopefully, over the coming days and weeks, I'll whittle it to a good song. As it stands, I _love_ the angry nature of it. My guitar strums and my singing are such that it's an angry, guilt-ridden emotion to it. I like it. I mean, a lot. Time will tell if anyone else does.

 

I also wouldn't call it pop, even though that doesn't matter. I don't know what I'd call it but pop isn't what comes to mind. Maybe it is. It isn't country. It isn't rock. It's angry folky, I guess. Is that pop? Not that it matters.

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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Uh... see, it's a nightmare. He DREADS it every night. The vampire is the "warden." In his dream, he must cut himself to feed the vampire and also to scar himself to let the world know what he did. People laugh at him to add to his misery. Included in his tattooing (by scarring) is his wife's name on the arrow that he's drawn piercing his heart. HIS name is on the arrow that pierces the heart drawn on his arm. Like a sailor's tattoo. But the one sticking HIS heart, he's attached HER name to ride that arrow. She's dead. He feels her sould HATES him for what he did. He's riddled with guilt.

 

Yikes, what a sentence.

 

By the way, when I originally thought that his "sentence" might be real or it might even be "made up" in his mind. He has sentenced HIMSELF to 50 years of this nightmare. One way to view it is he's deranged.

 

Maybe I'm deranged.

 

P.S. I might could edit this so that in the last verse, it's revealed that he really DID serve prison time. But then, he got out and was forever haunted with the recurring nightmare.

 

My sentence was 20, time slowly crawled by

Now, how I wish the vampire would die

Back to the real world, my widowerhood

I didn't mean to do it; I'll try, how I'll try to make good.

 

Something like that.

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Duke,

 

Just to clarify, when I say "pop song" I mean it in the sense of "popular music" - rock, folk, country, blues. Not necessarily the "pop" genre.

 

I actually kind of like the ambiguity of not knowing whether the guy is really in prison or it's in his mind. Might want to play with that concept a little.

 

In any case, I do like the idea, but I would look to express it in a simpler way. More concept, less detail. To me it's OK that the idea is "out there", I just think the expression of it is a bit awkward. That's just my take on it.

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

...I actually kind of like the ambiguity of not knowing whether the guy is really in prison or it's in his mind. Might want to play with that concept a little.

 

In any case, I do like the idea, but I would look to express it in a simpler way. More concept, less detail. To me it's OK that the idea is "out there", I just think the expression of it is a bit awkward. That's just my take on it.

Check it out again, if you have time, to see the new version (on top, other is below). I made a few changes, including saying he "snuck a few nips like I SOMETIMES did" instead of the former way, "like I ALWAYS did." Because I think it carries more weight that he really wasn't some alchoholic sot, he was just a guy who screwed up this time enough to kill his whole family. (Cause for concern for many of us.)

 

I'll keep working on what you said. I dunno... I dunno. Thanks again.

 

The link is here .

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Duke,

 

I was able to get to your lyrics.

 

Your lyrics deal with the subject matter very directly. It's a very disturbing tale and reading it made me feel uncomfortable, to be honest. This may be because I write more metaphorically myself.

 

This might be why you got the reactions you did from your 3 friends. The one may have thought it was "funny" because it's so direct in a way that might be perceived as over the top.

 

I like the whole concept of "The Tattooed Poet" . It actually made me think of a movie called "Momento". If you haven't seen it, you may want to rent it. Not only is it a pretty cool movie, it has the concept of tattoos revealing a mystery/story.

Jeffrey Altergott

"Look at you, you like to fly...so dangerously high."

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Originally posted by Icarus Grounded:

...Your lyrics deal with the subject matter very directly. It's a very disturbing tale and reading it made me feel uncomfortable, to be honest. This may be because I write more metaphorically myself.

 

This might be why you got the reactions you did from your 3 friends. The one may have thought it was "funny" because it's so direct in a way that might be perceived as over the top.

 

I like the whole concept of "The Tattooed Poet" . It actually made me think of a movie called "Momento". If you haven't seen it, you may want to rent it. Not only is it a pretty cool movie, it has the concept of tattoos revealing a mystery/story.

Thanks for your time.

 

I knew this song would be hard hitting. Do you think it's possible for SOME people to like this bizarreness? Remember, this is his DREAM. He is recounting his DREAM. Dreams are bizarre and some people (like me) dream in very much detail.

 

AND... this came from my brain. What is living hell to you? I have said before...

 

I don't have a wife and I don't have children. And it drives me nuts. I _hate_ being single. I _hate_ being fatherless. And to me, the ultimate hell... I've said this before... would be to have a wife and children... you love them dearly. And somehow (it doesn't have to be a car wreck) you do something negligent and they get killed. Oh, how on earth could you live with that? That would be a bitch. I'm sure it's happened many times. The guy would feel like "Why did I have to live? Why couldn't I have died and they lived"

 

Anyway, the reason this song got to me after I first wrote it (and it was not quite the same theme -- drinking and driving) is because it (the tattooed poet) IS over the top. The first version had to do with my wife cheating on me and it drove me insane. The second version was me cheating on her and I lost her and that drove me insane. And then came this one... the TRUE ultimate hell where I negligently kill my family. Yep, three versions. All centered around a guy who marks up his body in shame or remorse.

 

Anyway, even after version 1, I thought "Whoa...! Hmmm... THIS is heavy duty stuff here."

 

This version is dealing with something that is HORRIBLE. _BUT_, something that society frowns upon. (Driving/Drinking.)

 

I dunno. If it turns out everybody hates it... I dunno.

 

As far as Lee's comments about brevity or succinctness or whatever... yes, I hear you. Thank goodness, I do have some songs that are less wordy. However, there ARE songs that are anything but brief. Dylan, Chapin, Lightfoot, etc. I don't really know what to think about "brevity." Because I have read in books about keeping it short. It's confusing to me. A song like this, who is to say that shorter is better? How do you know? Would "Taxi" be better if it were shorter? By golly, now THAT is an epic. "American Pie?"

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Well, first of all Duke I think it's important that in your mind you keep the idea separate from its execution. I don't think it's the subject matter that's so "bizarre" that people can't deal with it. If people dislike it or don't get it, consider that it's probably the execution that they don't like. After all there are guys out there like Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails writing about stuff that's easily more bizarre than yours. ;)

 

I think you misread what I meant about simplicity, too. I'm not simply talking about "brevity." There are definitely some songs that are very "wordy" and still work (although stuff like "American Pie" is the exception rather than the rule for hit records, and frankly that song bores me to tears anyway, but...). The question is: are all those words actually saying something? The sense I got from reading your lyrics was that what you took all those words to say, could be said in fewer words and have better effect. The "extra words" don't really add anything to serve the idea, in fact they kind of detract from it by making it less believable.

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Okay, good. Yeah, you're right. It's something I do know and I have to watch that... each new verse must add to the story... or be necessary. So, I've now whacked out the first verse right after the modulation. (It's posted on that webpage.) That verse really wasn't necessary and actually might have been distracting. As of now (after the edit), it clocks in around 5:00. I could shorten some of the breaks and get it down a little.

 

I _really_ like this song. I wish you could hear it. I'm gonna work this until I get it. I think it's got merit. I swear, I do. I actually like the MUSIC as much as anything. I actually stole this chord progression from another song I was considering using it on. Which is also a melancholy song. Both are befitting but I think it's even better for this one.

> > > [ Live! ] < < <

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Originally posted by Icarus Grounded:

Duke, for some reason I can't get to your link through my companies firewall software. I'll check it out as soon as I can.

 

Verydark, I do agree with your agreeing to my disagreement :D . Personally, I do work out alot of things in my lyrics. But after I brain dump to a blank page, I always go back and say to myself..."Ok, what thoughts on this page will reverberate for others." I pick those kernels of goodness and build the real lyrics around them. If I feel a sense of hope on the subject, which I often do, I'll find a way to work it in either lyrically or musically. An example of such a song of mine can be found here. I'd love your opinion on if succeeded.

I thought Icarus Grounded was excellent.

Nicely done. :)

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Thanks Verydark!

 

Duke, it seems like you're still wrestling with the lyrics a bit. When I have a song that just isn't sitting right, I usually walk away from it for a week or two and then return to it with a fresh perspective. When I get to close to a song, it's sometimes difficult to identify where to put the polish.

Jeffrey Altergott

"Look at you, you like to fly...so dangerously high."

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Word of advice

 

Never let NON-MUSICIAN, musical people hear anything until it's COMPLETELY DONE.

 

They dont hear as we hear, example:

 

Your song, they see a picture, we see a MOVIE

Your song, they see a flower, we see a FOREST

Your song, they see a car, we see a AZZURE

Your song, they read words, we read a SCORE

Your song, they hear it, we FEEL IT

 

so until it's completely done, is when they can make a definate decision as to understanding and liking what you actually meant to say

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  • 3 weeks later...

T H "right on!" :thu:

People are used to being exposed to "finished

product" not the work in progress...Like most

folks can'tget a clue of what a house will look

like from the blueprint :D

 

I do not normally visit this forum but I see a lot

of quality advice in this thread I will be back.

if it ain't broke don't fix it...

unless you need the overtime.

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In the end you have to do the music for you. If you need external validation for your work you will always be disapointed.

 

That being said, as a previous poster said, never let anyone hear your work till it's done. Then if you are really doing your music for you, you won't care about what others say. If they like it that's great. If they don't, thats ok also.

Jotown:)

 

"It's all good: Except when it's Great"

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Originally posted by T.H.:

Word of advice

 

Never let NON-MUSICIAN, musical people hear anything until it's COMPLETELY DONE.

 

They dont hear as we hear, example:

 

Your song, they see a picture, we see a MOVIE

Your song, they see a flower, we see a FOREST

Your song, they see a car, we see a AZZURE

Your song, they read words, we read a SCORE

Your song, they hear it, we FEEL IT

 

so until it's completely done, is when they can make a definate decision as to understanding and liking what you actually meant to say

Oh, definitely. We were recording some stuff...and put a really shaky scratch vocal track on it. We all went home with demos, with explicit instructions that NO ONE was to play anything for anyone, even their family. Welll, that went down the shitters. I talked to a friend of another band member, who said "Yeah, I heard some of the stuff you all are doing." To which I replied "No you didn't". Then I said that well, there were no vocals on it. And they said "Oh yeah there were" with this look that the vocals could use some work. And I was ready to pound their ass into the ground, and explained that those were scratch vocals, not trying, and often times literally fucking about...and William Shatner with laryngitis on helium would have sounded better...but, they were NOT to listen to scratch vocals and then call them bad vocals. Scratch vocals are not bad vocals, they are NO vocals. They can't be bad, because you're not supposed to hear them, you fucking moron...etc, etc. At any rate...some of the other band members got a literal ass chewing over it.
"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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They protect the Mona Lisa with well trained guards but there's nothing quite so fragile as a freshly created work of art. I have a hard time evaluating the work of others, especially when the author is standing there hoping for approval. Your friends may have been at a loss for good critical judgement. On the other hand, don't let others play troll at the bridge and crush your inspiration with negative or cynical comments.

 

The older I get , the longer it takes me to finish stuff, but even when I was young, I was always revising and rewriting. Your idea is on target - hang on to it and try to create a picture that will convey the meaning.

 

Sometimes, as Lee said, impact comes from the details you blur or leave out. Even if you know, you might not want to describe in detail what Billy Jo McCalister tossed off the Tallahatchie Bridge. Draw the details around the subject, then let the listener fill in the spaces.

 

A good resource for editing is Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style" to revise and streamline all kinds of literary work.

 

Like you, I still am pretty clumsy when I do the internet, but I'm determined to get the home-page-with-music-clips thing started this winter. Maybe even tomorrow.

 

Keep on keepin' on, Duke.

 

Henry

He not busy being born

Is busy dyin'.

 

...Bob Dylan

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