konalavadome

Clean windows.

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Johnnyuk

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« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2018, 10:29:46 PM »
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« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 02:50:40 PM by Johnnyuk »

PaulyX

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« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2018, 08:17:27 AM »

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Obtuse lyrics are all over this planet and some are very well done and sell. I have no issue with that but those songs are from already famous artists.
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Hi Johnny, not sure about that, I think there are many examples where an artist's breakthrough song had heavily unclear lyrics.  How about...

Beck's "Loser" (... with the plastic eyeballs, spray paint the vegetables...)
Hanson's "Mmm Bop" (... mmmbop, badubadop...)
Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" (... tutti frutti, aw rutti, awop bop a lubop, a lop bam boom... )
They Might Be Giant's "Birdhouse in Your Soul" (... blue canary in the outlet by the light switch...)
Spice Girls' "Wannabe" (... I really really really wanna zig-a-zig-ah...)

Those artists got darn famous because of these songs, I don't think the unclear lyrics got in their way.
I do agree with you that not many have built a whole career out of gibberish lyrics only though, so as with so much in this glorious craft of songwriting, 'it depends'.
It's all too beautiful.

Johnnyuk

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« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2018, 08:37:45 AM »
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« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 02:51:06 PM by Johnnyuk »

tone

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« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2018, 10:53:13 AM »
Johnny. It's time to step down from your high horse and have a gentle reality check.

When i say that the listener should get it in one regarding your songs lyrical message that isn't an opinion. That is a fact.

I hate to burst your bubble, but that's not a fact. That's an (ill informed) opinion. If hold a stone in your hand and then let it go, it will drop to the floor. That is a fact. I feel like you're using words without understanding what they mean.

You right there have just stated that YOU have complete dissregard to your listeners.

I never said anything even resembling that. Slow down and read what I wrote again.

I pay very close attention to my lyrics, because it's of the upmost importance to me that they carry a particular feeling with them. I have absolute respect for my listeners, although I'm not writing the songs specifically for them. What I did say is how they choose to interpret my lyric is their business.

All the success of your songs is entirely based on what those listening think about your songs and you are giving two fingers up to those listeners. I would never do that.

First you have to define success. In my house, the success of a song is measured against how well it fits the idea I was going for. Of course, I prefer it when other people like the song, but it's not the only measure of success.

Also, how am I holding two fingers up to my listeners? You're very keen to put words into my mouth, and I don't appreciate that. You need to tidy up your attitude mate.

PS: here is my original post and nowhere in it does it say anyone has failed.
Ok, you implied it strongly then. Pretty much the same thing.

You can put smilies at the end of all your posts, you still come across as obnoxious.
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jacksimmons

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« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2018, 11:18:49 AM »
I suppose it depends what your ultimate aim is. If you want to write a modern pop song then unambiguous lyrics are quite key to the form. Likewise, if you're writing as story song where the ultimate aim it to convey a narrative you also want to be clear. That doesn't mean imagery and analogy and metaphor should be thrown to the wind, but they should take a back seat to the storytelling.

I have written songs where the lyrics are crystal clear, but I also enjoy adapting my poetry in to lyrics and writing lyrics that are full of imagery and ambiguity. Sometimes that adds to the mystery and suspense of a song. Sometimes I like to hear a song with beautiful imagery, even if I don't know what it means right away. It can be nice to analyse and pick apart lyrics just like you have to with good poetry.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 11:31:37 AM by jacksimmons »

Mike67

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« Reply #35 on: April 15, 2018, 11:29:01 AM »
In my musical universe, there's room for clear glass, frosted glass and stained glass. As long as the words, melody and arrangement work in harmony, people will connect with the song. For some artists, the words are really just an extension of the music and carry very little meaning: Duran Duran and a number of early Oasis songs (even Noel admitted this). Cocteau Twins actually had great lyrics, but Elizabeth Fraser's delivery meant you could never really work them out.  All of those bands, and many, many more like them, have enjoyed great commercial success, and as Tone says, there are many ways to measure success.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2018, 11:30:47 AM by TfZ »

Boydie

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« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2018, 01:31:27 PM »
Interesting discussion that I thought wouldn't end well when I read the first post!

I can see where @Johnnyuk has rubbed people up the wrong way by writing a number "preachy" posts that are almost trying to teach people how to write songs in "his" way

A number of these posts have promoted some interesting discussions

However, using words like "should" and "NEVER" about a subjective art such as songwriting are unlikely to go down well unless you have an audience of people looking for guidance or you are teaching a class

When you are an equal in a forum with lots of other talented songwriters then you need to be really careful trying to give advice when it hasn't been asked for - this is where it can come across you are "talking down" to members (and I really do think you should reflect on these paragraphs)

Interestingly, I happen to personally completely agree with everything @Johnnyuk has said about lyrics - this is my view about commercial writing AND writing any song you want someone to connect with

HOWEVER - and this is the point I think is being missed by @Johnnyuk at the moment - I also like paintings to look like what is being painted

If someone is painting a portrait I am then able to judge "how good" the portrait is based on how much it looks like the person - a portrait that looks like a photo would undeniably be "very good"

BUT - some people prefer abstract painting or other styles that might be less obvious - e.g. An impressionist painting

I would not tell Picasso his paintings are "sticking 2 fingers up at the people that view his paintings" because it does not look like a realistic representation of the person

As with painting (and any other art) there is a balance between the "art" and the "craft"

Any book on lyric craft will support much of what was said in the OP - however to say this is then "right" and apply it to everyone is missing the point of the "art" of songwriting

There is room for all view points so whilst it is great that everyone has their personal opinion please ensure it is presented as that - and not as "should" and "never"

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Jambrains

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« Reply #37 on: April 15, 2018, 06:23:11 PM »
You should NEVER have to explain what your song is all about before people review your song.
That job belongs to your songs lyrics!
If your lyrics are crystal clear then you have no reason to explain your song to ANYONE before we the listener click on it.
The listener should get it in one. If they don't then re write and re write it until they do.
Johnny :)

Hi,
I'm Johnny and I've just signed up for this forum tonight. :)
I've always valued feedback on my songs but i had a period in my life  a while back where i stopped writing music all together. Health issues stopped me from doing what i really love to do the most. Anyway two years later i was back to good health and began writing again. This is one of a few new songs i wrote which i am now hoping to get some feedback on.

The inspiration behind this song is from a good friend of mine who is very popular on a forum i use. ( not on here) :) His quick witt and charm got all the girls fawning after him online so i wrote about that and about how honest he is when he posts online on any subject. He always speaks the truth and he also drops truth tea when he see's lies. He's a great friend of mine and the lyrics came from my own chats with him and from reading how he conducts himself/interacts with others online. :)


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Skub

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« Reply #38 on: April 15, 2018, 08:20:25 PM »
Oh what a tangled web we weave.... :D
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jacksimmons

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« Reply #39 on: April 16, 2018, 04:35:57 PM »
Let the stars plummet to their dark address. That's a single line from a poem I love. Here is another: One black-haired tree slips like a drowned woman in to the hot sky. They can mean very little without context. It's up to us to interpret these lines, without the rest of the poem, anyway we see fit. I think the first quote makes little sense without the rest of the poem. But it is still beautiful, isn't it? A song with lyrics so gorgeous wouldn't anger me. I wouldn't want to turn it off and never listen again. Just like a poem I would want to revisit it again and again, to understand it, or just to hear the way the words roll off the tongue.

I wouldn't want a poem watered down so that, on first read, I know it already. Why do we want that from our lyrics? Is lyric writing a lesser art than poetry? I don't think so. I think there is as much a place for imagery, analogy and metaphor in lyrics as their is in poetry. If you want a story as clear as crystal, you should be reading a Wikipedia page.

Edgar Allen Poe, or maybe someone else, said his favourite phrase in the English language was 'cellar door', not because of what it means, but because of how it sounds. It's quite pretty. And sometimes that is enough.

Sterix

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« Reply #40 on: April 16, 2018, 07:40:48 PM »
I've missed a lot of the "discussion" in this thread the last few days. Been busy writing my own stuff, listening to others, and trying to keep Mrs K. happy (that last one may be damn-near impossible - I haven't found the magic formula and we've been together 25 years, 6 months, 6 days [pretty much to the minute - how sad is that I can still work that out?!] and married 20 later this year).

I've quickly glanced over the last few posts... and one thing I just want to say about "interpreting" other people's works. I took English Literature at school and one thing that annoyed me greatly was "interpreting" what an author was supposedly conveying when they wrote their classics (we studied A Taste of Honey, The Importance of Being Earnest, and (possibly the worst book ever written - though my judgement may be clouded by the fact I was 15/16 at the time and it bored me out of my mind) Lord of the Flies.

But I do remember one... poet I think it was... who REFUSED to allow the exam boards from setting exam questions on his work because he was of the opinion "how the hell can someone say for sure what he was thinking when he didn't have a clue himself - it's conceited!" - or words to that effect.

Which is why it should be up to the individual author (or songwriter in this case) to decide for themselves if they need to provide any explanation for their lyrics.
All those memories / Locked up in our minds / Only we can find / The key
To those memories / Can't ease away the pain / We are there again / You and me


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Johnnyuk

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« Reply #41 on: April 16, 2018, 08:14:05 PM »
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« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 02:51:46 PM by Johnnyuk »


Johnnyuk

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« Reply #43 on: April 16, 2018, 09:16:18 PM »
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« Last Edit: May 05, 2018, 02:51:56 PM by Johnnyuk »

Boydie

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« Reply #44 on: April 16, 2018, 09:39:48 PM »
@Johnnyuk , there are 2 lines in your last post that jump out to me:

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on obvious problems within their song demo

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you will continue to repeat the same bad habits and continue to do the same thing over and over again in the next song you write

People do not post songs for review to check whether they are "right" or conform to what someone thinks is the "right" way to write a song

You can gladly say that you personally feel a song should last a certain time and conform to certain "rules" but nobody on here has the authority to say a song has "problems" or writers have "bad habits"

This is a place to get a range of opinions and feedback - but it is up to the original poster to decide whether they take the feedback on board or completely ignore it

I will reiterate my painting example...

If someone paints a portrait that looks like the person they are painting (i.e. Follows the normal conventions) then most will think it is good - this is the same as someone writing a pop tune and sticking to a pop structure, including a clear & conversational lyric, having good production, lots of hooks etc. - i.e. It sounds like something you would hear on the radio

I think this would conform to your view of "good"

However, when someone gets creative and breaks the rules of painting to create an "interpretation" of a portrait - e.g. Big paint splodges, or impressionist, or surreal, or "modern art" then opinion is likely to be divided between - "oh my God, a 3 year old could paint a better picture" and "oh my God, that is genius and worth a million pounds"

Tracey Emin's "My Bed" springs to mind

My point is people post songs for FEEDBACK, which is totally different from having their songs "judged"

If you want songs "judged" then enter contests or pitch them - the community here is about honest feedback, which can only be given as OPINION - not as "shoulds", "nevers", "problems" or "bad habits"

I am really not trying to "get at" you here as you have made some wonderful contributions to my forum, but I think it is really important for you to understand the difference between giving feedback and a critique based on your opinion and telling people what is "right or wrong" with their song
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 09:44:54 PM by Boydie »
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