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AnOasis 10-12-2011 11:10 PM

Songwriting
 
Good day, fellow musicians.

Here I am at 29 years of age, been drumming for 14 of those -- and I am starting to venture out. AKA, playing guitar, recording, writing music etc. I'm OK at writing music, for sure (actually I think the music is discovered instead of created).

But, lyrics. They escape me for some reason. I know with practice it will become easier and what not.

Do any of you write lyrics? What inspires you? In the music you listen to, what is it about the lyrics that excite you?

Foxxy66 10-13-2011 04:26 AM

Re: Songwriting
 
I'm in the same position as you, albeit younger. Been playing drums for a good couple of years, still am, but in my spare time I'm messing about on guitar and singing etc.

http://soundcloud.com/andyrobison

As for lyrics, it's definitely something that improves over time. Influences come from anywhere really. To me, vague lyrics are kinda fun. Trying to write something that speaks on different levels gives the song a new layer I think. I also love thinking and writing lyrics that have certain concepts to them. Stories and things like that are awesome to write about.

Arky 10-13-2011 04:35 AM

Re: Songwriting
 
Just a thought: There's a likelihood that not all of us are great in every endeavour we make. Personally lyrics are quite some problem. That is, I had this situation years ago when I created my first lyrics (heavy metal genre). I wasn't really satisfied with those lyrics and haven't written any more lyrics since then. I'm fortunate to co-operate in recording projects where the lyrics are contributed by other, more talented people in this regard. I'm gladly accepting this fact and can concentrate on where I'm good at (I think so).

Also, some things take years to master or even really get into. I guess we can all experience strong emotions, good or bad - that's a perfect basis making you write lyrics/ songs, but for me it's easier to come up with music than with lyrics. One of my music partners has the exact opposite situation: He's great at lyrics (genre: romantic doom/gothic; will edit maybe 5% of them) but relies on me to come up with everything else: el. & ac. guitars, bass, drum arrangement, and, depending on the song, some classical instruments. It works for us. On another project I'm just the homestudio engineer helping out. The only way I'm contributing to the songwriting on that project is creating all the solos (quite a bit of work - metal context with longer solo spots, harmonies etc).

Personally when listening to (other) music I'm not paying too much attention on the lyrics but I'm glad that the guys I'm working with provide good lyrics.

Just let me tell you what effect good lyrics can have: Most of the gothic songs (the first project described above) were created by starting from the lyrics. My partner provided the lyrics, and often that was all the info I received. I would come up with the rest of the music and he was floored ;-) Sometimes he told me he imagined this or that part to be heavier, more acoustic or whatever, those were the only guidelines I had on some of the songs. That was the first time when I started creating music from scratch, having just the lyrics before my eyes. I learned to appreciate this method, it gives me total freedom. On the other project (=solo guitarist) it's the opposite, I'm contributing a small part to almost complete songs.

You might start to co-operate with different people having different 'musical needs', coming from various genres. You say you're playing the guitar. Remember there's the classical, acoustic, electric and bass guitar. And each of them has a wide range of styles/ways of expression. I'd try to learn a bit of all of them (in fact, I did) so if and when you're coming up with lyrics and you have some skills on e.g. 'the guitar' you might instantly feel this or that part needs to have a classical guitar section or a wild rock solo.

If you're into creating songwriter style music with just vocals & the acoustic guitar I'd recommend listening to some tunes of Andy McKee - he doesn't sing but he's playing jaw-dropping percussive acoustic guitar. I think those percussion elements he uses can really spice up your guitar playing in a songwriter context, to my ears this style translates more emotions. It was Andy's music which made me seriously get into the ac. guitar almost 3 years ago and this largely widened my perspective on playing the guitar.

Don't forget there's other instruments out there.

unfunkyfooted 10-13-2011 04:39 AM

Re: Songwriting
 
i prefer lyrics that take a complex subject (like life love, the pursuit of happiness - all that good stuff found on planet earth) and crystalise it in a nutshell.

as opposed to lyrics that take the banal and try to make it sound arty by obscuring what the heck they are talking about. it such a drag to find out...pfffffffffft, they ain't talking about nothing. and it seemed like such a mystery that something deep MUST be going there. not.

Mick Jagger (a much better lyricist than he is given credit for) takes notes on the subject that he wants to write about and then distills it. i tried it. i can't do it.

my lyrics come from pure inspiration. a good line or two to build around, and then it has to be finished off. with harmony and feeling.

unfunkyfooted 10-13-2011 05:48 AM

Re: Songwriting
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AnOasis (Post 901002)
Good day, fellow musicians.

Here I am at 29 years of age, been drumming for 14 of those -- and I am starting to venture out. AKA, playing guitar, recording, writing music etc. I'm OK at writing music, for sure (actually I think the music is discovered instead of created).

But, lyrics. They escape me for some reason. I know with practice it will become easier and what not.

Do any of you write lyrics? What inspires you? In the music you listen to, what is it about the lyrics that excite you?

having re-read your your original post, i would say a love of lyrics is the place to start. if you like a good lyric, you will have your favorite writers and you will know what you like about them. you will try to express things in a way that is just as effective.

Pollyanna 10-13-2011 06:09 AM

Re: Songwriting
 
Some examples of the lyrical creative process ...

One lyric I wrote was a little fantasy about a corrupt politician goin' down (of course, in real life they almost always get away with it thanks to help from powerful friends): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCR1ZDpGmjk

Another captured my feelings about the rat race: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5bhNdtzp9A

This one was about the power relationship between record companies and artists: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkJey6pyb54

I wrote this lyrical at age 19, based on a cartoon by Australian cartoonist, Michael Leunig ... four lines were added by our at the time guitarist. It's a bit twisted: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vl63Cx3NHTA

Then there's a cute lyric written to a bassist's riff. I asked him what he wanted the lyric to be about and he said he imagined it being about the life of a tom cat living in the streets: http://www.sangrea.net/rijidij/mp3/A...e%20fiasco.mp3

Lots of things in life can trigger ideas. The key is either to find something you feel strongly about ... or to put yourself in someone else's shoes and tell their story.

The hardest part of writing lyrics as a drummer is finding something your singer can relate to and can sing with conviction. My approach is usually too quirky and nerdy for singers I've played with :(

AnOasis 10-13-2011 06:43 AM

Re: Songwriting
 
Great stuff. Keep 'em comin' ...

Deltadrummer 10-13-2011 06:12 PM

Re: Songwriting
 
Where songs come from.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?src_vid...273&feature=iv

AnOasis 10-13-2011 08:55 PM

Re: Songwriting
 
Nice! Lot of truth there.

sticks4drums 10-13-2011 09:39 PM

Re: Songwriting
 
I love to write songs. Most come from life experiences. They seem easier. Closer to the Heart, as RUSH would say. :)
I sent one to Pollyanna to give me her sensitive opinion and she shot me down. :( Oh well.

unfunkyfooted 10-28-2011 05:35 AM

Re: Songwriting
 
also consider a collaborator. not everyone was meant to write lyrics. songwriting teams are legendary. find someone who digs your grooves and who you feel does your music justice and let them have at it.

Pollyanna 10-28-2011 06:08 AM

Re: Songwriting
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by sticks4drums (Post 901416)
I sent one to Pollyanna to give me her sensitive opinion and she shot me down. :( Oh well.

One of the joys of being ADHD is that there can be incidents you barely gave a thought to, only to find out later that you've left bruised feelings in your wake. You're on the end of a loooong queue, Sticks. Sorry old boy! If something isn't to my taste I just say it.

Only last night our bassist went into a major sulk about an offhand comment I made. I don't geddit. Maybe I'm a sociopath? lol

There's no doubt a song in there as well ... we could call it something original like She's as Cold as Ice :)

Totally agree with Unfunky about finding a collaborator. Hard to find a creatively compatible one but there have been some great songwriting teams ... Lennon/McCartney, Fagan/Becker, Plant/Page ...

unfunkyfooted 10-28-2011 12:31 PM

Re: Songwriting
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Pollyanna (Post 906452)
Hard to find a creatively compatible one but there have been some great songwriting teams ... Lennon/McCartney, Fagan/Becker, Plant/Page ...

E. John / B. Taupin, Leiber / Stoller, Jerry Goffin / Carole King....i hesitated to mention those because it doesn't seem to be his genre.

Death Gum 10-28-2011 06:58 PM

Re: Songwriting
 
Personally I find lyrics easy to write, they are better IF I DO NOT think about it to much.

Just think about a past experience of a dream or wish or even the most boring thing in the world and try make interesting and exciting in a song format.


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