Have you ever heard a song on the radio and wish you were the person to write those amazing lyrics? That one line, or the chorus, that gets your attention…the earworm that will not get out of your head makes you wish you were the person who put it to music.
“And I don’t want the world to see me, cause I don’t think that they’d understand…” one line of the song Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls that resonates with me-
Or, most recently this:
“Oh no, no, it’s a dangerous thing pouring alcohol on an old flame”- Hide the Wine by Carly Pearce — a story of how her ex is back in town and she needs to hide the wine so they won’t accidentally end up in bed together. -Brilliant!
I find these lines are GENIUS. Vocabulary and meaning behind music has always been an addiction of mine. There are literally millions of songs and lyrics that have been written and released and it always humbles me, making me wish I had paid more attention to music class in school.
The thing about great songs, is that not only do people get to experience them on radio, ipods, concerts or even CD’s and records, but they make people feel.They cause people to remember the words, and they make emotions come out of us. They make us physically move our bodies in response to hearing them.
I listen to practically every genre, as I believe that they all have room in my life. Some days I listen to 80’s pop or rock, some days current country stations and other days, some good old rap like Eminem or even Nelly. Driving music is different from “sitting around the house” music. Workout music is the opposite of relaxation music. Country music takes my mind away so I can listen to the story behind it, while dance music makes my brain focus on the voices and the vibe. Genres are like clothing for me-depending on the day, and my mood, is how I choose the tunes I listen to.
Reading and listening to music are similar, in that there is a purpose behind their creativity. Some days it’s entertaining to listen or read the words of a song, just to figure out its intention; much like a good story. But some days, you breeze through and just accept it for what it is. There aren’t many songs that annoy me enough to turn them off. Much like, I will literally read ANYTHING, or at least give it a chance. Words of music, books, articles, and pretty much anything, are worth reading, no matter what the intent or content.
Why I am so envious of talented song writers, is that they have longevity and resiliency. They have something that story or creative writers don’t have. They have an ability to reach out to listeners and grab their attention with their words and the sounds behind them. It’s basically like reading a story, but BETTER. Plus, once a great song is released and successful, it is around forever.
Great authors and books have longevity as well, but ONLY if they were Best Sellers or Classics when they were first published or if they are filled with knowledge to share with the reader, that cannot become obsolete. Music becomes reinvented in remixes, on oldie’s stations and classic rock stations. We cannot escape the sounds of old classics, even if we try. Even movies use music to add to their soundtracks to enhance the point of the scenes.
Think about the last wedding you attended. Perhaps the hired DJ played “Old Time Rock and Roll” by Bob Seger. Or maybe you heard “The Dance” by Garth Brooks or even “White Wedding” by Billy Idol. These are all very common wedding dance songs, for whatever reason. If you sat and pondered how many times each of these songs has been played in their lifetime, it is immeasurable. Almost everyone between the US and Canada and many other countries have not only HEARD these songs, but they can sing along with them. Could you imagine, as a writer, being able to complete a novel or story that other’s could recite word by word? What an incredible feat that would be! Other than the Bible and some of Shakespeare’s works, I cannot remember words to written pieces. But, I can recite lyrics to hundreds of songs, over 4 decades, no problem.
I often wonder, too, if song writers know what kind of impact they put on our world. Even ridiculous music like “Sexy and I Know It” by a strange mix of band members called LMFAO is catchy, repetitive and brilliantly written : “I got passion in my pants and I ain’t afraid to show it”. Seriously? Who came up with this? Overnight, the song became a huge success, based on its hilarious video, the funky sound and the ludicrous lyrics. BUT IT STUCK. “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mixalot? Same thing…ridiculously catchy and an overnight sensation that is easy to remember and fun to sing along with.
We, as writers don’t get this kind of success. We can write a brilliant piece, or even a book, but they are never “memorized” or sang along to. They aren’t turned into Karaoke songs that we can sing at home or in pubs. They aren’t danced to, cried to, or replayed over and over again. The words aren’t put on T-shirts like some lyrics are. Our words can’t win Grammy Awards or Junos. And our writing, even though in many cases, is brilliant, our books are not requested at parties or played during workouts or in clubs filled with hundreds of people. Good song writers can reach out and win over various countries at a time! Book writers take time to publish and then need to find creative ways to promote it. Our books aren’t “dropped” by major radio stations simultaneously to gain fans.
Songs are compact stories with music, that evoke human emotions. It is universal source of language and entertainment for every age group from birth to senior citizens. The sounds and stories make us move, physically, emotionally, or both. And they go from start to finish in around 5 minutes. Of course, there is a lot of editing and work that goes into creating music, but the end result literally affects the human soul over the course of five minutes or less.
Think about environments like restaurants, pubs, or even grocery stores. If these is no music playing in the background, we notice immediately that something is missing. If there is music playing, we hear it, even if it is subliminally, and it changes our mood. Could you imagine if our books and articles had that kind of power on the human mind? Sometimes the words get stuck in our inner brain and we find ourselves humming or mumbling the words to ourselves. There are times when I can’t even tell you where I heard the song playing or if it just popped into my head because of something I saw. Books and articles don’t have the same impact on the human psyche.
“As society changes, as politics change, as people change, certain songs still seem to resonate” ~ Beck
Aretha Franklin’s”Natural Woman”, to me is one of the most moving, profound and most beautifully written song I have heard in my life. It makes me want to lie down, listen to her beautiful words, and hug my daughter. The fact that she, in her day and age could come up with such a wonderfully messaged song makes my heart burst. I remember when I was in the hospital 25 years ago after having my baby girl, a small radio played on my bedside table and that was one of the songs it played after I finally had my baby in my arms. I don’t think any song has made me cry from joy in my life, the way that one did, at that moment. And I will NEVER forget it.
Sarah Mclachlan’s “Angel” still makes me cry. It was playing in my car when I heard the news of the passing of my best friend. It brings back memories of her and I over the years and makes me feel like we are still in contact somehow.
There are so many other songs that will always “take me somewhere” and for that I am both grateful and envious. To be able to write a brilliant piece of work that is important enough to be remembered and memorized is the hope and wish of every writer, I am sure.
I just hope that all of the talented people who gave us the gift of their songs understand how much they have impacted other writers and our universe.
Thank you for the music.
“You wind up creating from silence, like painting a picture on a blank canvas that could bring tears to somebody’s eyes. As songwriters, our blank canvas is silence. Then we write a song from an idea that can change somebody’s life. Songwriting is the closest thing to magic that we could ever experience. That’s why I love songwriting.”~ Rodney Atkins