Specificity...

I have been giving a lot of thought to specificity in songwriting. I recently got feedback from a songwriting contest suggesting that I get "more specific" in my lyrics and shape my songs into more "understandable" narratives. I found this advice very intriguing and I have been attempting to write what I am dubbing "TWELVE SOLID SONGS", songs that are very specific and completely readable. I am making myself laugh while I write these tunes - a lot of the subject matter is silly and the details are so absurd - life is weird, isn't it?

On the other side of the scale, I have been thinking about why I am drawn to more impressionistic songwriting and I think it goes back to my early exposure to lieder, the art songs written by composers like Schubert and Debussy and Ravel and Richard Strauss and many others in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As one of the contest judges noted in regard to my writing, "lyrics are not the same as poetry". That really stuck with me because I love poetry and the lyrics that I write are certainly indebted to it. But are my lyrics "too" poetic, and not substantial enough? I'm not sure - this is something I really want to explore and challenge myself on. More than anything, I want to communicate states of being and if greater specificity and "concrete-ness" help the listener relate to those states in my songs, that is all for the good. The work continues!

2 comments

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    Wallace

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