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Audio Refugees • View topic - improving lyrics

improving lyrics

Post your ideas for collaboration here.

Re: improving lyrics

Postby cjdenecia » Tue Nov 30, 2010 12:47 am

you can't handle the truth.

nor do you want to ...
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Re: improving lyrics

Postby steban » Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:14 am

So it is AudiPOPolis? I am outvoted? When did this happen? It sure isn't in the Mission Statement!

cj, you are THE biggest know it all here! Your byline was for so long at GB and beyond I KNOW THINGS.

I respect a good debate, so I do appreciate your trying to make your case about lyrics. But if my opinion on good lyrics is so off, then who among us is qualified to critique lyrics?

Furthermore, who is qualified to review songs?

If you want to set minimum standards, you will end up disqualifying everybody! Even yourself!

Not one person here has a single song that hit the top 100 on Billboard in any category. If I am wrong, please speak up, anyone!

That, my friend, is the state of this site. So let us suppose we did have a couple big dogs drop by and start throwing around their opinions, oh, we'll get Dylan himself, Ray, and your hero, Brett Michaels. Maybe Keith Urban for that Australian Country POV. Oh, let's throw in Ani DeFranco and Jack White for good measure. I, for that matter, all of us, will be dwarfed by these lyrical giants, so suddenly would all our humble opinions matter anymore? Perhaps you would shut up and follow their lead, too?

Well, I would not! I have confidence in my opinions, and if I disagree with them, any or all, I would do my best to explain why to the best of my ability. I imagine sometimes they would all disagree with me, but I would bet that more often at least one would be on my side. So who would be 'right'? Is it then 5 to 1, majority rules?

No, it just doesn't work that way. And it is even more true as we really are. I am just another musician and writer who has a college education and occasionally uses a six syllable word, and I really don't care who else does, who wants to do this that or the other thing, who respects my opinion in the context of my past opinions, and let them throw out what they feel, feel, feel, or even know, to be off.

This in turn applies to each instrument, to mixing and mastering, all the specialities that comprise songs, which would require a lot more experts. Instead, we have the sum total of each other, nary a one man show, so we have to critique honestly and listen carefully, which I think is far more in line with the AP mission than what you have been expressing.

I make a point of listening to as much music by everyone here as I get around to, regardless of how much it is like the music I prefer. Why? I am going for added context. Why? I feel I can offer a meatier review that way. Like yourself, sometimes I am critical in a negative sense, and in many cases disagree with others' opinions. Yours included. There is no wrong if everything is right. But what I mostly want is for everyone here to not be afraid to disagree with more forceful egos, and you, sir, are one. I also want everyone to better learn to deal with positive and negative criticism more effectively. And that includes debate and disagreement but not bullying or being bullied or even rudeness. I do not cross that line. I don't think anyone here has ever thought that of me.

And ceejerino, d) was just my free advice. Take it or leave it, everyone! But what I mean is one needs to use the tool, Google or its equivalent, before settling on a song title or even a major hook lyric or first line, similar to picking a band name, just to get an idea what people will find when they search for your song. Specifically, it is educational to see what pops up for youtube, even if you are not planning a video. Yes, there is no rule saying you can't name your song the same as some other song, but it is better to do it knowingly, in my opinion.

Most of us here move on to the next project rather than revamp the last closer to perfection as a rule, and I know I move on even faster than most to the detriment of my song's potential. But my joy is the journey, I could often care less about the destination, and usually no amount of encouragement will persuade me otherwise. That is not good free advice either! Some here do go the limit, and the song may still be just OK or worse, but it might get better. That is the gist of 'improving', and it might show up on the next song, or the next.
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Re: improving lyrics

Postby Krispy » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:54 am

To save time, assume I know everything
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Re: improving lyrics

Postby steban » Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:04 pm

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Re: improving lyrics

Postby HUD » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:03 pm

I don't see that a song title's similarity to another is much of a concern to most of us. I don't think anyone gave a crap that Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" was too much like Chicago's "Wishing You Were Here", for instance. Even identical names, of which there are many, ain't no big thaing...might not want call it "Hey Jude" maybe though.

In most cases, the song title's duty is to provide a comfortable handle or reference that enables the listener a means of associating what he heard - maybe at the restaurant, at the concert.- with some words on a CD cover, web page, etc.

But really this entire song titling business is a miniscule concern, compared with the actual craft/skill/artistry of songwriting...a major portion of songs name themselves anyway.

Stebs: I would be interested to have a look at the lyrics of yours that you would consider pop.
As I returned across the lands I'd known
I recognized the fields where I'd once played
I had to stop in my tracks for fear
Of walking on the mines I'd laid
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Re: improving lyrics

Postby Steve Soucy » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:23 pm

people may search for

Cheap Dry Cleaning in London..

but they won't be searching for that as a song title, only as a product or service.

It's an interesting idea Stebs, but your job is to get your song in front of people, not have them be searching for it.

And if they're going to search for music anywhere, it'll be on Youtube. And you've already shown a decent ability to make a video for a song.


When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.

~ Corrie Ten Boom
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Re: improving lyrics

Postby cjdenecia » Wed Dec 01, 2010 12:43 am

you can't handle the truth.

nor do you want to ...
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Re: improving lyrics

Postby steban » Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:04 am

I'm glad we got all that out, my friend.

And you know, I have never really told you, Thank you, cj! And the others, jaymz, suede, Jay, probably Kim, I don't know who else, who are working hard to make this site real. I am just along for the ride, and I want to encourage all members and potential members to join the fray.

I value everyone's opinion of my songs and music. That doesn't mean I or anyone ought to do everything we are told to do. Kim and Hud's political song is not bad, by no means bad, I just said what I felt would help make me like it more, possibly make other people like it more, too.

I said what I felt about the Talk with God song, too, it is by no means bad, although I felt it could have been a little bit better for what it is.

Dirty Girl I still feel is an overused title/phrase. The PF comparison is the best song that uses it, Eels have a song, Britney, and some rappers. Several rap songs by that name. But it is your choice, and yours alone to make.

Do the opinions I express impact my credibility? I hope so. Could be negative or positive. My music impacts my credibility. I risk a lot of credibility by expressing myself. We all do.

There are ongoing antagonisms amongst some members here that I don't fully understand, some I do, and wish would reconcile somehow. I know that isn't always possible, that sometimes the button pushing can't stop, can't be controlled. We don't fall into that category, and we never will.

So now I'm curious, what was that song of yours that hit the chart? I promise I will never ever ever hold it against you.

I do see a lot of talent in you, and more. You could still be a contender. I know we all have come close to giving up the music as a career dream, or the platinum hit, and Chris' hobbyist category seems to be our home. And like Kim said, it comes across as diminutive, the new 'indie'. But we are all in the process of understanding, as Chris said, that it is not really bad, but it does connote lesserness. But music is beyond the caste society big business has created, and I meant no disrespect for Dylan or Brett, they both worked hard to earn their fame, and their advice would carry more weight from their success and experience.

BUT not because they were successful and we are just hobbyists.

I am positive that all of us have songs which could be hits if covered by the right star. Any of us could do it on our own, with sufficient resources, except that we are severely handicapped by our virtual obscurity. The oldtimers that are doing so well are not both old and unknown.

I believe we have a slight advantage on the creative side. We are able to try things, make mistakes, and keep on keepin' on. On a good day we sometimes surprise everyone. Yes, you hope to inspire us hobbyists to be more pro-like in our expectations, especially on production (not solely). I am all for that, but I would trade all production for an inspired song, for a song that inspires me. It is unlikely the working, touring band will have time or energy to hang out here very much.
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Re: improving lyrics

Postby cjdenecia » Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:38 am

heh .... the teflon approach to reply. taken directly from the reagan/clinton debating handbook.

ok, I see this is now just above done and dusted. fine. but I hope I've made my point. you've made yours. I did listen. did you?
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Re: improving lyrics

Postby Krispy » Wed Dec 01, 2010 2:38 pm

All this talk of unique song titles prompted me to Google 'Sweetheartwarmbalm' (an old song by my band Sugarstick which appeared on various music sites in the mid noughties) since it's such a deliberately WTF fusion title. I was amazed to see how many podcasts had grabbed it, although some had mistranslated to 'Sweetheart warm balm'. In fact it amused me to get the Google prompt 'Did you mean sweetheart warmbalm?'
Reminded me of one of your reviews, Stebs. :lol:
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Re: improving lyrics

Postby jaymz » Wed Dec 01, 2010 3:33 pm

This thread is way too long and I didn't get any information on how to improve some lyrics I am working on.
Take that! Hatless!
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Re: improving lyrics

Postby steban » Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:49 am

So jaymz, not all that helpful with your lyrics? Why don't you give us what you got and we'll all see if we can help out?

Meanwhile, cj, here's my latest lyrics, no music or anything yet, just a theme song for my imaginary holiday black comedy movie starring Britney and Woody Harrelson. It needs some resolution to its tastelessness.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

White Trash Christmas by Steve Bancroft

do you remember Christmas last year
the stockings hung by the space heater caught fire
you and I were snuggled up warm in our beds
the smell of roasting chestnuts danced in our heads

perhaps it was good fortune, the spirit of the season
or maybe dumb luck, no rhyme or reason
or maybe it was just the smoke in the air
but you woke with a lurch and yelled in my ear

the house didn’t burn down, and the morning went well
and the odor of burnt oranges and peppermint sticks was an oddly pleasant smell
and Christmas went forward as extended family
opened their presents round the plastic Christmas tree

It was too much excitement, and none of your business
but that’s how you celebrate a white trash Christmas

the weather was warm, all night the dogs barked
and a ten foot inflatable snowman was parked
in the front yard, aglow oh so bright
and motorized reindeer bobbed in the night

there were lights on the house, strings of lights all around
you just plug them in when they're never taken down
the car set on blocks was transformed to a sleigh
the wonders of plywood painted so gay

it came down from the attic from November to December
a family tradition for as long as I can remember
faded and warped by the rain, snow and ice
but from the street it still looked pretty nice

It’s our traditions, and none of your business
but that’s how you celebrate a white trash Christmas
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Re: improving lyrics

Postby jaymz » Thu Dec 02, 2010 3:20 pm

Fire doesn't rhyme with year btw.
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Re: improving lyrics

Postby HUD » Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:01 pm

needs some bestiality inscestuous pervert shit in it.
As I returned across the lands I'd known
I recognized the fields where I'd once played
I had to stop in my tracks for fear
Of walking on the mines I'd laid
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Re: improving lyrics

Postby steban » Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:57 pm

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