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Poetry and Music thoughts?

#1 User is offline   porcupine Icon

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:41 AM

I was listening to a cd from a friend of mine. In reading the lyrics, they were very poetic, clever, interesting, cool rhyming schemes and brilliant at places. But for some reason, it didnt turn me on musicially...almost how leonard cohens later stuff turns some peope off. Now, I love Leonard, but I understand...although brilliant in lyrics, gave a droning tone to the vocals and MAY turn some people away because of it (my wife thinks he sounds like the grinch! lol)

Have you found music like this? I felt kinda bad not liking it as a whole. I can, however take what I like, but because the music is a bit "novice",

Is there a possibility of being too poetic in a song?

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:16 AM

I think there's a real danger of being overly poetic in songs. My uncle Bob and I were talking about pop art once, and he remarked that the best of it "combines the mythic and the mundane." I try to keep that in mind when I'm writing: the way great pop writers like Donald Fagen, Elvis Costello, Joni MItchell and so many others walk that line between poetry and flat-footed speech, that's where the magic is, for me.

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Because so much of modern poetry seems hellbent on disguising its sources, too many songwriters try to apply the same to their lyrics: working to see that every line is be encoded against a poetic Rosetta Stone. It's better to simply say what you mean... sure, be clever, have fun with words, pull out that surprising rhyme or dashing turn of phrase, but at the same time don't go so "poetic" that it obscures the meaning.

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:28 AM

In a word, yes.

However, I do think that there have been some great songs that are quite "poetic" in nature.

I sometimes think that the more complex a lyric is, the less complex the music/arrangement has to be (so that the mind can focus on it). It's not always true, but seems to be so in a lot of cases.

I can listen to, and enjoy, a song that has poetic lyrics. Listening to a whole album would be more of a struggle without something happening musically to give me a change. Leonard Cohen seems to manage this in his later stuff and Tom Waits certainly makes his music interesting.

It all depends.

I guess that I am saying that I can enjoy a single song that makes me focus on the poetry, but then I need a break. It's a bit like listening to a set being played live. If there is no "light and shade" it can get boring.
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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:18 PM

I agree with the thought that a lyric can be polished, but be still be stilted and lacking in emotion. That does not mean that polished lyrics are bad. It just means that there more than one criteria for evaluating the message. I do love beautiful lyrics. I read once of a list of words thought to be the most beautiful in the English language. And when I hear a song using those words, I usually like the song. So there is one check in the polished/beautiful column.

Corollary to this, I do find myself sometimes intentionally using near rhymes in a song, even when I can find an exact one because the meaning is clearer or because I think that song has more character by not being perfect.

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 07:40 PM

Hi P

If the rhyme seems effortless or doesn't seem like poetry do I take notice. Things that are overly poetic take on a doctor Seuss like feel which is rather a turn off unless your writing kitty tunes. Poetry is just an option to writing lyrics in my book, not the golden rule.


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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:34 PM

Personally, I prefer a mix of the abstract and the conventional. I don't tend to write lyrics which are overly poetic but I have been known to write an entire lyric around a single metaphorical theme, keeping the language mostly conversational but hopefully leaving a bit of room for some interpretation. Because I enjoy identifying with the words being sung, I make the assumption that others do too. I can't say that I can or will ever write for the listener who prefers a lyric left completely up to one's own interpretation. But there's an ass for every seat, as they say. :)

Gravity Jim gave some great examples of this technique.

RNR Jim. :)

Dr Suess puts me in mind of lyrics which rely on the abundant use of exact rhymes. I'm not sure that's what is being discussed here in terms of poetry in lyrics.

What's a kitty tune? :lol:
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Posted 16 March 2012 - 10:44 PM

Quote

Is there a possibility of being too poetic in a song?

Personally, i feel there is.
If i could hopefully not oversimplify it,
Poetry, to me, is more of an emotion from the mind :unsure: , where as,
Music is more an emotion from the soul. :rolleyes:
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#8 User is offline   MABBO Icon

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:26 PM

Porcupine (and others) hello, after two weeks away from computers.

As anything,songs are the province of the composer.Anyone can write whatever they want. To thine own self be true. But once you start stepping into the province of wanting people to UNDERSTAND what you are writing, things can change dramatically. If, for instance, you had to sit around here in a town of thousands of songs (or on the Internet with MILLIONS of songs) you would hear that it is VERY POSSIBLE to be TOO POETIC in songs.

Songwriters often get what I refer to as "Songwriter's tunnelvision." This is where they know EXACTLY what they are talking about, but no one else really gets it at all. Might be the culture, the dumbing down of society, but I also think they are often feeling emotions and not making that clear to anyone else. Last night I attended a dinner after our monthly :Third Sunday at Three" songwriting networking party and guitar pull. About 150 writers and artists show up at a local guy's house to share food, drinks and music. In many of the rooms, and out in the yard, with everyone playing songs on guitar or piano, there were MANY songs that took listeners down a road that sometimes they didn't even understand.

One guy talked about wishing the "Bluebird would allow writers to pass out lyric sheets" because no one could really follow or understand his song. Then he added that HE didn't even understand it himself.

Songs can be many things.
They can be overwritten with five and six verses not saying ANYTHING DIFFERENT than the first two verses.
They can be pretensious.
They can preach at the audience.
They can be whiny personal diatribes.
They can be vindictive, pointing fingers of blame at anyone within earshot.
They can be contrived, and predictable.
They can be oversimplistic, the "Dr. Suess" or as I refer to them "Sam I Am" rhymes.
They can be many things and too poetic is certainly one of them.

Admittedly, I am not a fan of poetry. I guess just not smart enough to figure it out. I like to know what the subject is, and like it to make the point it is intended and keep people as engaged as it can. Personally, I don't like to be walked out on or ignored, which is what happens often when songwriters are too poetic. But as always, it also depends on your focus, your market for the song, your follow through.

To each his or her own.

MAB

#9 User is offline   Joan Icon

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:05 PM

It does get lost in the conversation that lyric writing is a form of poetry. What people mean when they ding a lyric for being too poetic is that it's too inaccessible, or too flowery, or too long. But good poetry is none of those things; sometimes you have to dig deep to get everything the poet put in, but it's there to dig out. Bad poetry shuts you out and good poetry invites you in, and the same is true of song lyrics.

But I think there's an important difference between good poetry and good lyrics. At a poetry reading, the people in the audience bring their whole selves to the experience of hearing those words. At an event where songs are performed, that's almost never true. A listening room is sometimes close enough, as is a mixed open mic where sometimes people will get up and recite poems. But usually there's a lot more distraction and other noise, so anything the lyric really wants to say has to be repeated many, many times and it has to be pointed and punchy. Like a lot of slam poetry, come to think of it.

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:17 PM

Reading through this thread, IMHO someone ought to define their terms, because it seems when they are using the terms "poetry" and "poetic" several posters are not talking about the same thing. Poetry is not necessarily abstract, although it usually evokes a higher level of meaning. Verse is not necessarily poetry. "Dr. Seuss"??? Modern poetry does not even usually use much repetitive rhyming. Hallmark cards and Dr. Seuss are certainly verse but most wouldn't classify them as poetry. It certainly makes a difference whether poetry is meant to be ingested visually or aurally as to how effective a given piece is. Songs are always taken in aurally and as such I heartily concur that lyrics should be evaluated without a lyric sheet. But even in the world of poetry, there is a debate about this - witness the storm of controversy generated by Garrison Keillor with the publication of "Good Poems"; which were selected for being effective read over the radio. My suspicion is that MABBO's not caring much for poetry is that he hasn't made much of an effort or selection. Certainly that might be the case for someone that said they don't care for music and all they've heard was rap.

For the last year or two I have been participating in a creative writing workshop put on by the InPrint society. This has been a mixed genre group. Several people write poetry - and more important, know how to read a poem aloud - what an incredible difference that makes. You have to know how to read a poem to appreciate it - You can't just visually read it (usually). Many, many poems are conversational in diction, but are almost always metric - but even much fine prose is metric. IMHO we are usually all over the place in picking how well a written "potential lyric" translates to an "actual lyric" (i.e., in a song) and this relates to the same types of evaluative practices - All JMHO of course, but something I've spent a great deal of time thinking about over the last several years - Ron
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#11 User is offline   MABBO Icon

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:20 PM

Joan,

That's a pretty good description of it. Someone once described it to me like this: "Songs that are more poetic, are somewhat like a Picasso painting. They are left open to interpretation of the listener. The nose can be on the side of the face, the eyes in the back of the head. Songs with a more direct lyrical approach are like a "Dutch Masters" or Divinci painting. A bowl of fruit looks like a bowl of fruit, a woman looks like a woman. It leaves nothing to ambiguity,"

In a Nashville style of writing we often use what is called "Grounding the metaphor or poetry in reality." There might be poetic content, but it will be surrounded by a reality situation. It is a fine line as to how well you combine the two. But it can be done.

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#12 User is offline   MABBO Icon

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:35 PM

Ron,

My "not caring for poetry" is a result of a few things. First of all being involved in this business for over thirty years, as first an entertainer, and performing musician, then as a writer, then as a critique and consultant to the music industry. It is not that I have not heard all kinds of music. I critique around 2000 songs a year, write around 300 myself, and deal consistantly from writers from literally all over the world in all genres and backgrounds. I probably heard in part of full songs of close to 150 on Sunday alone, and will hear several more on the three writers nights I do this week starting with tonight. Stack 25 or 30 writers on an average Nashville writer's night, doing three songs each, and those songs add up quickly.

Again, we are talking personal experience and taste here. It is not about what I want. That is irregardless. The majority of the people I am involved with are coming here to interact with this community. And even when I have been out in the US and Canada in workshops, seminars, shows, etc. the focus is the same thing. In my experience, the majority of the more poetic content are very difficult to decipher, particularly in the back drop of our modern society. With billions of songs, millions of artists all out there trying to attract attention.

Some do it quite well, as in the aforementioned Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and others. For many, now trying to find their way in the current musical and entertainment landscape, it is harder and harder to find those who do that and do it well. And the attention span of the average listener gets harder and harder to maintain. More poetic songs have difficulty doing that in many cases. That is my point. And as always, each writer or artist has to make the decision as to the direction of the music he or she decides to do.

MAB

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:58 PM

If it's unnecessarily overly wordy, or if it's too intentionally obscure, or if it's too metaphorical, or if it's too concerned with painting visual images, or if it sounds pretentious or like it was trying to be "high brow," or if it's too "flowery" and overly-descriptive, or if it sounds like a dissertation for a PhD, or if the person singing it just sounds like an arrogant jerk . . . but, in my heart of hearts, I have to admit it's pretty damn good writing, then chances are I'll justify my dislike of such a song lyric by accusing it of being "too poetic." :)

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 07:50 PM

I strive for a naturalness or flow if you will whether it's poetry or lyrics I'm writing. I try not to leave the reader/listener feeling deceived or cheated. My reader/listener is an intelligent person who is absorbing every word I write and as a writer I must respect them. I always try to stimulate the senses by using word pictures, color, meaning and theme cohesively. In lyrics I believe most audiences don't want a code to decipher or a sermon to heed and in poetry I believe an aesthetic approach is more likely to be tolerated.
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#15 User is offline   neuroron Icon

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:05 PM

View PostMABBO, on 19 March 2012 - 04:35 PM, said:

Ron,

My "not caring for poetry" is a result of a few things. First of all being involved in this business for over thirty years, as first an entertainer, and performing musician, then as a writer, then as a critique and consultant to the music industry. It is not that I have not heard all kinds of music. I critique around 2000 songs a year, write around 300 myself, and deal consistantly from writers from literally all over the world in all genres and backgrounds. I probably heard in part of full songs of close to 150 on Sunday alone, and will hear several more on the three writers nights I do this week starting with tonight. Stack 25 or 30 writers on an average Nashville writer's night, doing three songs each, and those songs add up quickly.

Again, we are talking personal experience and taste here. It is not about what I want. That is irregardless. The majority of the people I am involved with are coming here to interact with this community. And even when I have been out in the US and Canada in workshops, seminars, shows, etc. the focus is the same thing. In my experience, the majority of the more poetic content are very difficult to decipher, particularly in the back drop of our modern society. With billions of songs, millions of artists all out there trying to attract attention.

Some do it quite well, as in the aforementioned Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and others. For many, now trying to find their way in the current musical and entertainment landscape, it is harder and harder to find those who do that and do it well. And the attention span of the average listener gets harder and harder to maintain. More poetic songs have difficulty doing that in many cases. That is my point. And as always, each writer or artist has to make the decision as to the direction of the music he or she decides to do.

MAB


Let me reiterate MAB,

Here are just a couple of definitions of "poetry":

po•et•ry/ˈpōətrē/ Noun:
1. Literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm;...
2. A quality of beauty and intensity of emotion regarded as characteristic of poems: "poetry and fire are nicely balanced in the music".

Poetry is an imaginative awareness of experience expressed through meaning, sound, and rhythmic language choices so as to evoke an emotional response.


How can a good lyric be "too" much of anything put forth in those definitions? Now you might believe that a large number of songs that you hear are too dense, too obtuse, too flowery, too hard to comprehend without vast knowledge of outside allusions, etc, but that is not TOO POETIC. A poem can be too much of all those things too and so not be an effective poem for a given audience. It might not apply to you but by and large the likelihood that a person criticizes a lyric as "too poetic" is inversely proportional to their knowledge of poetry, poetics (and language in general).
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Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:10 PM

View PostDavid@HoboSage.com, on 19 March 2012 - 05:58 PM, said:

If it's unnecessarily overly wordy, or if it's too intentionally obscure, or if it's too metaphorical, or if it's too concerned with painting visual images, or if it sounds pretentious or like it was trying to be "high brow," or if it's too "flowery" and overly-descriptive, or if it sounds like a dissertation for a PhD, or if the person singing it just sounds like an arrogant jerk . . . but, in my heart of hearts, I have to admit it's pretty damn good writing, then chances are I'll justify my dislike of such a song lyric by accusing it of being "too poetic." :)


I can tell you from personal experience (sitting on dissertation committees) that the common theme of 99% of Ph.D. dissertations (at least in biomedical sciences) is that they are horribly written. Long run-on sentences, never saying what they mean in a straight forward manner, using words incorrectly to sound profound ["if you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull$hit"] etc. and believe me they are not "too poetic" - just badly written. :D
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Posted 20 March 2012 - 01:52 PM

i think using poetic themes with casual language is the best bet for songwriters who would like to add some depth to their songs and still maintain an audience

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:09 AM

View Postporcupine, on 16 March 2012 - 05:41 AM, said:

I was listening to a cd from a friend of mine. In reading the lyrics, they were very poetic, clever, interesting, cool rhyming schemes and brilliant at places. But for some reason, it didnt turn me on musicially...almost how leonard cohens later stuff turns some peope off. Now, I love Leonard, but I understand...although brilliant in lyrics, gave a droning tone to the vocals and MAY turn some people away because of it (my wife thinks he sounds like the grinch! lol)

Have you found music like this? I felt kinda bad not liking it as a whole. I can, however take what I like, but because the music is a bit "novice",

Is there a possibility of being too poetic in a song?

Porcupine

I think of poetic and "poetic"--the former is the use of figurative language to create emotional meaning in indirect ways, leaving space for the listener to fill in: "Hear that lonesome whipoorwill, she sounds too blue to fly...", "Headed down to the club, got as far as the door, someone asked me about you, don't get around much any more"; the latter is self-conscious metaphors, using fancy language to make obvious points ( I think of some Ira Gershwin, Dan Fogelberg, some early Joni Mitchell, some of Tom T. Hall, a lot of Neil Diamond). The real poetry is understated, it means more than it says. The "poetry" says more than it means.

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 09:43 AM

I think one thing we are talking about here is semantics and you have to keep them in the context of the genres or the personal experiences.
When I speak of "Poetic" it would be mostly in songs that are dense,undecipherable, mostly in the context of the industry I work in, Nashville, and primarily conemporary country music. Also, most of what I deal with are people bringing in songs to be considered to be recorded by the industry, or be involved with publishers in that industry.

Now that does not mean it is only country. We also have rock and pop acts here like Kings of Leon, Robert Plant and other types of acts. Since those are self contained, with the artist being the writer, they can be as poetic as they want to be. People who are not artists, have to decide what they want their music to be based upon their goals and applications.

For my personal tastes and those of industry people I know, if you need a "decoder ring" to figure out what a song is about, it is not written well enough. I am not going to take time to figure out something for them. Not my kind of thing. But I am not a target for that type of music, so it is irrelevant what I think in any case. I never have been one that was that interested in deep, metaphysical songs. So I openly admit, I am not one to comment on what someone else's intentions are.
The answer to the question "Can it be too poetic?" for me would be yes, depending upon the application for the song.

MAB

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 11:16 AM

In my opinion, a song can most definitely by 'too poetic', as a result of which it alienates the listener. Sometimes, it seems to me, songwriters try too hard to be poetic to the extent that it is more of an intellectual indulgence or an attempt to be clever - than a genuine attempt to convey an image or a feeling.

In saying that, at what point it becomes 'too poetic' is anyone's guess. Some songs can use figurative language, the meaning of which may not be entirely clear to its listeners, and yet they still manage to conjure up strong feelings and a deeper understanding within them. To me, that is the purpose of poetry in lyrics. (and it most definitely has a place)

As with counselling, the use of images and symbols can be a powerful and effective way of helping people (and young children, in particular) to express their feelings. They have a way of connecting with our feelings on a subconscious level...in a way that words alone can't.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, poetry in lyrics is good, yes...but if not used sparingly, it can leave the listener cold.

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 12:02 PM

View Postporcupine, on 16 March 2012 - 09:41 AM, said:

I was listening to a cd from a friend of mine. In reading the lyrics, they were very poetic, clever, interesting, cool rhyming schemes and brilliant at places. But for some reason, it didnt turn me on musicially...almost how leonard cohens later stuff turns some people off. Now, I love Leonard, but I understand...although brilliant in lyrics, gave a droning tone to the vocals and MAY turn some people away because of it (my wife thinks he sounds like the grinch! lol)


Sounds like there are a few Nietzsches on this thread. Nietzsche hated poetry. He said something like: Poets muddy the water to make it seem deeper than it is. :)

Porcupine, I remember from other posts that you admire Leonard Cohen a lot. You probably already know this, but he learned what he learned about imagery, metaphors and symbolism in his youth from studying to be a poet, and he had success as a poet before he turned songwriter. It sounds to me like both you and your wife have more of an issue with his singing than with the lyrics or melodies he writes. Different issue altogether, and mostly out of his hands. Singers with nicer pipes have had great success with Cohen songs. I haven't heard a country version of Halleluiah yet, but I'm sure if there isn't one yet there will be. Few songwriters have been so influential, so I wouldn't look to him as an example of doing anything wrong. But his imitators don't always fare so well. If people want to write like Cohen they shouldn't imitate him, they should find out who influenced him (FG Lorca for one) and study them. If anything, I think of him as an example of pulling what makes good poetry good into what makes good lyrics good. And okay, of finding an audience that's on his wavelength. So what if the way he writes turns a lot of people off? He's always written for smart people, who do buy records and who deserve access to music that will resonate with them. Most folks never went for him anyway; why would they?

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:25 PM

Leonard Cohen is a good reference point for this topic, which keeps cycling back every few months. Or topics, as we seem to be back to “Are lyrics a form of poetry?” and “Can any poem be set to music” and “Art vs. Commerce” and “Why won’t someone give me money for this lyric?”

MABBO is right that there appears to be a semantic difference. Or not, depending on how you phrase the question.

I am late to the Leonard Cohen party. I admit I didn’t know who he was (though I had heard “Hallelujah” several times, and probably other songs without knowing they were his. (Like Madeleine Peyroux’s cover of “Dance Me Till The End Of Time.”)

(Another aside. The bartender at the Tin Angel told me that “Hallelujah” is one of the few songs she’d outlaw at that venue – she had heard too many singer/songwriters cover it).

I am one who feels that lyrics are a special form of poetry – they have to have the forward movement of a song, must marry with both melody and musical setting, and must work by being sung aloud (without necessarily working if you just read them). But Cohen (IMO) is a poet, not a lyricist. His “songs” are as close as you can get to “poems set to music.” He is not much of a melodist or composer – the melodic lines are often monotonous, there is no build in the song, no rise, no chorus…many of his songs are long verse forms, repeating. He is not much of a singer – his voice is expressive and distinctive but not overly musical. There is that moment in “Hallelujah” where there is a musical and lyrical play on “the fourth, the fifth,” but by and large the “songs” are about the gravity and beauty of the words.

And the words are very much in decoder ring territory. You really have to listen closely, listen over and over, and sink deep into the images. This is not a criticism. His lyrics are beautiful and haunting, if you take the time with them. I was watching a documentary in which he said he sometimes spent weeks on a lyric, and I believe it. It sounds like every single word was very carefully considered.

And he owned his words. I don’t mean financially, I mean he got up in whatever venue he could and sang the words he wrote to the melody (such as it was) he wrote and if you liked it, great, if you got it, great, but he worked his own stuff. He didn’t go to Nashville to pass his songs around to publishers, that would have been idiotic.

MABBO is perfectly correct that Cohen’s songs, or songs like them, are not what you want to be writing if you want to take your work to market. And MABBO is certainly welcome to not like a particular style of writing – plenty of styles I don’t quite get.

So, for me, Leonard Cohen is a perfect example of what *not* to do (if you’re trying to work commercially); and a perfect example of what you *could* do (if you were going to be your own publisher, business manager, booking agent, etc.). And he is a perfect lodestar to locate that exact spot where poetry ends and song begin – he’s right on that line.

I fell in love with ‘Alexandra Leaving” a few months ago and I still can’t get enough of that lyric (poem). The multiple layers of the historical story of Antony, the rendering of the original poem, the mapping of all that meaning to a beautiful woman and an unforgettable one-night stand, with the depths of feelings of unworthiness and loss – it’s extraordinary writing. I’d be happy to write something that good. But I wouldn’t necessarily expect everyone to get it, or like it….or buy it.
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Posted 22 March 2012 - 01:57 PM

[quote name='Joan' date='22 March 2012 - 12:02 PM' timestamp='1332435724' post='574365']

View Postporcupine, on 16 March 2012 - 09:41 AM, said:

Porcupine, I remember from other posts that you admire Leonard Cohen a lot. You probably already know this, but he learned what he learned about imagery, metaphors and symbolism in his youth from studying to be a poet, and he had success as a poet before he turned songwriter. It sounds to me like both you and your wife have more of an issue with his singing than with the lyrics or melodies he writes.


I understand, that's why I give him credit. To me there are three parts to great song, lyrics, melody/chord and arrangement (that's just the song, not the production or singer) none of which matter if the song doesnt make a connection to ourselves or others. Leonard Cohen connects, like you say, with people that did into the lyrics, but a jazz fan may not give it the light of day with out some clever arranging.

That still doesnt make it a bad song.

The lyrics far surpass the standard of what is excepted in popular music, so much that it draws others in that may not be a fan. The same happens for people are a musical instrument virtuoso. I've heard terrible terrible songs lyrically from rock band lyrically, but one great riff on guitar, pulls you in...

Still, doesn't make a bad song.

I'm a bit of a theif. I listen to alot of music and take little nuggets of what I like and can use or be influenced by.

Personally, I won't use lyrics that require effort to understand. I just like it that way, and like mabbo, maybe I'm not as complex of an individual.

View Postzmulls, on 22 March 2012 - 01:25 PM, said:

I’d be happy to write something that good. But I wouldn’t necessarily expect everyone to get it, or like it….or buy it.


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Posted 22 March 2012 - 02:41 PM

View Postporcupine, on 22 March 2012 - 02:57 PM, said:

Personally, I won't use lyrics that require effort to understand. I just like it that way, and like mabbo, maybe I'm not as complex of an individual.
I have no doubt you and MABBO are at least as complex as anyone on this board. It's not whether you use poetic devices in a lyic, but whether you use them poorly or well. A good country writer is as complex as anyone else. But that writer is careful to calibrate any devices to the intended audience. Country went through some really bad pun times in the 1980s and 1990s, and might actually be out of that phase now. Just because you're pitching your metaphors to an audience at a perceived 8th grade reading level doesn't mean your metaphors have to be groan-inducing puns. Like "She Can't Say I Didn't Cry," or "This is Our Last Resort" or "Don't Take Candy From Me, Baby ('cause God Gave Her to You and Me)." College English departments sometimes have classes in country lyrics now. When you pick apart a country lyric there will be metaphors, similes, allusions, connotations, assonance, irony, hyperbole, synedoche, metaphysical wit, and just about any other poetic device they ever made you study in school. In bad country the devices call attention to their own attempts at cleverness. In good country they work so seamlessly and so well the listener doesn't recognize them or the skill behind them. The listener just takes it in as a great song and wants to hear it again, like when Ashton Shepherd sings that metaphor about an oppressive marriage as she looks at that ring on her finger: "I'm the only one who can set myself free/So I'm takin' off that pain you put on me."

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 06:01 PM

View PostJoan, on 22 March 2012 - 02:41 PM, said:

When you pick apart a country lyric there will be metaphors, similes, allusions, connotations, assonance, irony, hyperbole, synedoche, metaphysical wit, and just about any other poetic device they ever made you study in school.


But Joan, those aren't "poetic devices" those are simply linguistic or literary devices - they are used in all forms of linguistic communication , including everyday discourse. I think the term "poetry" is being used here as synonymous with "I don't understand it." And even in everyday discourse sometimes the listener doesn't get it - that doesn't mean the speaker is being "too poetic."

Reminds me of the the country guy's definition of classical music in the movie "Big Business":

Roone Dimmick: That's classical music, isn't it.
Grahm Sherbourne: Yes, yes it is.
Roone Dimmick: Yea, I could tell, no lyrics.

Pure music is abstract - there are no lyrics to tell you what it's "about" and so many people don't "get it" - and when you do "get it" and it's profoundly affecting the "it" you "get" is in all likelihood the "it" that someone else got. Likewise, lots of poetry is very concrete aleast on one level, and then hopefully there is someting else to get, which is even more satisfying when it has sunk in and been processed - just like great songs.
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Posted 22 March 2012 - 06:14 PM

View Postneuroron, on 22 March 2012 - 07:01 PM, said:

But Joan, those aren't "poetic devices" those are simply linguistic or literary devices - they are used in all forms of linguistic communication , including everyday discourse. I think the term "poetry" is being used here as synonymous with "I don't understand it." And even in everyday discourse sometimes the listener doesn't get it - that doesn't mean the speaker is being "too poetic."

Right, Ron! They're not all "just" poetic devices, the way rhyme and meter are. I associate them with poetry since that's where they were introduced to me, though of course some of them can be found anywhere but user manuals. But the way those same devices are used in lyric writing is lifted from poetry, not prose. Poetry, in common with song lyrics, is highly distilled compared to prose, so every word has to carry more weight than it would in conversation. Some of the devices I named evolved primarily to help convey a lot in a short space. This is needed more in poetry than in other linguistic communication. Except for advertising, of course. :huh:

And I agree that the term "poetic" is being used here as synonymous with "I don't understand it," and I also don't think that means the speaker is being "too poetic."

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 07:48 AM

Well, Here's kinda what I meant...

If you haven't heard her songs , as a songwriter, You have to atleast give a listen!!! Gillian Welch. Unreal ability with the english language, amazing imagery. a stunning talent. To me, can't get much better lyrically, but would I use her style in my songs...no....maybe bits of it here and there, but not to her extent

Most people when listening to a song live or for the first time, need to connect with the lyric or music within a few seconds to draw them in, however a songs lyric may take some time. You need to hear the full story, sometimes read it (like poetry) and absorb it by either making a few listens or be in an undistracted live environment.

I can appreciate what she does and I do learn some interesting ways of putting lyrics together in a "poetic" way from her and the likes of Leonard Cohen, etc. But I also like overly simplified hooks. Songs like "Stuck on You" by Sugarland is as sugary as a trick or treat bag. I like it. If they would have written deeper lyrics, it simply may not have worked. Most "popular" songs are not as deep.

to be "poetic" can be simple or complex in lyric, and in the case where you are writing for the masses, they may not get it as easily. If you write for yourself, you can do anything you want.

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 08:19 AM

View Postporcupine, on 23 March 2012 - 08:48 AM, said:

Well, Here's kinda what I meant...

If you haven't heard her songs , as a songwriter, You have to atleast give a listen!!! Gillian Welch. Unreal ability with the english language, amazing imagery. a stunning talent. To me, can't get much better lyrically, but would I use her style in my songs...no....maybe bits of it here and there, but not to her extent

Most people when listening to a song live or for the first time, need to connect with the lyric or music within a few seconds to draw them in, however a songs lyric may take some time. You need to hear the full story, sometimes read it (like poetry) and absorb it by either making a few listens or be in an undistracted live environment.

I can appreciate what she does and I do learn some interesting ways of putting lyrics together in a "poetic" way from her and the likes of Leonard Cohen, etc. But I also like overly simplified hooks. Songs like "Stuck on You" by Sugarland is as sugary as a trick or treat bag. I like it. If they would have written deeper lyrics, it simply may not have worked. Most "popular" songs are not as deep.

to be "poetic" can be simple or complex in lyric, and in the case where you are writing for the masses, they may not get it as easily. If you write for yourself, you can do anything you want.

Porcupine


Good example, I'm a fan of Gillian Welch. Pat Pattison brings her up a lot, she's a Berklee grad and studied songwriting under him. Like Cohen, she's more in the folk vein than pop, rock or country, though she does bring that rustic element to the party. Cohen and Welch were never writing for the masses, and if you are, you're right that you're better off stealing from Sugarland (I'm also a fan of Sugarland, just not that song. I like Stay, and Already Gone). Commercially, folk fandom is a minuscule sliver of the big pie. Gillian Welch and Leonard Cohen's fans are mostly folk fans, and folk fans sit there and shut up and listen and like it. They're as quiet as attendees at a poetry reading. That's why their lyrics have a chance to go over with their audiences. And I still think you're misusing "poetic" as a descriptor. :)

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 08:49 AM

Joan,
Here's an example

write a sestina. it's labor intensive and very difficult to write, and clearly convey the message.

write a free form verse. You can write almost anything and convey the message with in a very relaxed guideling

IMO, the free verse should be easier to read/understand (by the masses) in general and easier to

both are poetic. im not sure where i used "poetic" wrong in this thread

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 09:08 AM

Free verse has fewer rules than the rhymed forms, but the free verse that's easy to write is crap that nobody wants to hear. Poets have been writing almost solely in free verse for the better part of a century, except for songwriters and greeting card writers. Robert Frost was the last of the big-time rhymers, and then light verse was the last stronghold of rhyme in poetry. When Shel Silverstein and Ogden Nash passed on, light verse dimmed as an influence on our culture. "Poetic" pertains to poetry, and that would mean poetry as it is now.

I can get sucked into making pronouncements that misrepresent what I really think. I don't think folk is smart and country is dumb. Folk songwriters run the gamut between unlistenable and spine-tingling. So do country songwriters. So do rappers. Every genre has examples of more down-to-earth and more pretentious. And the writers that would have MABBO planning a bathroom break on Writers Night would have me planning the same thing, for the same reason. If I'm writing unmindfully about the excruciatingly specific aspects of my psyche, or nightmares, or love life, my lyrics will not be reminding the listeners of their own psyches or nightmares or love lives. If I'm going to be giving you a good song, it will be full of "you" vibes, not "me" vibes, even if I'm writing about myself. The Rosetta Stone of writing is whatever connects the writer's words to the listener's own thoughts and feelings.

The difference between a Gillian Welch song and a Don Schlitz song isn't which writer is smarter. They're both bright shining stars. As Porcupine points out, the listener might need to listen harder to Welch to get the most out of the experience. That to me isn't a flaw of Welch's kind of writing. The issue is whether the payoff makes the harder listening worth the effort, and not every listener wants to put active effort into listening. Plus not everyone who writes in her style is as consistently rewarding to listen to. And we're not always listening to have the same kind of experience. Welch is not hard to get, but when you're in the mood for a weeper, you might reach for the Adele CD instead. I think listening to songs can be a little bit like getting drunk. It's not just about getting to your happy place or your weepy place; it's about getting away from where you are now.

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 11:24 AM

This is an interesting discussion. Every time you guys mention something, I seem to run into people you are all talking about. On Wed. I was headed to the studio I work in, and saw in the parking lot of my publishers, PAT PATTISON. I stopped to say hey, we are buddies, and have written together and share the same publisher, Best Built songs. I told him we were on the big "poetry" discussion, and he says it never ends. LOL!

Joan, you and I probably would take the same bathroom breaks. There is no right or wrong when it comes to writing. Just different approaches and different audiences. Or as we said in the early 20's, different strokes, for different folks.

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 02:08 PM

View PostJoan, on 23 March 2012 - 09:08 AM, said:

but the free verse that's easy to write is crap that nobody wants to hear.

Thats not neccesarily true, the majority may not, but there are some people who do it because they want to hear themselves...lol audience of 1...and their significant others (sorta like the parents of people on american idol who say "my son can SIIIIINNNNG!)

"Poetic" pertains to poetry, and that would mean poetry as it is now.

Hmm..Joan, you alway get me thinking... I know that language evolves over time, some words aren't used without sounding dated and new words (or words that suddenly get used alot) come into play. other wise, i thought poetry was poetic no matter when it was done.


I think we listen to more of the same music than I orginally thought. B)

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 03:17 PM

Absolutely, we do listen to a lot of the same songs. :)

Quote


but the free verse that's easy to write is crap that nobody wants to hear.


Thats not necessarily true, the majority may not, but there are some people who do it because they want to hear themselves...lol audience of 1...and their significant others (sorta like the parents of people on american idol who say "my son can SIIIIINNNNG!)

Okay, I'm pretty sure we're saying the same thing here. If my then-eight-year-old ever wrote me a poem, I probably gave him a big smooch and a long hug and stuck it on the refrigerator. What I didn't do was submit it to the Kenyon Review for publication. Or remember it 20 years later.

"Poetic" pertains to poetry, and that would mean poetry as it is now.

Hmm..Joan, you alway get me thinking... I know that language evolves over time, some words aren't used without sounding dated and new words (or words that suddenly get used alot) come into play. other wise, i thought poetry was poetic no matter when it was done.


Poetic means having things in common with poetry. So if a piece of prose was unusually terse, highly distilled and full of sense images, I might call it poetic. I wouldn't describe a lyric or a poem as poetic, because that would be like describing a mountain as mountainous or a wine as grapey. But if the work were filled with archaic terms pulled out of 18th century verse, without a really good reason to put them there, I'd call it lame. Poetry uses terms that are currently in use. Horrendous, crap doggerel might use archaic terms to prove the poet is familiar with them, but ew.

Today's poetry might sound conversational, but the ones who do it right, who deserve for their work to end up in anthologies and for themselves to get tenure in their English departments and get named poet laureate of their states, they don't dash that stuff off. What they do is not easier to do than write in sestina form. They know how to write sestinas, but being poets of the century they live in, they don't often do it. They spend weeks or months with a poem in the works, changing bits of it here and there to get it just right. And they'll take it out on the road and continue to tweak until it's as good as they can get it. This guy, Roland Flint, might sound like he's just talking, but the "prose poem" in the link was years in the making. And like a lot of popular poets, he learned how to be a bit of a showman as well.

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:44 AM

View PostDannyDep, on 17 March 2012 - 04:44 PM, said:

Poetry, to me, is more of an emotion from the mind :unsure: , where as,
Music is more an emotion from the soul. :rolleyes:


I know what you mean, Danny.... but I suspect you knew that. :)

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:06 AM

There is a secret to reading/reciting poetry. It has a rhythm, but the rhythm is not the rhyme. In fact, a good reciter of poetry will rarely put the emphasis on the last syllable. The rhyme becomes a soft beat and the rhythm is whatever word the speaker wants to emphasis; what he feels is most important. In that sense, it is the precursor to Rap.

Take a sonnet with its exacting pattern of syllables and rhymes. If you emphasis that pattern, that is all you have done. But if you emphasis your important words, you are adding another layer of complexity to the poem. The ear still hears the basic structure and the explicit rhymes, but then it savors the unexpected added by the interpretation.

In a song, there is the thrill of two more layers of complexity; the rhythmic pattern of the beat and emphasis added by the notes.

Lyric contests, on this site and elsewhere that seek for perfection in the word structure of a song, bother me because they are stripping away all these exciting possibilites. Ken

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 02:37 PM

Joan,
Do you feel that in most highly popular successful music that a true "good" poetic song environment exists? Seriously, If you look at the top 100 songs, I don't think it exists.

It can exist, but not in the mainstream. Sure one or two gems get by, but overall there seems to be a much different criteria for songs verses poetry as far as the "industry standard".

As you said, a verse written by your 8 years old has a place in your heart no matter if its a song or a poem.

I listened to the Avett Brothers recently and seen them perform live. Remarkable, but the 4 people I was with "didn't get it" and to some extent, I didn't. What it does do, is if you have a truely open mind, allows you to give a second and third pass to catch the layers. Most people will pass on the first listen.

Plus, as influences go, just one listen squanders that completely. Cant tell you how many times on some stuff that I did a nth pass and caught something new if the song was complex enough.

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 03:10 PM

Porcupine, to take a swipe at your question I need to assume that when you say poetic, you more or less mean cerebral. A shot aimed at the head, not the gut. So here's one for you: Do you consider Tori Amos and Regina Spektor ("Laughing With") to be making highly popular successful music? I do, but it's not Top 20; it's Alternative. Different scale, different advertising budget, different target demographic. Millions of college students, 20-somethings and hipsters seek out and listen to challenging lyrics that might be accompanied by dark, gnarly piano chords. But compare TA's and RS's careers to Lady Gaga's and you're not looking at the same arenas, the same numbers, so it all depends on how you define success. Judee Sill ("The Kiss") spent her late 20s opening for rock acts at huge venues and recorded under David Geffen in the 1970s. To me that's success. The non-Gaga women I mentioned all write/wrote cerebral, and they have legions of die-hard fans. I'm never surprised to see one of them on Letterman or Conan, and getting on those shows is a huge commercial accomplishment. But compare their success to the people who win Grammys for Album of the Year and their careers are smaller. I think the more cerebral the lyrics, the catchier the tunes need to be if you want the widest possible acceptance (think Jason Mraz). And most of my favorite songs are written to tunes that are, while lovely, not catchy. Not-catchy isn't a criticism, just a reason that it's more likely to be played in an alt or adult contemporary niche act than in heavy rotation on the radio.

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 03:16 PM

Very interesting discussion. I am learning a great deal. All the different perspectives give insight as to how any of our work is viewed or listened to or enjoyed. I write my work to share and connect emotionally with readers or listeners. We are all different in many ways but yet the same.

Although many here do not agree on what is poetic or too poetic for a lyric it's evident that all have a love for words and expressing oneself in their own unique way. Add a layer of music with any number of instruments and a voice and it becomes something we can't seem to live without.

Thanks for all your posts on this and allowing me to put my opinion in.

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:59 AM

Here are the things I feel about poetry/lyircs and being "poetic", which was meant as follwoing the guidelines of writing poetry v.s. writing song lyrics.

A successful lyric needs to connect with a listener. Since music moves the lyric quickly past the listener’s consciousness, the lyric needs to communicate with immediacy, clarity and focused impact. Too dense or complex, the listener misses the point. The meaning of a song lyric can be ambiguous, as with many of Bob Dylan’s great songs. Still, the great majority of successful song lyrics succeed because they’re clear and elegantly stated—even to the point of repetition.

Both poems and lyrics need to capture a listener’s imagination. Yet lyrics need to be easily caught through the ear. A song lyric filled with abstract words and dense, obscure phrases will be simply be unintelligible to most listeners.

Certain words and phrases are smooth to sing. Others can be difficult or awkward. Phrases like “recalcitrant octopuses eat tart grapefruit” are not likely to attract many major league recording artists. Are the words “sing-able”? If your word sounds do not flow and sing well, there’s apt to be a problem. If your lyrical phrases prompt awkward stops and stumbles, there’s definitely a problem.

In a song lyric, the music moves quickly and every word counts. The best lyric writers use as few words as possible to set a scene and evoke a feeling. Few songs that gain radio play these days are longer than three or four minutes.

Using poetic devices may create a multilayer definition, but hearing the song on on pass doesn't give the listener the opportunity of fully understanding it's impact, in essence losing the listener who goes on to other things.

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 10:24 AM

View Postporcupine, on 04 April 2012 - 07:59 AM, said:

Here are the things I feel about poetry/lyircs and being "poetic", which was meant as follwoing the guidelines of writing poetry v.s. writing song lyrics.

A successful lyric needs to connect with a listener. Since music moves the lyric quickly past the listener’s consciousness, the lyric needs to communicate with immediacy, clarity and focused impact. Too dense or complex, the listener misses the point. The meaning of a song lyric can be ambiguous, as with many of Bob Dylan’s great songs. Still, the great majority of successful song lyrics succeed because they’re clear and elegantly stated—even to the point of repetition.

Both poems and lyrics need to capture a listener’s imagination. Yet lyrics need to be easily caught through the ear. A song lyric filled with abstract words and dense, obscure phrases will be simply be unintelligible to most listeners.

Certain words and phrases are smooth to sing. Others can be difficult or awkward. Phrases like “recalcitrant octopuses eat tart grapefruit” are not likely to attract many major league recording artists. Are the words “sing-able”? If your word sounds do not flow and sing well, there’s apt to be a problem. If your lyrical phrases prompt awkward stops and stumbles, there’s definitely a problem.

In a song lyric, the music moves quickly and every word counts. The best lyric writers use as few words as possible to set a scene and evoke a feeling. Few songs that gain radio play these days are longer than three or four minutes.

Using poetic devices may create a multilayer definition, but hearing the song on on pass doesn't give the listener the opportunity of fully understanding it's impact, in essence losing the listener who goes on to other things.

Porcupine



With all due respect, Porcupine, what you have delineated is not the difference between Poetry and (Song) Lyrics but the difference between language delivered visually vs orally. It's the difference between a chapter and a lecture. Some poetry is designed to be delivered orally and some visually. All that you say applies to lyrics, generally applies to spoken poetry also. Go check out Garrison Keillor's "Good Poems" [that were selected because they were found to be effective when read on the radio and people heard them in the midst of their usual day-to-day routine] and the various threads and controversies that followed.

I think the more important consideration is that in a song, the lyric is only a member of the ensemble - as opposed to being the soloist - and so it's role which may be major or a small but important supporting cast member - Vis-à-vis the music.

It is instructive to look at Paul Simon's reconstruction of Edwin Arlington Robinson's "Richard Cory" - which works just fine as spoken poetry - in adapting it to a modern song. But form follows function and there will always be modifications in the form of any piece of art in moving it from one venue to another.

In written pieces much repetition is annoying, but in spoken pieces - i.e., transmitted via an oral tradition - it is extremely helpful, but you would never see a multiply repeated "CHORUS" structure in a poem written for visual delivery - I don't think you would see a Bridge either, since you don't need that sonic break up.
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Posted 04 April 2012 - 01:58 PM

I guess you may be right. I have experienced very little oral poetry. I've experienced reading it alot more, so Im not sure the rules to speak it, although meter, pitch, volume and tone are accents...almost like story reading.

The picture I am painting here is that you may never find many, if any, top 40 hits that are very dense or complex. If it happened or happens, its only on the coat tails of a popular hit from a well known artist or an acceptance to it based on huge changes in culture of the time.

all Im saying is that if lyrics are complex and very dense, having multi layers (meaning you have to think about the underlying meaning) it may lose its meaning, being only effected by listening rather reading the words. Now if you read both lyrics and poetry, that's a different story.

The nature of music is that something has to draw you in with a listen the majority of the time. The majority of the time, poetry would be through the read.

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 11:40 AM

View PostJoan, on 03 April 2012 - 03:10 PM, said:

Porcupine, to take a swipe at your question I need to assume that when you say poetic, you more or less mean cerebral. A shot aimed at the head, not the gut. So here's one for you: Do you consider Tori Amos and Regina Spektor ("Laughing With") to be making highly popular successful music? I do, but it's not Top 20; it's Alternative. Different scale, different advertising budget, different target demographic. Millions of college students, 20-somethings and hipsters seek out and listen to challenging lyrics that might be accompanied by dark, gnarly piano chords. But compare TA's and RS's careers to Lady Gaga's and you're not looking at the same arenas, the same numbers, so it all depends on how you define success. Judee Sill ("The Kiss") spent her late 20s opening for rock acts at huge venues and recorded under David Geffen in the 1970s. To me that's success. The non-Gaga women I mentioned all write/wrote cerebral, and they have legions of die-hard fans. I'm never surprised to see one of them on Letterman or Conan, and getting on those shows is a huge commercial accomplishment. But compare their success to the people who win Grammys for Album of the Year and their careers are smaller. I think the more cerebral the lyrics, the catchier the tunes need to be if you want the widest possible acceptance (think Jason Mraz). And most of my favorite songs are written to tunes that are, while lovely, not catchy. Not-catchy isn't a criticism, just a reason that it's more likely to be played in an alt or adult contemporary niche act than in heavy rotation on the radio.


There are some great points here and I'm coming out of lurking on these forums to address this topic. Sorry that I'm coming in a couple weeks since the last post.

I am personally a fan of both esoteric lyrics as well as lyrics that tell a simple story. It's a tug of war I have to play with myself when I think about writing. Do I want to write what sounds cool to me at the expense of connecting to a broader audience? For me, I gravitate toward the more obtuse lyrics and for the most part I have no shame in writing that way even though in the traditional songwriting community these lyrics can tend to be viewed as less worthy. Worthy is really up to the person writing it though isn't it?

I use one of my favorite bands as an example: Wilco. They have never been commercially successful, yet they have a devoted following. Their popularity didn't come suddenly with a hit single on the charts. They had to work their rear ends off to get where they are with constant touring. But Jeff Tweedy always stayed true to who he was as a writer...and with someone like him I don't think there is any other way. For those that aren't familiar with Wilco here is a sample lyric:

I am an American aquarium drinker
I assassin down the avenue
I'm hiding out in the big city blinking
What was I thinking when I let go of you

Many will see that as randomly assembled rubbish and that's their opinion and they are entitled to it. Those that like this kind of music find it quite enjoyable. I have to think about the meaning of the lyrics and in fact, I can assign my own meaning. I realize this type of thing is completely out of whack for top 40 radio. I mean, the guy is using assassin as a verb. And American aquarium drinker? I eat these lines up, but I'm a minority I suppose.

All this to say, lyrics can be poetic, obtuse, straightforward, simple, or whatever else. It's all in what you want to say. And as long as you go in with your eyes open to what your commercial appeal will be and whether that matters to you in the least then I suppose it's all good.

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 03:29 AM

View Postneuroron, on 04 April 2012 - 11:24 AM, said:

what you have delineated is not the difference between Poetry and (Song) Lyrics but the difference between language delivered visually vs orally. It's the difference between a chapter and a lecture. Some poetry is designed to be delivered orally and some visually.



Definitely enjoying this thread. I almost thought I was going to get to the end without anyone touching on what I was thinking but this little quote comes pretty close.


To me, lyrics can be unintelligibly poetic or crystal clear simple... so long as their sound fits the song. Sometimes it's enough to love a song for how it sounds and not know what the words are. Sometimes it's enough to know all the words and not know what they mean. And every once in a while I really look at the words for a song I already love the sound of and get blown away by the meaning behind it.

There's an artist that I'm a huge fan of that keeps pulling the same trick on me and I fall for it every time. He writes a song that I hear, fall in love with, learn every word to, and listen to over and over. Every time, I think the words he's singing just might be the most sublime poetry I've ever heard. And it isn't until I sit down and actually look at the lyrics on a piece of paper that I realize how simple and obvious they are. I love that.

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:51 AM

View PostCToronto, on 10 May 2012 - 03:29 AM, said:

View Postneuroron, on 04 April 2012 - 11:24 AM, said:

what you have delineated is not the difference between Poetry and (Song) Lyrics but the difference between language delivered visually vs orally. It's the difference between a chapter and a lecture. Some poetry is designed to be delivered orally and some visually.


But not a single "song" that I know if is intended to be ONLY read.

I guess what it boils down for is who are you writing/singing for or to. If you write for yourself and the people that can appreciate more cerebral lyrics, fine. Everyone comes from different influences not only in writing, but in listening (if you only listen to the bay city rollers, thats who you'll will write like).

This is a site where musicians/songwriters/lyric writers go to. for the vast majority anyway, so the chances of people wanting to have a more cerebral lyric content are greater, but for the masses...If a song takes 4 or 5 passes to figure it out, my thought is most people will pass on it after the first take if there wasn't anything musicial to draw them in or a big hook thats too infectious to ignore.

Personally, I dont get too cerebral in lyric content. I do have some clever lines and interesting stories, but I see at listening rooms and open mics and the such, people just shut off if they cant immediately connect with either a great voice, melody or something unique obviously a guy in a top hat has your attention for 6 seconds ....(I always thought it would be nice in a listening room, to read along with handed out lyrics, but its too time consuming and most places dont want the extra trash)

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 03:53 PM

well im a poet first, songwriter second. Although that has changed with time but my poetic influences still exist. And i think that sure there is a fine line between the 2 that at many times may seem blurry but if YOU are content with it and like it, keep it exactly the same because before anyone elses, YOUR opinion is the one that is the most important
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