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3.25.2011

LOST LYRICS

Rifling through files yesterday I ran across some poems I wrote in high school for a creative writing class.  I read them and giggled.  My vast and broad years of inexperience ceilinged the subject matter and depth of my writing.  Reading through those writings, it struck me that a creative writing teacher in high school has to get a fair measure of entertainment by just reading homework assignments:)  I read her comments and smiled at her generosity of words toward my mediocre to poor writing attempts (she might whip out her red pen if she read this blog)!  In the mix of stuff I had penned nearly 30 years ago, I found lyrics written for a song that had never been paired to music.  It was called “Fire and Ice”, inspired by a current event at the time – Russians had captured a small Alaskan fishing boat and crew off the Alaskan coast when they entered into what was then the Soviet Union’s waters.  The crew was never heard from again.   Now mind you, those lyrics were not top 40 material and never went any further than being mailed to a musician friend of mine and then sitting in a file for the past 30 years.  They were horrible lyrics.  I tried my hand at lyric writing again this past fall at the urging of a friend.  He had plucked a phrase of mine from an email and suggested I try my hand at writing lyrics to “Whether Conditions”.  To be honest, it was much, much harder than sitting down and writing a blog.  You can be wordy in a story, a recounting of an event, an opinion, a spin on something.  You cannot be wordy in lyric writing.  I struggled to condense, edit, re-write though I enjoyed the challenge of writing within such a tight parameter and in a way that is not familiar to me.  There was something kind of alluring about painting a picture through very few words.  I would very much like to try my hand at lyric writing again.  It’s a field of new that I want to discover.   So what makes great lyrics – words alone, the backdrop of music, a combination of lyrics-story-music-the right time, the singer’s interpretation?  I’m thinking that if there are songs topping the billboard charts with words that consist of constantly repeating phrases such as, “tonight's gonna be a good, good night” (Black Eyed Peas - "I Got A Feeling), I might stand a chance at writing lyrics.  I am wondering how long it took the lyricist to pen, “I Like Big Butts”? 

2 comments:

  1. How dare you accuse Sir Mix A Lot of poor lyrics! :))

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think your trying too hard. Just
    take the saying from...say...your fortune cookie and repeat it and repeat and repeat it....BAM...you got a hit

    ReplyDelete