Well hell. Somewhere in working on this obsessively day in and day out i’ve actually started to come to the end. The finish line is near. I’m even ready to send tracks off to Lauren. I’m arranging for the cover art, getting a track to Matthew Broyles for guitar… i’m actually going to finish this in a couple weeks.
Don’t worry, announcements about the box set are coming. Just hang on.
What is there for me to say? Most people at some point in their life dabble with writing a song. Or at least poetry. A carefully worded essay is the same thing, except for the whole rhyming part. Everyone has their own way, and every songwriter their own method.
Most of my lyrics writing comes at the end, but not all. For the 3rd song for instance i stopped one afternoon early on in the music writing to write the lyrics (BA S3 Alice) since i was really feeling a mood and word ideas were coming.
It is harder for me to get in a zone where words flow as easily as music because i’m more practiced at music. I sit down every single day, rain or shine to make music, so there is no warming up necessary. I need to be very focused to work on the lyrics.
The toughest part is getting the angle of the song right. There’s a larger story to keep in mind, but being to into story telling about it makes for bad lyrics. It’s very easy to make shitty lyrics by focusing too much on the fact that you’re telling a story. A character singing, telling you what’s happening to them can be disastrous done wrong. I need to be on constant alert.
I will make bad bits and not worry that i’m making something shitty if i know it’s in the interest of getting the first draft down. It’s far easier to go and turn bad bits into good ones than it is to stare at a blank page, so getting down a first draft is essential. We can rework it tomorrow. There are times i will make several completely different sets of lyrics for an entire song because it can take up until version 3 that good stuff starts really being there.
Another challenge is making some character’s song into a universal expression. A character is singing about a specific set of circumstances, but i want a listener to be able to sing the song some afternoon and feel like it describes some aspect of them. This is done by making sure the song concentrates at appropriate times on a key aspect of the human condition, of which their particular circumstance is only one example. For instance, Connor may be singing about his plight, but the essence of his plight is loss. Loss is universal. If i do it correctly, the listener can internalize it, not just view it as some shmoe’s problem they’re bitching about.
As far as my particular style of wordplay, i have little to say. I like alliteration, i like clever rhyme schemes and i struggle, a LOT, to find clever ways to get across the endless information songs involving an operatic story demand be conveyed. But my style is based on years of making songs and i can’t really sum certain things up.
My favorite lyricist is hands down Bob Dylan. Number two is Roger Waters. Between the two of them i can get enough inspiration to last several lifetimes.
I often open an online rhyming dictionary, which is a bit of a personal joke with me since i almost never get a damn word from it. I particularly like writing lyrics outside, but i will sit in my studio chair and scribble away when i’m really motivated and can’t be bothered to go somewhere all special just to scribble in my book.
I write longhand in a notebook. There are a few times i’ve written lyrics on my computer, but the vast, vast majority of the time it’s actual writing on paper.
So i guess that’s it. Phase 5 will be vocals and Phase 6 mixing. I can mix for years. I was mixing the Atompunk up until the very hour before i released the last act.
So the Bonus Album is coming. It’s not really an Act, it’s over 50 minutes long. It’s an entire album, full production, all the bells and whistles.