A Song Is Just A Shirt

I started on the web in 1996, when websites consisted pretty much of only words on a grey background and there was no such thing as high speed internet, just dial-up connections that loaded pages literally at a snail’s pace.

There were very few, if any, message boards back then. Instead, we had newsgroups that you subscribed to through your email software. I joined a group called rec.music.makers.songwriting in the hopes of connecting with other songwriters and maybe even exposing some of my own material. People would post things, just like on message boards, and others would respond. It wasn’t as nasty as it is now on places like Twitter, most responses were cordial.

One day, however, someone was asking about song form; should all songs have choruses, verses, bridges? Something to that effect. There were a bunch of opinions. I posted mine. I’m going from memory here, but essentially what I said is that a song can be anything you like, but it still has to have some kind of understandable form if you want someone else to listen to it or buy it. I said that a shirt still has to have a place to put your arms and your head and the rest of you, otherwise, it isn’t really a shirt. Someone responded pretty harshly, something I won’t repeat here. I’d never experienced anything like it before. It is still nothing like the abuse you often see on social media these days, but it stung.

But the reason I brought this up is because I know there are songwriters out there who push the boundaries and try to do something different, and I admire that. However, I still believe most of us have to make sure our songs like shirts; there has to be some kind of identifiable form. Otherwise, nobody is going to buy, or even like, the shirt. You can try to find a way to make a really unique shirt. There are many, many styles and colours, sizes and shapes of shirts to experiment with. But it still has to work as a shirt.

What do you think?

IJ

An Old Song

I recently found a crusty old cassette that I recorded sometime in the late 70’s and managed to find a cassette player (!!) to play it on. I wanted to transfer the whole thing over to digital to preserve it, just for my own amusement. I barely recognized the songs, let alone the inspiration behind them! Hang on to your old songs, even if you aren’t particularly fond of them…you never know how much pleasure it will give you many years down the road ūüôā

That got me to thinking about my more recent “old” songs.

And then I started playing a few of them, just to entertain myself. I came upon one that I recorded in the late 90’s called Sweet Cinderella. I’ve been thinking about the notion of doing a Facebook Live “concert” one of these days because I haven’t really performed in awhile. So I wanted to test out my equipment and see how it would look and sound. The mix is a little off, the guitar a little too hot, but here’s the video:

Songs Of Love Foundation

I received this email from Anis A., the Director of Music and Special Projects for the Songs of Love Foundation:
“The Songs of Love Foundation is a¬†national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization¬†that creates free, personalized, original¬†songs to uplift children and teens currently¬†facing tough medical, physical or¬†emotional challenges. Each CD is¬†professionally produced with lyrics¬†containing the child’s name and¬†references to all of his or her favorite¬†activities, things, people, and pets. Songs¬†are written and performed in any¬†language in the musical style that the¬†child likes best (pop, R&B, rap, rock,¬†alternative, etc.), by a variety of talented¬†professionals.
“Songwriters who have written for us have going to signing record deals and even winning a Grammy. Jason Mraz is just one of them. Not to mention Michael Bolton, David Lee Roth, Itaal Shur and many more.
“We are looking for songwriters that can help us, by giving back with the talents that they were given, to some really deserving kids and teens. If a songwriter feels they can create a one-of-a-kind song for a child/teen then we would greatly appreciate their talents.”
If you would like to contribute to the good works of this organization, here is some contact info:
Email:

Welcome!

This website is meant for songwriters of all sorts. I’ve been writing songwriting articles since 1996 and pretty much all of them are still available! To see a list of all of the articles, you can go right here. Otherwise I welcome you to peruse the site whichever way you want.

Happy writing ūüôā

IJ

22 Writers for 1 Song?!?

The official song of the 2015 Pan Am Games, “Together We Are One” sung by Serena Ryder, apparently has 22 writers to its credit.

I can hear the jokes now: “Which word did you write?”

Seriously, this is the music biz at its worst.¬† Everybody wants a piece of the action so everyone has to have their name on the credits, even if you were just sitting in the room. It’s greedy and ridiculous. And the songwriter who did the most work or who came up with the idea (we’ll likely never know who that was), is pretty much ripped off because he/she has to share whatever income the song generates, along with getting lost in credits crowded by 21 other people.

The song itself is your standard pop arena anthem with nothing special to it.  Other than the fact there are 22 writer credits.

Honestly.

IJ