LYRICS

in this chapter i am going to attempt to deconstruct the architecture of LYRICS for songwriting....(which is something that most of the creative world has been doing for the past century....deconstructing....in painting, music, architecture, et al)...when i started writing this stuff, i was basically following the patterns devised by TIN PAN ALLEY...("it smells like rotten fish...back behind Geffen's Deli....i'm singin' in my blue suede shoes....down on Tin Pan Alley" ©2017 mechanical arts/bmi)....ya know, a "melody" with some artful harmonic structure, and some semblance of rhythm (with or without syncopation...as most white genres may have a beat that you can goose-step or polka to, but it ain't got no gris-gris or syncopation)...all concocted with one goal in mind: to steal the kiddie's lunch money...so, these popular songs have traditionally had a couple of verses, a chorus, and maybe a BRIDGE (which is supposed to give you a brief respite from the song, before thrusting you back into a chorus repeated ad nauseam)...this is what is known in the biz as a "title push"....Pharrell Williams'  "HAPPY" had a simple verse and about fifty repeated choruses....(but what do i know?...that was the biggest hit of the year...and sold 43 million streams..which paid Pharrell a whopping $2700...but that's another subject)...so, the art of writing a bridge is a wonderful aspect of songwriting....how weird and convoluted can you make it, before somehow deftly wending your way back to the general narrative?....but, the first challenge in creating a piece of art (or a piece of commercial crap) is to seduce...to create a space that entices one to enter and scope out what's being proffered...which means that the first line should not only capture the attention, but also should basically artfully announce what the song is about....so, my "TINSELTOWN" starts with "platinum blonde in a gold Cadillac...racing down a road where there's no turning back"...and using color as a narrative device: "on the silver screen in the golden state"...(yes, you're correct...just another "merry melody for morose malcontents" ™mechanical arts/ bmi)...in other words, another little ditty about a suicide in Hollywood.....or "land as flat as a fryin' pan....scraping out a living with your hands"....the opening lines of "QUARTER", another uplifting saga about sharecropping and the depression...you might also embrace alliterations...'drinking in a dive on a dead-end street, drowning in his defeat" (also from "QUARTER")...but, you get the idea...paint a dang picture and start strong...my father was a painter, who cranked out some fifty paintings a year for over eighty years...as he was inspired by classical music, he would hurl the paint at large canvases, while the speakers would rattle the windows...(when my friends would come over and observe this in horror, they would ask, "what is he doing?"....and, i would reply, "he's just doing his thing"....so, as a cow-chip off the old block, i write songs that are inspired by visuals...photos, paintings, and the world around me....thus, my songs are (hopefully) very descriptive and tell their stories without needing the aid of the music videos that i create for them....all of this is very helpful, when tackling the MIGRATION saga, as we are exploring America from coast to coast....so, the point here is that don't be just another songster who is solely inspired by other music...as we are all great mimics, you are only going to end up with a bunch of music that sounds like all the other music out there....so, i strongly advocate what i call CROSS POLLINATION...take inspiration wherever you can find it, and morph it into a musical interpretation....because that's what we're here for...to take what we came in with, and transform it into something better...to give and receive love...and to be fully present in this eternal moment....

and, you might also attempt to create a project or a portfolio that attempts more than just tackling one song at a time....i did forty years of that, before manifesting MIGRATION....which allows me to work on a larger scale and write songs that each take you a step of the way, and lead to the next tale, so you can get from coast to coast...this transforms your songwriting from endless ditties about your "feelings" in which you are the chief protagonist, into more universal tableaus (becauseeverything you create is a self-portrait, so don't worry about getting lost in space by thinking universally)...besides, this world is drowning in love songs (what the industry calls "one on one songs")...i have written 300-400 of these sappy sagas, and what has it gotten me?...this lousy blog...

i keep referring to "craft" and "art", so let's sort this out....there are tons of craftspeople in the music biz...fabulous singers...mega musicians, who can play their ass off...wonderful producers....all possessing skill sets....and creating wonderful stuff....but, despite the much maligned omnipresent term ARTIST, most of these groovy folks are not "artists"....because my definition of "artist" is someone who takes great risks to create something truly new and unique....it's a high calling...to wander out on the living edge and explore and accumulate materials to bring back and transform into something transcendent...ART.....'tain't easy being green...and croaking in a new way...as Oscar Wilde once said, "if an idea isn't dangerous, it doesn't deserve to be called an "idea" at all".....so, either knock or lure the audience out of their comfort zone, and challenge them to see this world in a new (and more positive) way....

i will leave you with that....and, next time, boys and girls, we will delve further into crafting lyrics, melodies, and harmonies....and make some beautiful virtual music together ....btw, this blog can be found on the MALAPROP page of my website....www.donaldmccrea.com...

and on the "ARTIST BLOG" page of my REVERBNATION site: www.reverbnation.com/donaldmccrea