Thursday, December 30, 2010

Songwriters , where art thou? - Article by Rory Kavanagh

Where are the lyrics that uplift our lives when we're in dark places?

Bob Dylan was often criticised for not possessing a voice suitable to match the songs he wrote. Dylan’s lyrics created a whirlwind of deep thought in the minds of all those who had the pleasure of hearing his music. His personality shone through the squeaks and groans of his voice. People listened to what he had to say and not how he said it. He will be remembered in the hearts and souls of many as one of the greatest songwriters of all time.

I turned on the radio yesterday and was assaulted by a sad excuse of a poor attempt at a pop song by Lady Gaga. Her music, as is the rest of the music world at the moment, is as generic and mundane as finding boots at the bottom of a lake while fishing. The lyrical content is not just unoriginal; it is idiotic. Her attempts at creating metaphors must have secondary English teachers throughout the world shuddering in agony as they cling to their poetry books, hoping that the future is brighter for them. Great writers only seem to exist in the underground scenes of rock, metal, blues and hip-hop. 

Why is it that our society yearns to hear lyrics so simple, that the idea of physically writing them on a piece of paper seems somewhat ridiculous? If they are not talking about how much of a ‘gangsta’ they are, they are singing about how easy it is to get them into bed. If these are your particular desired lifestyles, then by all means go out into the world and achieve your goals. However, it seems like people should be actuallylistening more to what these people have to say than just hearing it.

About two years ago, a good friend of mine introduced me to a band called Clutch. I immediately fell in love with this band. The groovy guitar riffs, the pounding bass sound and the jazzy drumbeats are all mashed together by Neil Fallon’s epic vocals. However, the greatest asset that this band possesses is their lyrics. Throughout their music career, they have engaged in flirting with the genres of rock, blues, metal and funk, and in each case they have produced gold. The sealing factor of overall musical perfection is their lyrics. Fallon writes for every man, woman and child. While their music is accessible to the majority of those willing to give them a go, their lyrics will have a profound effect on the majority of music listeners. The creativity, the personality and the themes are just some of the spell binding characteristics of Clutch’s lyrics. 

My problem is this: Why aren’t songwriters like this being exposed to the world? I mean, these lyrics uplift those in dark places in their lives. Music is often used to escape from the harsh realities of modern day living. Feelings of stress, frustration, anger and depression can be removed by throwing a great album on your CD player and getting lost in every aspect of the music, especially the lyrics.

Great lyricists seem to be a dying breed in the pop music culture. In my opinion, we are all losing out because of this. If you are an up and coming musician, I ask you as a favour: put your heart and soul into your lyrics. Write personally and I guarantee you will gain the respect of your peers. You don’t have to be Bob Dylan, but let your personality ring through in your songs and you will enjoy playing a lot more.

-Rory Kavanagh , Bornagainnihilist

1 comment:

  1. "as generic and mundane as finding boots at the bottom of a lake while fishing." Ha, brilliant!