It’s an amazing thing to get cut off from civilization for a little while. It forces you to enter someplace else – yourself, your thoughts, even the thoughts of someone else – Nick Hornby’s book “Songbook” is perfect for this.
The essays are short, to the point, and revolve around music. But they don’t just encapsulate chord changes or rhyming patterns. The songs are good. And meaningful. And thoughtful. The essays explain through some fantastic, honest, accessible writing why these songs are songs Nick Hornby loves. And it’s not just about “I like that line” or “I like that solo” – it’s WHY that one line is so brilliant, explaining all seven kinds of love (according to the Greeks) in seven or eight words. I’ve pretty much added “Nick Hornby liking a song I wrote” to my bucket list.
And he asks an amazing question – “Who knows how many great songs I’ve missed…songs written and performed by people who are your friends but not, unfortunately, mine?”
Which leads me to ask – What are YOUR favorite songs by your friends?
I was inspired by Robert Frost’s poem – specifically a comic rendition of it – that questions the reader’s choice in the forest. Do you choose the path everyone else does? or do you choose the road less traveled?
but does it lead back to the same place?
does it matter which road you choose as long as you’re happy?
and what if the other road WOULD make you happier? what then?
I woke up at 3am with the song in my head. I like the song. I hope you do too.
In the past year or so I’ve become obsessed with Frank Turner, a singer/songwriter/acoustic rock god from Winchester, England. ( http://www.frank-turner.com ). His lyrics are amazing, dense, beautiful (although a friend of mine said he sounds like he’s trying to write himself out of a workhouse – I’m not really sure what that means) and his music sounds a lot like what my music sounds like in my head.
He has this great song from an earlier album “Sleep Is For The Weak” (the most recently released album, “Recovery” is amazing – get it now) called “Romantic Fatigue” in which he writes about one of the drawbacks of being a songwriter. “I never know which song I should play her/each melody is/a memory of a not-forgotten failure/when I pull out my guitar tonight/to do what I do/remember I probably didn’t write this song for you.” http://youtu.be/FSq6mxb2PEM
it’s brilliant. I’m pretty sure that out of all the songs I’ve written about someone, I either didn’t want THEM to know it was about them, or I didn’t want OTHER people to know the song was about them, or, which has happened a great majority of the time, each verse in the song is a different vignette of a moment in life, of a different person, and just might not be about you.
Do other songwriters find this happen? is it always about one person? and, more importantly, do you TELL THEM? 🙂