I’ve been toying with the idea of seeing if I can make a switch.
A couple times a week, while writing, I consider writing a song. On one hand it is surprisingly undaunting. On the other. Well, there is extra daunt.
Since I’ve been flexing the “words” muscle the idea of writing lyrics doesn’t sound as challenging as it once might have. Get an idea, tell a story. Simple right?
I’m not saying I’m winning a Grammy. But if I can write 500 words about hating mayo. I can at the least write two verses and a chorus. Well. I think I can.
For all this “writing words” muscle work. The music flex...well I need to work on that a little. (read: a lot). The good news is that this could be an opportunity to really look at how I wrote in the past and improve upon it.
When I started writing songs back in the Bronze Age, it was mostly because I wasn’t a good enough guitar player to play other people’s songs. As I improved. I emulated. Eventually things started to sound a little bit original. What I found though, was that I never wrote melodies first. I would write chord progressions and match some words to it that followed the root notes along. To my ear this always sounds very elementary. Maybe I’m being hard on myself but that’s how it felt. I’d be amazed when I’d hear a song by someone I admired as a writer and upon playing the song would realize it was 2 chords the whole way through. The melody made it. Not the guitar.
I’m really not sure how to flip that switch...but I’m going to at least give it a try.
All this brought me to the thought that songwriting seems to traditionally be a young mans game. Perhaps it’s the luxury of angst and free time. I don’t feel like the things I would write now would be any less energetic and truthful than 25 years ago but I for sure don’t want to write the equivalent of “plain front dockers dad rock”. I think of musicians who I think are still relevant entertainers as well as writers, and their works don’t feel that way so it can be done.
I still feel 25 a lot. Or at the least allow that to be my mindset. I know I’m a lot smarter in some ways than I was at 25. A lot happier for sure. Will happier equal lamer?
I guess we will just have to see.