Fine Lines- The Importance of Songwriting


Written by Mary Woodcock

04 October 2013

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Hello and welcome back to another James Kirby article.

Our topic today is what separates the fist pumping “Bangin’ chune” from the songs that stay with you for the rest of your days.

It seems to me that in these days of easy access to talent and the free fame or fail TV shows that bring us so much joy from exploiting peoples desires, that so much gets overshadowed by the vague promiscuity between one’s want and sense of worth.

A whole world of words now exist where nothing is truly being said, as we copy trends and yield our individuality just to be seen (or more appropriately heard.) And when it is said or even screamed at the top of our lungs, it becomes overshadowed by a two bit bass line and monotony.

Don’t get me wrong, we all love to walk into those places where the music is so overpowering that we start to bounce around (or “dance“) just to keep the status quo between our brains and consciousness but here’s the catch…

How many songs that you walk in and bounce to remain with you into old age? How many are simply temporary?

And how many can you look back on and hold an almost endless number of cherished memories to?

I refuse in this article to be biased toward genre because even the wildest comparisons of music still hold awestriking stories or socio-economic meanings.

I had an encounter a month ago which has stayed with me for every waking second since.

I was out at work and counting down the seconds until I could pick up my coat, click my heels and get “the hell out of dodge.” (I need to stop watching westerns!)

A stranger sits in the open in front of me as I am caught in paper work and begins to play to an almost faceless crowd. I thought nothing of it until she began to sing…

Not only did her voice put my world in slow motion but the sheer use of words made it begin to actually seem to stop!

I was peacefully lost in a crowd of people.

Each second since her words have somehow etched themselves into my history.

So I followed and learnt the songs myself and as I recited each line the meanings became more and more personal, relative and somehow held a lot of truth to myself.

A woman I had never met was telling me my life story as if I’d only heard it for the first time!

The woman is something that has seemingly been hard to find.

She is a storyteller and a wordsmith.

She can paint a fine portrait whilst putting you in the picture. Personal but at the same time tailoring to things we have all had. The structure can be freeflowing but a paradigm all at once as she falls back on old words in new ways to make hard-to-lose hooks coupled with beautiful metaphor and alliteration.

To me she was an artist posing as a busker.

For all that are now interested her name is Rebecca Madden and I do recommend that you take a listen. Even if the initial introduction isn’t your sort of thing, keep listening as the use of structure will get you thinking yourselves and hopefully help/inspire..

And this is my problem with the music industry these days.

Creativity, personality and soul seem to only make brief cameos in the “mainstream” and loosely named “charts.”

Where as the poet and the artist are frequently replaced by tracks to appeal to short attention spans.

John Martyn, Bob Dylan, Tracy Chapman, Simon and Garfunkle, John Lennon… The list goes on… Van Morrison… Hell, even Lady Gaga’s stuff before she was brought forwards as an actual artist!

I urge artists to just be themselves as we all have stories to tell and I will bet that others amongst us have had a similar experience. To me… I would rather have a haunting memory of a line echo through my mind than the average chorus pop by for a quick encounter.

The tune is (again to me) the background where as the song is a memory to remind us who we are and how far we’ve come.

Who knows, through Music Gateway you may collaborate on a song which becomes that next song that remains in people’s hearts for years to come.


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