Aug 27

Finally I’m blogging again.

Many people tell me that unless I blog on a regular basis it will negatively affect my Search Engine ranking. They’re probably right, but I don’t blog for Google. I blog for me and for my readers. Yes, both of you. ;-)

Much like the way I approach my songwriting, which hasn’t always been the best advice I’ve given myself, I write when I have something I need to say musically or lyrically. That’s pretty much it.

Of course, given a specific project like “Obsessions” that I’m working on with Mike Wich, there’s a job to do and so I write.

I’ve heard many people say that it’s good to write just anything to get it all down, get the juices flowing. It sparks the imagination and it improves your skills. While that may be true, sometimes it just doesn’t feel right. Sometimes your creative ship is sailing the Doldrums and there’s no wind in your sails.

I no longer worry about that. I know it’s just my brain incubating my next idea. I’ve always had a problem though, and many of you may feel the same way, but ever since I was a kid I noticed there are people that know good music, and those that wouldn’t know it if it crawled up their pant leg.

There’s also lots of “in-betweenies”. Probably more of them than all others combined. Those are the folks that know good music and who think poorly written songs are good too.

It’s not entirely their fault. It’s what they’re exposed to. Year in, year out, whatever is fashionable or is on the radio people generally accept as being a good song. I’m guessing that they feel that since record companies listen to thousands of songs to find the right tunes that will be a “hit”, these tunes have gotten filtered through and therefore must be good.

It’s not science though, it’s the music business. Don’t believe me? Think about the last time you saw a movie that had “rave reviews”, “two thumbs up”, “a triumph!” that turned out to be a complete piece of crap.

I used to write songs that sounded good at the time, but then after a few weeks of playing and listening I realized it din’t really work as a song. To some extent I’ve felt embarrassed that I wrote them. I actually wrote a song years ago called “Sally No One Saves it Anymore”. (I sincerely apologise to the world.)

These are the types of songs I’ve written that I used to call “bullshit songs”. Not that they were all so terrible, but let’s just say they weren’t my best work. I remember getting lambasted for saying that, but I’ve recently felt vindicated after reading an interview with Billy Joel in Performing Songwriter Magazine.

Basically he was saying that there were songs on his albums he didn’t think should have been there. People still liked them though and after a while he stopped wondering why. People will like what they like or what they are told they are supposed to like by radio stations and peer pressure.

I was watching a show about dog breeding and they showed how successive offspring from dogs that were great sniffers could eventually be bred into the world’s greatest bomb sniffing dogs the world has ever seen. What was also amazing is that we are able to create new breeds very quickly. Sort of like grabbing the evolutionary remote control and hitting Fast Forward.

I think that sometimes people listen to crap because they were conditioned to think that crap was good. Radio stations get paid to play music they are told to play. Record producers are told to produce watered down “filtered for purity” songs that appeal to a wide audience. The audiences are eventually bred to buy music they are told is good. Obviously not all audiences, but you get the idea. It’s all getting “dumbed down”.

As brutal as I may sound, that’s how I see it.  I can’t really blame them for buying that stuff though. There are some parts of this country that a strong variety of music is sorely lacking as compared to other areas. There’s no much else to listen to.

It goes back to the commercial songwrtiters. They end up having to write formatted tunes (not that I’ve never done that myself) that cater to certain audiences. “Singer-songwriter” tunes as they are currently being labelled are the only songs that end up having the true purity of the songwriting art in my opinion. Many of those songs typically don’t get any airplay.

Thank God for the Digital Age. Where MySpace and FaceBook and YouTube rule. Where men are men, women are women, songs are songs and crap doesn’t have to be King.

Come on kiddies, sing along “digital killed the radio star….” ;-)


Oh on a side note (totally unrelated) but worthy of blogging, I’ve come up with the perfect newspeak for those types of songs that are just stream-of-consciousness writing. One idea goes to the next and the next having no continuity at all.

The term is “songranting”. Let’s try not to do that too much unless it’s a “bullshit song” ;-)