A Pontification on Writing Songs

I started thinking the other day about writing songs. Now don’t worry, I am not going into the song writing business, after all, I have enough problems writing blog posts that make sense, can you imagine what my songs would be like? Not that I haven’t tried.

My guess is anyone who spends long periods of time alone, whether driving or doing any solitary activity, has made up songs in their heads. After all you can only listen to the radio or CD’s or MP3″s for so long, hearing the same songs over and over. So it isn’t long before you start singing and making up songs.

Those of us of a certain age remember a day when there was nothing but AM radio to listen to. In those days you were quite limited to what you could listen to, especially during the day. At least at night you could pick up signals from some of the more powerful AM stations for quite some time. I remember picking up WBZ from Boston one night in Tennessee. During the day it was common to have to change the station every hour or so. And there was no scan or search feature on those radios, nope, you had to slowly turn the dial. And your listening pleasure was limited to where you happened to be. Top 40, talk radio, country or western, and who could forget Sunday morning gospel music in the south or various Lithuanian, Polish and French music.

But then life turned good. FM came into being, although even the music selection was somewhat limited, again based upon where you were. Nothing like elevator music to get you going on a long drive. Ah, those 1,ooo strings. This led to eight track tapes and cassettes. An improvement, but even that was tiring after a while, but at least it would fill the gaps. Yes those were truly the good old days. But once again I digress.

Where was I? Ah yes, writing songs. I consider myself from the in-between generation, growing up at the end of sixties and early seventies, a time of great change in the world. and I have to admit I was very naive about a lot of things. For example, when people would tell me that songs were about drugs and not really about what I thought, you know innocent things like love and breaking up. Now I have to admit there were a few out there which I agree were drug induced but then there were others, I just couldn’t believe. But now that I am older, I do see things differently.

Take the classic love song from Melanie, “I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates.” Obviously a nice little ballad about a girl who likes to umm, roller skate around the neighborhood. Maybe not so much.

I ride my bike, I rollerskate, don’t drive no car
Don’t go too fast, but I go pretty far
For somebody who don’t drive, I been all around the world
Some people say I done all right for a girl. –  Melanie Safka

Just saying. Although I do remember roller skates and roller skate keys.

Anyway, the problem I have always had when trying to make up a song, actually the same problem I have if I ever try to write poetry, is the last line of the verse or stanza or whatever it is called. I never can get it just right. It’s a lot like writing a blog post..

 

Roller Derby Firestar Girl’s Roller Skate, Size.-Jr 1

Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting: 126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs That Sell

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