The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #129637 Message #2912389
Posted By: Marje
23-May-10 - 04:12 AM
Thread Name: May the best song win
Subject: RE: May the best song win.....
It's interesting to note that many of the greatest song writers in other musical styles were just that - song writers. Even Carole King wrote songs for others to sing, and was known for that before she became successful as a singer. It can be argued that the standard of songs in pop music began to slide when too many performers started doing self-indulgent songs that they'd written themselves.
Of course there are artistes who are brilliant at both composition and performance (Lennon and McCartney, Ewan MacColl, Joni Mitchell, Dylan) but they're the exception rather than the rule. There are plenty of professional singers on the folk circuit who sing their own songs, but in many cases the reputation of the singer relies just one or two of their songs that are truly memorable. (I'm not belittling that: I'd love to have the talent to write one really excellent song that I'd be remembered for).
The truth - as I think Larry is implying -is that most self-penned songs are so mediocre that no one but the composer would want to sing them. If someone else can take the song and interpret it their own way, and it still sounds good, then you're at least some of the way to writing a good song.
So if you're judging songs rather than performances, maybe the way to do it is to have one singer, or a panel of, say, three singers, to whom all the songs could be assigned for the competition. That way all the songs would be treated equally, by professional singers who knew their craft, and the audience/judges would not be put off by a poor singer ruining a good song, or blinded by the talents of a brilliant one singing a dull song.