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What makes a good song?

Cromdubh 10 Mar 05 - 03:20 PM
Bobert 10 Mar 05 - 05:52 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 10 Mar 05 - 06:52 PM
GUEST 10 Mar 05 - 07:03 PM
Marion 11 Mar 05 - 10:35 AM
Marion 11 Mar 05 - 10:36 AM
GUEST,HipFlaskAndy 11 Mar 05 - 11:43 AM
Cromdubh 11 Mar 05 - 02:30 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 11 Mar 05 - 03:02 PM
PoppaGator 11 Mar 05 - 03:55 PM
GUEST,MMario 11 Mar 05 - 03:59 PM
alanabit 12 Mar 05 - 03:29 AM
Cromdubh 12 Mar 05 - 05:18 PM
kendall 12 Mar 05 - 05:47 PM
Big Al Whittle 12 Mar 05 - 07:37 PM
kendall 12 Mar 05 - 09:17 PM
Brían 12 Mar 05 - 09:31 PM
Azizi 12 Mar 05 - 09:48 PM
Brían 13 Mar 05 - 12:51 AM
kendall 13 Mar 05 - 06:31 AM
Cromdubh 13 Mar 05 - 03:41 PM
mg 13 Mar 05 - 03:42 PM
Big Al Whittle 13 Mar 05 - 03:54 PM
kendall 14 Mar 05 - 07:30 AM
kendall 21 Mar 05 - 05:04 AM
kendall 21 Mar 05 - 05:19 AM
kendall 21 Mar 05 - 07:27 PM
Ebbie 21 Mar 05 - 11:44 PM
kendall 22 Mar 05 - 03:16 PM
Once Famous 22 Mar 05 - 03:31 PM
Cromdubh 16 Apr 05 - 05:08 PM
GUEST,Allen 16 Apr 05 - 05:45 PM
kendall 16 Apr 05 - 09:18 PM
chris nightbird childs 17 Apr 05 - 02:51 AM
GUEST,Scaramouche 17 Apr 05 - 07:34 AM
chris nightbird childs 18 Apr 05 - 01:02 AM
GUEST,Anonymous 09 May 05 - 10:23 PM
GUEST 10 May 05 - 04:45 PM
Cromdubh 10 May 05 - 06:43 PM
LilyFestre 10 May 05 - 06:49 PM
Cromdubh 15 Mar 07 - 03:48 PM
Scrump 16 Mar 07 - 09:10 AM
Tootler 16 Mar 07 - 02:23 PM
Jim Lad 16 Mar 07 - 03:33 PM
Cromdubh 04 Aug 09 - 08:20 PM
Steve Gardham 05 Aug 09 - 04:36 PM
GUEST,Paul 05 Aug 09 - 04:49 PM
Uncle_DaveO 05 Aug 09 - 05:49 PM
mg 05 Aug 09 - 09:35 PM
Cromdubh 16 Nov 09 - 01:22 PM
Alaska Mike 16 Nov 09 - 07:22 PM
Mr Red 17 Nov 09 - 09:17 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 17 Nov 09 - 09:56 AM
Cromdubh 14 Oct 13 - 04:51 PM
Cromdubh 08 Aug 16 - 04:40 PM
Cromdubh 04 Jan 18 - 10:23 AM
MisterMoccasin 04 Jan 18 - 01:53 PM
Cromdubh 05 Jan 18 - 11:06 AM
MisterMoccasin 05 Jan 18 - 04:59 PM
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Subject: What makes a good song?
From: Cromdubh
Date: 10 Mar 05 - 03:20 PM

I´ve been writing songs since I was about 12. Most of which fairly crap, but all in the way of developing a craft. Thankfully it was in my family, notably my father and Uncle (chordstrangler if anyone remembers him in this forum), to my view are great songwriters.

Chordstangler told me when I sang a few of my songs to him, told me to write something without the words I or me in it. At the time my songs were terribily teenage angst ridden.

Another person told me true art should be accesible at every level. A child and a professor should be able to take something from it.

You should never underestimate the stupidity and lack of attention of your audience, I was also told.



I would appricate your opinions on the subject.

Don´t know if people post songs here, but as an example here´s my lastest. A monster of a thing called "the Cereberus Blues"

When a song only exist in your head it´s hard to guage it´s merit.

Your opinions of it would also be very welcome, Don´t hold back please.


We´re the sons of bitches, nobody wanted
The runts of the litter at the hind teat,
Nobody gave us puppy love,
Raised on hate, we grew up mean.

You see our composition was something unique
but most merely saw some terrible freak,
When you´re so feared, you´re better off alone,
And three heads are better, better than one.

(Choras)
And our bark, bark, bark is worse than out bite, bite, bite.
but believe me son, you wouldn´t want to try it,
And if you want to get the hell out of here,
All you got to do is face up to your fear,
If fear had a face, it would need three,
If you want out, you gotta get past me.


So we lived in the urban undergrowth,
The dark seedy alleys where no decent soul goes,
We could be heard howling at night,
while you slept, we were sniffing outside.

Remeber three monkies, keep your nostiles closed
for we´ve left our scent on every lamppost,
And those in the light, try to deny it,
Their city so pure, was built on a sewer.

Choras,

In the gutter, we came apon a stranger,
A once beautiful, battered guitar,
His fine clothes, now thattered and thorn,
He must have fallen a long way down.

He sang a song so haunting
of a banished prince and a beautiful kingdom,
and before we know it, his three chord tricks,
Had leashes and collars around our necks,

He went for a walk and we were lead
from the land of the living to the relm of the dead,
He built us a kennel of burning steel,
Just outside the gates of hell.

Chorus


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Bobert
Date: 10 Mar 05 - 05:52 PM

Ahhhh, first of all, this song is introverted and, whereas, I might enjoy hearing it once, I wouldn't make a habit of listening to it. Hey, you asked...

Second of all it doesn't have a "hook"... Most good songs are written from the "hook" outward. A good hook makes for a good song. The rrest of the lyrics can be very average and the song will still be a good song... So, my advice is to try find a catchy hook first, then write the song...

Another good trick is to find an interesting event or story and use the song to tell it.... But make sure, again, that the hook is intack before writing any of it...

That's my advice...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 10 Mar 05 - 06:52 PM

Also, it's a tad long in my opinion. Another suggestion, get the spelling right. It makes a difference, even in your own head. If you can't respect yourself to make it right for you....

Another thing, the change in topic in the song is a bit jarring. Try to maintain a single story in one song. It helps with the focus for potential audience. To me those last three verses might go into a different song.

Anyway, as Bobert said, have a hook that can grab the listener. A good song doesn't HAVE to be memorable, just be remembered (at least in part). That's the hook. The tune might help with the memory as well if it's simple enough.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Mar 05 - 07:03 PM

Tell me a story. Not yours, but somehow mine. Choose words carefully. Rhyme is good.Cut and cut again. Look for vowels. Vowels sing, consonants don't. Study the great songs. Why are they great?
Don't imitate,innovate, but within the rules.Learn the rules,respect the rules,love the rules, they won't let you down.
Then move me to listen twice.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Marion
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 10:35 AM

Hello Cromdubh, and welcome to Mudcat. Yes, people do often post lyrics to their original songs here, so don't be shy about it (I'm a songwriter myself and have posted several songs).

I second GUEST's suggestion: look carefully at the songs that you love and see if you can pick out characteristics that make them good and use them yourself.

How much time do you have to mess around on the computer? There's plenty of old threads here that might be useful to you. Here's a fairly recent one: What is a good song and why? Or put "songwrit" in the filter (so it catches both "songwriting" and "songwriters") and set the age to "All", and you'll find dozens of threads to browse through.

My concern about "Cerebrus Blues" is basically that I don't understand what it's about.

Marion


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Marion
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 10:36 AM

Correction: that link should have been What is a good song and why?"


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: GUEST,HipFlaskAndy
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 11:43 AM

Well I kind of agree with a lot of the points made (you can feel a 'but' coming on can't you)......but....
Aren't we being a uneccessarily a trifle harsh here.
One post says there's no hook - yet I see a section marked 'chorus'
Looks long on the page admittedly - but only hearing it sung will reveal if if does 'hook' the listener.
There's plenty of fine songs (trad or otherwise) with long a (or even changing/shifting)chorus - plenty that work just fine!
Then there's plenty of grand songs with no chorus at all - no refrain - no repetition of anything lyrically.
I'm sure if we all think hard enough we'll all remember some fine examples.
Word-based 'hooks' not a neccessity then? (Must point out, I rely heavily on them myself tho')
Also, there might be a purely 'musical' hook! (These too)
Understanding a lyric? Can't say I've understood some of the fine songs I've heard - in part if not wholly.
Still liked some of those.
And the listener invariably reinterprets many an original intention (quite comically in some cases I know!)
Length? It doesn't look as long as 'Famous Flower of Serving Men' or so many others.
Not knowing the tempo, or how it scans is a problem just reading it like this - the words might just rattle along like a train! Suddenly it's a short song.

Crom, you stick your head up above the parapet matey, and.....

Finally Crom - just keep at it - and good luck with it all. HFA


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Cromdubh
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 02:30 PM

Thats the stuff I was looking for and why this site was suggested to me. I gratefully take the points made and would be inclined to agree. As I said it was just the most recent one I wrote and wanted to share it. I`m in south america and sadly haven`t had opportunities to sing as I would at home.

Close friends there would offer similiar advise.

Was reading a book of mythical creatures and Cereberus the three headed dog interested me. I thought then of a song sung by three in close harmony. Then started writing from the point of the bark bark bark, something like the "And And And up the load right on me" in the weight by the Band.

Anyway the song is disjointed. Too many things i wanted to get into it. I suppose the best pizza`s have two topping at most.

Well I have the bones and will put the flesh on it, bearing these points in mind.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 03:02 PM

Let us see/hear it when you've modified, Cromdubh. And welcome to Mudcat!


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 03:55 PM

I'm no songwriter, but last night I was listening to someone who is a pretty good songwriter, Jed Marum, and he happened to say something germaine to this discussion:

"When people who never heard the song before are singing along before you're finished, that's a good song."

I suppose he was talking about the "hook" mentioned above.

What prompted the remark was not one of Jed's own compositions, but a great old songwriter/folk tune he had just sung, Tom Paxton's "Can't Help But Wonder Where I'm Bound," which indeed features a great chorus. (It's hard to imagine an audience not already familiar with that one, though.)

It's hard to judge a song on lyrics alone. I rarely ever hear all the lyrics the first time I hear a new song, but still usually make a quick judgement as to the song's quality (that is, I know whether it "grabbed" me or not.)

After learning that you planned to have those three words sung in harmony like the "take a load" phrase in "The Weight," I realized that I might have enjoyed hearing your song sung much more than I enjoyed reading the words off this computer screen and trying to puzzle out the meaning. When I listen to a song, I'm not usually so concerned about puzzling out anything.

Also: if the repeated words of a refrain or chorus (or even most of those words) are easily understood and remembered, and set to a likeable melody, it almost doesn't matter how the verses are written. There are plenty of more-or-less familiar songs I enjoy every time I hear them, but whose complete lyrics I still haven't really heard.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 11 Mar 05 - 03:59 PM

not helpful - but in the long run - what makes a good song is the reception. If people like it - it's a good song. It doesn't matter if it is technically perfect - or whether or not the rhyme scheme is intricate or conveluted - ...

it's the reception.

which is why there is some incredibly bad doggeral out there that will probably never be forgotten.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: alanabit
Date: 12 Mar 05 - 03:29 AM

Not contradicting you Mario, but the word I like best to describe it is "resonance". Songs do stay with you for different reasons and with some of them the context is everything. Of course, songwriters do their damndest to make a song keep coming back to you after you have heard it. Hooks, rhymes, imagery, rhythm are all part of our tool kit. If the song keeps coming back to you though, you don't need to be able to identify which which tools and materials went into its making. I reckon that if it keeps playing in your head - and you want it there - for you it is a good song.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Cromdubh
Date: 12 Mar 05 - 05:18 PM

a young fisherman sits and stares at the sea,
making ready his six string rod,
and swimming in his head is a story,
Of a fish that has never been caught,

He ties on a little rock to act as a weight,
Digs his hands deep down in the dirt,
Pulls up a big worm for the bait,
but there´s one little thing he forgot.

All you need is a hook, All you need is a hook,
A small bit of skill, a whole lot of luck,
Once it sinks in, it cannot come out,
It sticks in your gut, it´s in there for good.


(work in progress, Thanks for the spur)


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: kendall
Date: 12 Mar 05 - 05:47 PM

Good and bad are relative. There are hundreds of very popular songs that I wouldn't listen to twice simply because they don't speak to me.
I love good lyrics, a turn of phrase that grabs me and makes me think, "Why didn't I write that"?
Btw, I don't give advice, not qualified.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 12 Mar 05 - 07:37 PM

What you have have to realise old pal is the fact that most of the people here reckon a good song can be sung with either no accompaniment, or maybe a guitar or something and other people can sing it. Its okay, but its only one sort of songwriting.

You see a song is a little bit like a speech that a playwright writes. You must decide where your theatre is situated. When those metaphorical curtains part, where is the performer going to be.

are your words going to be singing out of a juke box, sang to a small theatre audience, coming out of the speakers at a rave, in a folk club, a rock stadium, a pub full of punks......

heres the secret, all of us songwriters we have in our mind the audience, the best audience, one who is going to appreciate and get off on what we do.

then you have to decide the best way you could do it for your audience. Do your best to achieve that. And if you're really lucky, your audience exists. Thats the tough part, for a lot of us, it doesn't!

Anyway best of luck, I can envisage a really charismatic performer being able to excite a crowd with what you have written already. there are no rules, do what the hell you like, be as outrageous as you want, the time to do that is when you're young.

And have fun!

all the best

Big Al Whittle


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: kendall
Date: 12 Mar 05 - 09:17 PM

In my not so humble opinion, the worst type of songwriting is done by young people who haven't lived yet. Teen age phylosophers wailing out their diary entries.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Brían
Date: 12 Mar 05 - 09:31 PM

...Like Bob Dylan mourning his lost youth at 22 years of age:

While riding on a train goin' west
I fell asleep for to take my rest
I deamed a dream. It made me sad.
Concerning myself, and the first few friends I had...


Brían


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Azizi
Date: 12 Mar 05 - 09:48 PM

In my not so humble opinion, Kendall, that's a generalization if I ever heard one.

I applaud the young and the not so young who have a gift of composition and nuture it.

I also applaud the young and the not so young who are blessed to receive and record words & tunes that come when one least expects from within or from above.

I applaud YOU, Cromdubh.

Welcome to Mudcat!


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Brían
Date: 13 Mar 05 - 12:51 AM

kendall:

An artist doesn't create from their own experience. An artist creates from what they know about the experience. Delacroix wasn't on the Raft of the Medusa when he composed his famous painting. Shane MacGowan didn't necessarily have to be sodomized to write THE OLD MAIN DRAG. Dylan had a knack for writing like a jaded old man looking back on his life even when he was young. He wrote in the voice of a Black being attacked by police dogs in Alabama when he had never been near the place.

I advise putting any song you write away for a couple weeks. Find a way to look at it with fresh eyes. I often find the part of the song that I thought was the most important is the part that needs to be thrown out or saved for another song. I save a lot of songs I write in a notebook, carefully recrafting them before I consider them finished. I would spend a lot of time listening to good songs. Why duplicate something that has already been done? Learn good songs about the subjects you are interested in. Many good songs are just other good songs with the serial numbers filed off. Everyone from anonymous Connemara poets to Joe Hill, Guthrie and Dylan borrows, remolds and outright steals.

Brían


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: kendall
Date: 13 Mar 05 - 06:31 AM

Of course there are exceptions! Let's not get into nit picking.
My grand daughter, at the age of 14, wrote some of the best poetry I have ever seen. She was a published author in a national magazine, but she is a rare exception.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Cromdubh
Date: 13 Mar 05 - 03:41 PM

Well I agree that teenagers wailing out their diary entries makes for bad songs, I´ve tried to stay clear of that stuff for years now. I´m in late 20´s by the way. But some of the real great songs were written by the young. "only the rivers run free" was written by of a man in his teens.

Heres another not nearly as good as that. Just like throwing them out there. It is a speech type thing.

The apposable thumb

Well ladies and gentleman, let me draw your attention
to something, I really think desires some recognition,
Without it, I beat, these times would be dire,
All Buck naked, and soaking wet, trying to light a fire,

No language, no music, we couldn´t pen to paper,
No history, no artistry or no architecture,
We couldn´t fly through the sky, or sail across the ocean,
No PC, AI, IT , without a bit of evolution,

(Chorus)
So a big thumbs up, we all should, give thanks everyone,
Come on, Come on, Roll on, Roll on, the apposable thumb

When you know you just got to go, but you don´t have any money,
The apposable thumb is the one, that can get you there for free,
And you meet a girl, and she´s beautiful, and later she says "yeah"
The apposable thumb is the one, that will unhook her bra,

It will do your work, it will sign your cheque, will take home your pay,
It will catch that ball, it will swing that hurl, it will play your E and A,
It will pull your pint, will roll your joint and later on you can hold your own,
Well done god, you did some job with that apposable thumb.

Chorus,

When someone does you wrong, and you just have to resist,
The apposable thumb is the one that will fullfill the fist,
And when it´s over and you fight no more and you both see your mistake,
the apposable thumb calms the storm with a heartfelt handshake.

It writes orders, which makes men soldiers, to enforce our freedom,
It holds the gun, it built the bomb, creates our own distruction,
Are we cursed or gifted?, do we drop or lift it?, when it´s decision time,
The apposable thumb is the one that will flick that fateful coin.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: mg
Date: 13 Mar 05 - 03:42 PM

Two other exceptions, although I am not convinced of the rule itself. Linda C. of Vancouver BC wrote the canning salmon song that everyone here knows when she was 17..Arthur Scammel (sp?) wrote the squid jigging ground when he was 14, or so I heard. mg


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 13 Mar 05 - 03:54 PM

Janis ian - society's child, and at 17? cat stevens....

Whatever, the kids writing songs for gawdsake. Not joining a street gang or beating up old ladies...give him some encouragemant.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: kendall
Date: 14 Mar 05 - 07:30 AM

I do encourage potential, but I never applaude what I consider bad singing or writing. It's sometimes painful for me to applaude when the arthritis kicks up.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: kendall
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 05:04 AM

This is a sample of my grand daughter's writing. Remember, she was 14 at the time she wrote it.

The world is too close in us
Late and early
Caressing and dying we lay waste our powers
Little we see in grief that is ours
We have given our love away,
A bleeding death.
This demise that lays vulnerable to the lies
This hound that wails into the night,
And, is collected now, like bleeding flowers,
For this, for everything, we are discomforted,
It does not touch us,
But, still, we ask,
"How could you do this to me"?
I'd rather be a child, wrapped in a torn shirt
So that I, running on this broken land,
Could have glimpses to make me less forlorn
And, see myself rising from the sea
And hear the Gods blare comfort from a horn.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: kendall
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 05:19 AM

She was abused by her father. By the time I learned of it, he was long gone.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: kendall
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 07:27 PM


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 Mar 05 - 11:44 PM

Powerful stuff, Kendall. Does she still write?


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: kendall
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 03:16 PM

Yes, but she has decided that her writing is too personal to share. I can't convince her otherwise.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Once Famous
Date: 22 Mar 05 - 03:31 PM

Any one can write rhymes.

What makes a good song to me is one that has an edge to it.

Songs that move me emotionally, physically, or spiritually.

I don't consider it a good or great song unless I experience one of these sensations.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Cromdubh
Date: 16 Apr 05 - 05:08 PM

Being a sucker for punishment, here`s another.

A fairy tale

They lived happily ever after until once apon a time
They found they had lost eachother after the storyline,
Ever after seemed so long, but after ever it was gone,
Their beautiful kingdom is slowly crumbling.

Prince charming, in his long reign, has become the cruel villain,
The sweet princess, in her royal highness, is now the wicked queen.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, is she the fairest one,
He smells his blood racing Fe Fi Foe Fom,
She wouldn`t let down her hair, he`s broken her glass slipper,
Is there no waking the beauty that`s sleeping?

The big bad world will huff and puff and blow them down,
The big bad world will huff and puff and blow them down.
My god what a big love they had, all the better to hate with.

The greatest angel, even he fell,
One bite from the apple and you`re in hell,
Can one ture kiss can break the spell?
Or is all just a fairy tale?


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: GUEST,Allen
Date: 16 Apr 05 - 05:45 PM

Basicaly, you have to decide just what it is you are telling, even if only you know it.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: kendall
Date: 16 Apr 05 - 09:18 PM

I agree with MG on this; if I don't feel it, it's not great to me.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 17 Apr 05 - 02:51 AM

It's very true.
If you haven't felt something by the end, they haven't done their job right.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: GUEST,Scaramouche
Date: 17 Apr 05 - 07:34 AM

Look at how the old ballads tell their stories. Look at what people like Phil lynott or Shane McGowan do with a song. Most importantly, don't give up.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 18 Apr 05 - 01:02 AM

If you have the voice and the heart, you can rarely do wrong.
Go with your feeling, and keep writing, because it WILL speak to SOMEONE.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: GUEST,Anonymous
Date: 09 May 05 - 10:23 PM

if it has emotion in it, it is a good song. it also has to have a catchy melody, and nothing too dirty in it...


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 May 05 - 04:45 PM

I stopped reading it after I saw a few objectionable words in the first few lines. It's all very brave and adult and you're within your rights to use whatever words you like, but people get enough trash thrown at them in real life, they don't like it in their art. Good songs don't need garbage words in their lyrics.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Cromdubh
Date: 10 May 05 - 06:43 PM

Objectionable words!, The song is about Cereberus, The hound of Hell, then the usage of the word "Bitch" is correct.

As regards trash in Art, Art should be a reflection of life, which is not always beautiful and nice.

It shouldn`t concentrate on the negative either, but squeeky clean art to me is boring and unrepresentative of the world at large.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: LilyFestre
Date: 10 May 05 - 06:49 PM

I'm with Martin on this one...

Michelle


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Cromdubh
Date: 15 Mar 07 - 03:48 PM

I went down to the river to see if it's still running free,
Over the fence, past the sign, private property,
The water looked clean enough, I suppose,
So I took off my weary working clothes, and I stood at it's edge,
Laughed to myself and dived straight in,
Well up on the bridge, well they stopped and they stared,
My God, what is wrong with him,
There's no harm intended, don't mean to end it all,
Just going in for a swim.

Crawled up on the bank, to borrow all that I can,
to buy my own little piece of our land,
It's craved up into I O Euros
and hung up for sale in the shop windows
By butchers in suits, who mince lies into truth
And still cannot get enough,
While out in the street, my new neighbours I meet,
But I don't even know their names,
And we retire to our cells that we lock up ourselves
with remote controlled wardens

On night release I sang that old river song,
Brother oh Brother I'll tell you whats going on,
Our hard won freedom is being sold,
This so called wealth is just fools gold,
with a stroke of a pen, we're conquered again
and we march off to go shopping,
While the men united get drunk and divided,
paid just to stay blind, the more that you have,
The more you are stared, to ever step out of line,

Went down to the river to see if it's still running free.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Scrump
Date: 16 Mar 07 - 09:10 AM

I've thought about this question long and hard, and I've come to the conclusion that good words and a good tune make a good song.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Mar 07 - 02:23 PM

Scrump, that's pretty much the conclusion I came to.

A song consists of both words and music. Both are important and the two should complement each other. Very often the words or the tune alone do not seem to amount to much but put them together and the song comes to life.

Then, of course there is the role of the singer. A good singer can often take an indifferent song and proceed to turn it into something special.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 16 Mar 07 - 03:33 PM

Two words: Relevance.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Cromdubh
Date: 04 Aug 09 - 08:20 PM

Just another soldier in a foreign land
Patroling the streets, made of sand,
Keeping the peace at the end of a sword,
trying to be a man that's worth his salt.
There's talk on the street of a new rebel leader
Revolution is in the Air
Betrayed by a kiss; at last we know his face
Our orders were crystal clear.

A fisherman's hands know well to use a knife,
Peter put my ear to the to the ground,
Cowering I bled, till I felt his hands
And a voice whispers in my head.

judas's Daughter , Oh Juliet
She was just like her father, oh Juliet.
Sycamore wings dancing in her eyes,
Gracefully falling from grace,
feathertips skim across the smooth surface
Of waves so fierce.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 04:36 PM

Cromdubh,
Just read this thread for first time. From what I see you're trying to cram too many ideas into a small space. Dylan got away with it most of the time but he already had a name by then.
Really like the first verse of 15th March 07, the rest is too heavy for me. Might be good poetry off the page but as song it doesn't work for me.

Currently my fave song was written by a close friend who is a Catter. He has empathised successfully with a lady c1921 who lost her American sailor lover in the R38 airship disaster over the Humber. He writes, in her persona, a powerful but simple song with a great original tune. I can't get it out of my head. His wife also sings it and I prefer her version for obvious reasons.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: GUEST,Paul
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 04:49 PM

Too right Steve, I love that song too but even then I get a bit irritated by the way the final line of the chorus loses a beat where a 'traditional song' would take the less 'clever' route. I think that Cromdubh needs to take on board that a really successful song in any genre is rarely a 'clever' thing. Write doggerel and then struggle over every word until you can live with the result. Writing songs is personal but its also public. Actors don't actually experience the emotions they portray and songwriters don't do it either.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 05:49 PM

On the positive side, I really liked the approach on the fairy tale song. I haven't studied it enough to decide if it's got a hook or not, but it's a fresh idea.

On the negative, I find I have a hard time finding a way to SING any of the songs you've posted. The rhythm of the lines doesn't help me, or catch me.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: mg
Date: 05 Aug 09 - 09:35 PM

The trouble I think is that the original poster, Cromdubh, has come to a site where I would bet that the majority of the people here sing and write songs that are very standard rhythm and rhyme...and most of us are way way older...and lots has happened since Joan Baez was a nymph. So he is introducing us to songs that we can't put into a format that we recognize, but that is probably more popular with younger listeners.

So he can't get the feedback he wants because by and large we would not be his audience.

So I personally can't offer much feedback...I do like this very much..\

Just another soldier in a foreign land
Patroling the streets, made of sand,
Keeping the peace at the end of a sword,
trying to be a man that's worth his salt.

It is very clear what is going on. But then the song goes into something about a fishermen with a knife and I don't see the connection. I was getting wrapped up in the soldier story and wanted to know more. I think this is more poetry than song, but I can't analyize poetry so I don't know.

Anyway, I can't be of much help. Keep writing though and I would say look for a songwriter's group that you can attend in person, or on line..and I am definitely not saying don't present them here as well, but that it is a different type of music than most of us are doing. Good luck with it all. mg


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Cromdubh
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 01:22 PM

The one about the soldier is a work in process, the soldier in question is the one that gets his ear cut off by Peter on good thursday, he is healed. But I wanted the listener to think of Iraq of some such place in the opening lines, I need to work on the clarity of the story. I still don't know where I want to end it.

thanks for the encouragement.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Alaska Mike
Date: 16 Nov 09 - 07:22 PM

Crom, make sure that YOU are happy with the song. That it conveys the idea or ideal that YOU want to convey. Write songs that appeal to the inner critic in YOURSELF and others will come to enjoy them as well. I am constantly amazed at where my songs show up and how others tweek the lyrics a bit to make them their own. If you consistently write songs that YOU are pleased with, others will feel pleased with them as well.

Mike

PS: Here are some of my song lyrics


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Mr Red
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 09:17 AM

What makes a good song?

a good songwriter and a good singer. And they are not always the same person. Often works that way to good effect. Especially a good interpretor of songs. They hone the result and don't tinker. Whereas the songwriter is prone to change things, not sure it is finished. Divergence versus convergence.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 17 Nov 09 - 09:56 AM

I don't write songs, but I'm an avid lyric listener. And I love magical tales told in song (Peter Gabriel was the master of this for me, though Bowie was a genius too) which simultaniously call upon both the personal and the mythic - and all the ambiguous spaces inbetween.

I rather liked the neatly interwoven Cerberus related imagery in the song in the OP. It comes over as a Rock track, kinda Guns & Roses or something..
Some of the other songs felt a bit too loose and disconnected for me and I'd prefer them if the themes, images & references were tightened up somewhat, but that's a personal response.

I'd also second mg's assessement. IMO Cromdubh doesn't really need more advice than that offered by Alaska Mike.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Cromdubh
Date: 14 Oct 13 - 04:51 PM

Searched the Globe both high and low, to finally find out,
Us all here, all together is what it's all about,
A gathering of my kin, I've been praying for,
Can't be yourself, if you forget, just who you are.

So take off that mask, it's not needed here, you're with your own
Pull up a chair, help yourself, hey, welcome home,
A fair day in good company, speak freely,
It can be hard, if you never stop, just go easy

(Chorus)
I can't sign this song on my own, wouldn't you rise her and sing along
This world of noise drowns out my voice, just join in and harmonise
And follow me for the changes, they come suddenly,
Stay in the key of family
And at the end, it's just begun,
One more verse of this tribal song,

Before too long, all long to be, to belong

Time to go our separate ways, feeling rough
I wouldn't say goodbye, we'll just pick up where we left off,
A scattering like a dandelion in a child's hand
Old seeds take root, in the old dirt that left behind.

Chorus.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Cromdubh
Date: 08 Aug 16 - 04:40 PM

Revisiting this site for the first time in a while. Prompted me to revisit one of my songs posted earlier

The Hook

A heavy splash, a silver flash
n the corner of the eye
The ripples spread out far and wide,
The creator just out of sight.
But ripples become waves and waves become storms
that crash on the shores of the soul,
And when the surge subsides, all you will find
is a single sparkling scale.

A fisherman sits and stares at the see,
tying up his six string rod,
And swimming round his head is a story
of a fish that has never been caught.
He ties on a little rock to act as a weight
Digs down through the roots and earth
Pulls up a fat worm for to be the bait
but there's one little thing he's forgot

Chorus
What you need is a hook, Yeah
What you need is a hook, Yeah
A small twist of faith, a whole lot of luck
what you need is a hook, , Yeah
Once it sinks in, it's in there for good
Just like bitter sweet love
All you need is a hook, , , Yeah

A fish on the line, a moment in time,
That one that go away,
So join the old man and Captain Ahab,
Spinning yarn in the Mudcat Cafe
Like Christ on the cross, show the size of your loss
I'd swear it was as big as a whale
But every good tragedy, is the trophy
That you can mount on the wall,

Chorus
What you need is a hook, Yeah
What you need is a hook, Yeah
A small twist of faith, a whole lot of luck
what you need is a hook, , Yeah
Once it sinks in, it's in there for good
Just like bitter sweet love
All you need is a hook, , , Yeah


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Cromdubh
Date: 04 Jan 18 - 10:23 AM

A shooting star, searching for, a sky to fall in;
Heaven sent, hell bent, to blaze a trail between;
Can't make it, can't break it, it can only switch;
In the blink of an eye, a star will die, to live upon a wish.

A granted wish, all to quick, is taken for granted;
A terrestrial life, a family a wife, everything connected;
Don't miss it, don't waste it, it's a miracle;
A fleeting moment, if truly lived, becomes celestial.

(Chorus)
So thank the stars above, a galaxy of love;
We're all fragments of a single soul;
The vast sparkling sky, a wee tinkle in the eye;
Reflections off a cosmic mirror ball.

A constellation, of imagination, it takes a mortal's sight;
To join up the dot, tracing pictures and plots, between the dark and light;
A shared story, a legacy, as we're born and die;
From the primal fire, the sparks fly higher, into the night sky.

(Chorus)


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: MisterMoccasin
Date: 04 Jan 18 - 01:53 PM

Hey Cromdubh! Your last few posts of newer lyrics are really good! It's crazy just seeing the lyrics from your original post and years later and seeing such an improvement! Do you think you've gotten better?

What do you think of your original song now?

What do you think makes a good song good now that you've improved so much?


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: Cromdubh
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 11:06 AM

Thank you MisterMoccasin for your kind words and your thoughtful questions.

I use this thread as a form of songwriting diary. It's over a decade since my first post and I've revisited it from time to time. I would like to think in that time that my writing has improved as I've gained experience. I think my latest ones are alright.

As a mentor, Chord-strangler, once told me about some of my earlier songs, there was often too many ideas going on at the same time; that there was a good song inside there somewhere, but I needed to 'disembowel' it.

I feel now that a good song shouldn't be over-cluttered, while it can contain complex ideas, it should be accessible at every level, either through the music or the lyrics. The best way to convey complexity is through simplicity.


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Subject: RE: What makes a good song?
From: MisterMoccasin
Date: 05 Jan 18 - 04:59 PM

That's real cool! I think that's a good way of looking at songs! Definitely easier said than done sometimes. haha. Good luck with the rest of your song writing!


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