One comment on “Artist Inspiration and Song Meanings

  1. Well, there’s a lot different ways to write a song, regardless of your given genre. One of those ways, I call ‘story telling’, for rather obvious reasons. Dylans ‘Tangled Up In Blue’, Maidens ‘..Ancient Mariner’, 2112 all come to mind. These are each a clear story, in varying degrees of detail. Clearly, it’s of great advantage to be ‘black and white’ with your lyrics. Even then, the whole story itself may well be allegorical and represent something wholly different than its narrative presents.
    I don’t write those kind of songs. My songs tend more towards a one sided argument, the conveying an emotion or the snap shot of a moment and rarely follow a continuous story arc. In a case like that, it’s actually to my advantage for a given set of lyrics to appear ambiguous or non-specific. If I write a song about how my wife, Jane, filed for divorce and took the house, kids, car, credit cards, two dogs and left the cat, you might not really relate to (or care about) my troubles. If you’ve never been (or are happily) married, not a dog person, never known, let alone been a relationship with a Jane, or prefer apartment living you don’t have a lot to connect with on a song like that. IF, on the other hand, I write that ‘my woman done left me, took my world and crashed my life’- THAT may connect better with you and you can (due lack of detail in the lyric) personalize that song now because it’s easy for you to insert your own specifics into the song. This is key to a broad appeal for a given song. If you can feel like that song was written for YOU, or you feel collaborative because your circumstances ‘fit’ into the song, THAT is a song that will feel ‘important’ to you.
    Also, when you cloud your metaphors, it’s easier for you (the writer) the keep some ‘safe’ space between your feelings and the listener. Let’s say I don’t want Jane to know I’m all spun out on her, but I still feel like I need to ‘say’ something about it.
    So, while I can see your point with wanting the bands to weigh in and spell out their meanings, I’d suggest that sometimes it’s the meaning that YOU (the listener) that is as or more important than that of the writer.

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