Sunday, February 13, 2011

When is a song a good song? Songwriting - the SOAR way. Part 1

Well we all do know the answer to this - it's a song that we like. In part this explains why there are songs written that we don't like too. It is subjective and gladly so. But you know that band, guy, girl that you are really into - you have all their CDs - they sell zillions of them - well how the hell did they ever release that last CD that was just rubbish!!! Yep they all do it. But how does it happen when they are so talented, have access to the best producers, friends in the business etc. Prolly a combination of a record company telling them they had to release a new CD by Xmas, the fact that they are a songwriter/performer and feel like they should be writing new material, and a bunch of friends who weren't honest with them and didn't tell them their new stuff was BAD!
In the mid nineties i was fortunate and smart enough to go to a John Denver concert in Australia - as it worked out his last tour of this country, and he told a story about songwriting and how it can be a difficult and complex road. Now he may have made up the story, and i may well embellish it a little from my memory of it, but here it is. John said that one day he was out riding his horse in the Rocky Mountain (yeah well he would wouldn't he :) ) when into his head came a melody - da da da da da da do do do do do do - and then some lyrics - you fill up my senses like a night in a forest da da da da do do do do. He turned and headed for home all the while singing the melody over and over to himself so he wouldn't forget it. And yes he had to slay dragons and cross flooded rivers to get home, and well yes he did make it seem like he was actually riding all the way back from the Appalachians, but his point was well made :). 
Finally he gets home. Rushes inside and heads down/up to his home studio where he works diligently and euphorically on his new song. Some hours later he wanders down/up stairs seeking out his wife. Hey baby he says, do you wanna hear my new song? Well sure munchkin i'd love to - after i've finished the dishes and brought the washing in. John fiddles and paces the floor. Finally his time has come. Sit down baby and get comfortable he says. He begins - 

You fill up my senses like a night in a forest
Like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses come fill me again.

Yes the wonderful Annie's Song had had its first airing.
What do you think of it John eagerly asked.
It's not bad, but it's not one of your best Annie replied. OMG hehehe.

Whether you/we/i/Annie like Annie's Song or John Denver's music isn't the point because i think the point is more like this - at some point there isn't a song and then there is. And somehow from the moment when the first da da da or melody came to the writers head they found their way through the labyrinth of things that can go wrong (most of all amongst these things your partner not liking the song) and made it onto a CD and onto radio and into our lives.
And i am so happy that they do that i will forgive the other songwriting process that somehow lets really bad songs make it onto CDs and radio as well.

Part 2 of this blog entry will be about how SOAR write songs and make their way through this labyrinth. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.


  1. Intriguing, and a point well made. Can't wait for part 2. In regards to Annie's song and John...just smiles as songs play in my mind.

  2. Mmmmm... John wrote lots of magical songs, I love sunshine and I want to live. kinda reminds me of all the magic SOAR creates too. Am looking forward to hearing how you guys make all that magic. hugs Reb

  3. Oh Mr. Babbling B,

    Imagine if she hated it! Songs, it seems, are as painful and dangerous to birth as a child.
    Please don't let it be too long before you tell the tale of Bright, Ex and Charles' journey through the labyrinth.

  4. I do believe I went to that concert too Bright. Annie's song is special to it uses my name lol, and two: A few past loves have always dedicated it to me. So when I hear it a flood of memories cascade over me.

    Now about song writing....I used to write quite a bit as a teenager and in my 20's. Using basic chords on the guitar, I would write songs about love and love lost, friendships and peace! It surprized me that you could lose that gift if you didnt keep it up which is what happened as my life got busier. Now all I seem to be able to summon is a line or two then I get stuck. perhaps I should list them and say to any song you go..see if you can use this!

  5. WOW Whis that's amazing!!! Your memory is slowly coming back - soon you will remember that we dated for 2 years after that concert. Falls over laffin :)
    It could be that composing is like riding a bike i reckon. I've also had times where no matter how i tried i couldn't run two notes together in a melodic way. The most recent one ran for 2 or 3 years! Then it comes back when it wants. I fear it will go again one day so i try to write as much as i can when i can. So yes, i think you should create a WHIS VAULT and share its contents :) And as soon as you do i bet it starts coming back to you.