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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ode to Songwriters

This blog is dedicated to songwriters, because I envy them. I mean, I’ve tried my hand at ads, poetry, novels, short-stories and the dreaded query letter, but I can’t write a song to save my life. It’s hard. You have to rhyme a little, but not too much, or else you sound like Dr. Seuss. You’ve got to read and write music, appeal to both young and old, look hot, sound sultry, show the potential to resurrect your career if the inevitable looming threat of becoming a has-been actually comes to pass. (Nowadays you may be asked to appear on Dancing with the Stars.) Ideally, you should play an instrument—but not drums, because it’s nearly impossible to keep the beat while singing lead vocals. (If Karen Carpenter couldn’t do it, no one can.) Yet, songwriters make the arduous seem easy.
     The one thing they’ve got working in their favor is time. At least when a music artist sits down to connect with the muse, he has a realistic expectation of coming up with something by that evening, which means I’ll be jamming to the fruits of his efforts way sooner than if he were an author cranking out a book. He (Or she—of COURSE I mean he or she whenever I write “he”. It’s just all those he/she’s totally clunk up my blog.) is lucky in that sense. In the world of “it’s never done”, it would be nice to be done. Wouldn’t it? The songwriter gets to go out and have a beer to celebrate. He probably doesn't come home and feel pressured to make more revisions. It's done! He goes to bed. 
     As usual, my envy has made me want to rip apart the objects of my jealousy, making this less of an ode to songwriters and more a tirade against them. I honestly didn't plan it that way. See, odes are similar to songs—and as I said before I can’t write them. I simply wanted to use the word ode because it sounds cool. Still, I’m sure that I could write both song and ode if I lifted a familiar melody from somewhere else. I like Train as well as the next girl (I actually LOVE Train), but seriously? Seriously?    
Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Did you hear it? Even the videos seem constructed in a parallel vein. I mean, meeting David Hasselhoff in a grocery store is as surreal as being swept away from the Opera House by a deformed-yet-somehow-charismatic masked man in a gondola, first by way of an underground stream—and then…by horse?
 It’s no surprise, I guess, that certain elements appear again and again in fiction. Yet, somehow, novel writers get reamed. With us, this is called cliché. With songwriters, it’s called homage to an early influence. They get to cite artistic license and all that jazz (pun intended), while I can’t even describe my character’s eyes as emerald green or make them roll up in exasperation. There is no justice in the world.


  1. I am at this moment rolling my eyes in exasperation. Proof that it happens in real life.

  2. I roll my eyes all the time and I am particularly fond of emerald green eyes.