September 3, 2011

Writing fictional songs with genuine emotion

One of the things I haven't been able to do is to write songs that are entirely fictional; that is, songs with fictional characters and fictional plots. Or to be more precise, good songs with fictional characters and stories. I've written some but they're no good. You won't hear them. They lack genuine emotion; they seem phony. Well, they are phony; afterall, they're fictional.

But how does Bruce Springsteen write songs like "The River" or "Youngstown" that have fictional characters, but have such great emotion? How did Harry Chapin write "Taxi", which I assume is a fictional story with fictional characters, but brings tears to my eyes? How do you do that?

Any songwriters out there have suggestions?

Back in Songwriting Mode

I realized last year that I can't do everything at once. I can't write songs, go out and get gigs, promote the gigs, practice with the band for the gig, play the gig (the easiest--and most fun--part), record a record, promote a record-- all at once. Especially when I still have to have a day job. It's too much. So I have to focus on one of 3 things: write, record, or gig. I recorded a record last year (Misfit), did promotional work and gigging in the Spring and early summer. Now I'm shutting down the promotional work and gigging (with a few exceptions), and getting back into songwriting. It's been 2 years and I've been missing it. I thought my songwriting had gone to a new level around 2008-2009 when I shut it down to record and gig. So it was disappointing to stop. But I think I can get it back. I've got some new songs in the works, and gonna dig up notes (musical and lyrical) from 2-3 years ago and work on them. I'm excited to see what I come up with in the next few months!