Sunday, April 5, 2009

No one listens to the lyrics

It's an odd thing sometimes, being a songwriter. You work so hard at crafting lyrics that will move your listeners in some way, trying to get every word right ... and you forget that those listeners mostly don't pay attention to the words. Or they do, but only in a superficial way.

This is why you get people who play songs like James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" at their weddings. They hear "You're beautiful, it's true" in the choruses without ever catching the "I will never be with you" bit at the end.

I was reminded of this last night while playing at Cottage Bakery. A couple of people were actually listening to us (a beautiful thing at an atmosphere gig), so I tried to keep them engaged by occasionally telling them something about the songs we were about to play.

"This is 'Sky Palaces,'" I said. "It's about daydreaming."

"I thought it was about procrastination."

Casual listener? Loyal Cinder Bridge fan? Nope. That came from Ron. The drummer.

Maybe I should sing louder ...

5 comments:

Jannie Funster said...

This is why you get people who play songs like James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" at their weddings. They hear "You're beautiful, it's true" in the choruses without ever catching the "I will never be with you" bit at the end.

O.M.G.

I never knew that about that song!!! I've kind of heard it peripherally here and there. But never listened to the whole thing.

Great wedding songs. Not!

And that's why I'm doing my CD show in an enclosed small auditorium, as I'm all about the lyrics and NEED a captive audience. For now, anyway.

And hey, thanks for popping over my blog again Cool.

David Powell said...

"Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton is a similarly abused song.

Leigh said...

I am a lyrics junkie. I can listen to ANY kind of music if I like the lyrics.

I still think people can derive their own meanings from lyrics, no matter what the author/songwriter intended. Maybe your day dreaming lead to procrastination? :) I know mine does.

And "Every Breath You Take" by the Police always CREEPED me out as a wedding song. Seriously? I guess it makes sense if your life's dream was to marry a stalker.

How is "Wonderful Tonight" similarly abused? I love that song. What am I missing?

David Powell said...

"Wonderful Tonight" starts out like a pretty straightforward love song, but it's really (IMHO) about the speaker's alcoholism. The guy gets blasted at a party. His wife has to relieve him of his car keys, drive him home, and put him to bed.

cinderkeys said...

"Wonderful Tonight": Huh. I just googled the lyrics, and I don't see the alcoholism connection. If Clapton had alluded to drinking earlier in the song, maybe, but as it is, it seems pretty innocent.

"You're Beautiful": Honestly, I only listened to the lyrics after someone else mocked people who played it at weddings. :)

"Every Breath I Take": I never liked that song when it came out. It was boring and annoying and I didn't get the appeal. A few years later, in college, DeppityBob told me it was about stalking. And then I got it. It sounds like obsession feels. I still don't love the song, but I think a lot more highly of it now.

In the age of Google, when people can find complete lyrics in the space of 5 seconds, there is NO excuse for playing inappropriate songs at one's wedding. :)