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Cuddly crooners singing doggerel. Cuddly crooners playing on a cuddly keyboard. You get the idea. What is this? The “mood music” section of my local record store?
No. This is the “Rock n’ Roll” section.
You may have noticed this in the past. You went to a record store, you looked at the section, and you saw these records, but you didn’t know what to make of them, because you had no idea what they were talking about. Well, they are talking about…well…rock n’ roll.
Now, some of you may say, “But music is subjective. It’s all about the listener. If we were to listen to the Rock n’ Roll section, then you would call that “Rock n’ Roll” music, too.”
Well…yeah, you would call it Rock n’ Roll, but the music that they are talking about isn’t the Rock n’ Roll that you would call Rock n’ Roll.
It’s not to say that they are not good bands and that they don’t have merit. Just that there are different types of Rock n’ Roll. Some “artists” who would clm to be the spokespeople for Rock n’ Roll call their stuff Rock n’ Roll, but it’s not. It’s other music, albeit a bit “n” Roll.
It’s a good thing that there are other types of Rock n’ Roll, because some of these “artists” don’t want to be considered as merely representing one type of Rock n’ Roll. They want to be the authority, they want to set the rules.
They call themselves “rock” or “heavy metal”, but not Rock n’ Roll, and therefore they think they can dictate to the world what “Rock n’ Roll” is, that it’s just about the singer-songwriter. It’s about a good singer-songwriter, or, perhaps, if you have an amazing lead singer, it’s about the singer.
A lot of these “artists” have forgotten what Rock n’ Roll is.
One of the biggest problems with the “Rock n’ Roll” genre is that you have singers who are not songwriters, not lyricists, not musicians. They have had songs written for them, but they don’t write their own music. They have been hired to sing a song and sing it well, but that doesn’t make them “Rock n’ Roll” artists.
It’s the songwriter who has the power to define Rock n’ Roll. They should own that power.
It’s the lyricist, the lead singer and the band who should define it.
Most of the “Rock n’ Roll” artists don’t even get a good lyricist. Many of them get terrible lyricists. The reason is because the lyricist, the poet, has to be the authority, the one who has the power to define and create Rock n’ Roll lyrics.
The lyricist is the one who writes the words. The lyricist should be the king, the one who creates what the song is about.
A lyricist is the writer of the lyrics, and the songwriter is the writer of the music. The songwriter may hire a lyricist to write their lyrics. That doesn’t make the lyricist the authority.
So, who is the authority, the “Rock n’ Roll” songwriter? The answer is so obvious that you may as well write it in this blog. You are. You are the one who wrote the music for Rock n’ Roll.
When you’re creating a song, when you’re writing a song, you are the author.
You are the lyricist.
You are the composer of the music.
You are the writer of the lyrics.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t, because they don’t understand what you do. You are the authority in the studio, on stage and in the concert hall. You are the “Rock n’ Roll” author.
No, you don’t have to like the song, or be interested in what the songwriter was doing. But you do have to understand that songwriting is not just writing the words to a song, or the lyrics. It’s much more than that.
It’s about who wrote the music. It’s about who wrote the lyrics. You are the author. And if you don’t realize that, then it’s your fault.
You, and only you, are responsible for creating an understanding of songwriting that’s deeper than just the words and the music. The writer has a responsibility to you to show you the work they are doing, so that you can know what you are getting into.
And we’re never going to see that responsibility in songwriting until there is a generation of songwriters who understand what they are doing. When they are asked why the lyrics or the melody seem so simple, when we all understand the music and know what’s going on in the song, they just won’t have an answer.
That’s because they haven’t been given any clue by the songwriters who came before them. If they could read and comprehend what was done before them, they would understand the structure of the songwriting, they would understand what the writer did. And if they did that, they would stop trying to copy what they see in other songs.
They would learn how to create from a very basic foundation. They would know that what they are doing is part of an amazing craft, and it’s their responsibility to learn about songwriting. And it’s their responsibility to do so.
The same goes for the songwriter. They need to have their work shown to them so they understand what is going on and why it’s special. They need to learn about songwriting, so they can improve and continue to create.
And if you’re going to keep doing it, and want to have some success, it’s time to learn how to do it. No one should stand there and assume that it’s all right to continue to write songs the way they did in the past. They need to become lifelong learners in this craft and learn new things, new music, new styles, and learn how to structure their songs and what needs to be done.
If you are going to write songs, make a study of the craft and the history, and learn why the structures work. The people who did the work before you learned why the structures worked, and you need to learn why they worked so that you can continue to use them.
You must always think of the craft, the history of songwriting, and who came before you. It’s the way to a better craft.
This week we will look at some common, but terrible songwriting mistakes, and what you can do to avoid them.
In the last month, I have received three emls regarding a songwriting book called Songwriting for Dummies by