It is hard to write a love song that isn’t cheesy. Try it. I don’t mean go write a song right now. But think about love and the people you love and then let a few words come to mind. Those first words are bound to be cliche, Hallmarked. It doesn’t make them meaningless, but it does mean they are going to make an annoying, if not downright bad, song. Put even the slightest bit of schmaltz to music and it becomes magnified, a big gooey horror come to melt the contents of your thinking meat.
I suppose I have managed it once, now that I think of it (Crow’s Nest), but that song is more about direct action than love (it isn’t on the internet at the moment, but you can listen to some of our other songs about direct action and revoltion and change here). Anyway. My other friend! She’s on her way to our place from Holland so that we can learn each other’s songs and collaborate on an album together later in the year. In preparation I have been listening to some recordings she sent non-stop, trying out harmonies and memorizing lyrics. And I have a new favorite love song. Life of Crime! Making out in stolen cars, missing each other while stuck in jail, getting into bar fights, and laying drunk on the ground looking at the stars. It is fucking brilliant, she has a gorgeous voice, and I can’t wait until we get the album finished so you can hear it too. I also can’t wait to sing harmonies with her. Singing is so much more fun when there are two of you who can melt those sounds into one. Good harmonies just kill me.
Meanwhile, I have been stuck for weeks, no months, on lyrics for the heap of new songs we’ve got on the line. But I am hoping the the fire in her songs sparks and lights something in me for mine. I have so many ideas, thematically. But fitting words have yet to come. It is strange, and I suppose that is the rub of writing something like poetry. When I write prose, even if I don’t find a single magical turn of phrase, I can still write a story, maybe even one that enchants through its doings rather than through its sayings. Not so with lyrics. Writing those is an art all its own, and one I never thought I would be much good at. I never liked poetry much, reading it or writing, and yet here I am doing it anyway. Strange.
So I am curious. What song lyrics do you find totally fucking spot on genius? Send me youtube links in the comments. Inspiration would make a pretty sweet Christmas present. Songs with harmonies that just kill you also welcome.