The Songwriter’s Challenge

So often songwriting becomes the topic of debate in popular music: whether someone writes their own material, how sincere the lyrics are, the musicality, the simplicity, etc. Its an art-form which is so difficult because it is often so simple. It requires mature writing both lyrically and musically without relying on virtuosity or intellectualism. All that counts is its connection with the listener. However, because of the art-form’s starkness it can often be twisted by aesthetics, sexuality or any marketing tactics meant to draw in the audience while detracting from the musical expression. Also, because songwriting is such a large part of our entertainment industry you often have to question whether a song is stuck in your head because it the result of a formula that is being pushed out like a factory product or whether it really means something to you as a sincere expression. Take Bruno Mars for example; I recently heard a girl say, “he gets it, he knows what girls want to hear.” But does he get it or does some musician on the label’s payroll get it. When it really comes down to it, does that even matter?

Some would obviously say that a song’s origin doesn’t really matter but rather the meaning that each person derives from it. I say “bullshit.” I would like to think that when I buy something, it is a quality product and not something that breaks down after I take it out of its deceivingly well packaged box. In addition, it’s more than an annoyance that generations are fed some of the trends that corporate interests think will make them the most money.

Now, for some true songwriting: Dink’s Song – First recorded in the early 1900’s.