Listeners that seek emotional connection with music and artists, will often choose those artists that convey some kind of a unique point of view in their lyrics. That might explain why there are already so many songs about love, for example, and still there are new songs about love that somehow happen to be unique and refreshing. How many times did you listen to a song and it seemed that it is about love, but it wasn’t… Or it seemed to be a song about something else, but it actually was about love…
The key to this whole thing is taking an obvious subject, an obvious situation, an obvious feeling or an obvious line and then interpreting it through your own unique personal views. It’s like finding a new way to say what has been said a million times.. And from that point on, these lyrics can be interpreted differently by any listener through his own personal point of view.
It’s one thing to write a line like “I’ve been waiting all my life for someone like you” or “Where have you been all my life” – These were great for the first time they were written, but obviously show a very unoriginal way to look at things now, because it has already been said.
But on a certain situation, one might write something like “Good to know you were there all the time, but now what” – Not a real lyric as far as I know, but kind of a different way to look and feel about the same situation. You might think this line sucks, but it is not so obvious… “Who are you talking about? A lover? A friend? A dog? Maybe an insight or a discovery? Why would you think about him/her/that like this? What has happened? Why do you feel like that? Are you happy? Disappointed?” Are just simple questions that might rise when hearing something like this. I just makes you think in a different and refreshing way about a supposedly known scenario.
Here are a few examples for unique points of view I have seen in lyrics by alternative artists, which made me (and a lot of other listeners) think about and interpret different situations and feelings in my own way:
“And I got you to paint the sorrow on my day
And I got you to paint the roses on my grave
And I got you” (I got you by Stone Temple Pilots)
– The words “I got you” have been written in numerous songs but not in this way.
“Flies in the vasoline we are
Sometimes it blows my mind
Keep getting stuck here all the time” (Vasoline by Stone Temple Pilots)
– This popular song must be talking about an absurd situation which happens all the time, but which? (answer: can be lots of different things)
“And I heard it in the wind
And I saw it in the sky
And I thought it was the end
And I thought it was the 4th of July” (4th of July by Soundgarden)
– Most people know what 4th of July means, but if you ever heard this song, you get a whole new meaning for it…
“Why doesn’t anyone believe
Stand up and everyone will see
Your holiness” (Zero Chance by Soundgarden)
– So wait, if I feel lonely, what does that make me?
“You can spend your time alone, redigesting past regrets, oh
Or you can come to terms and realize
You’re the only one who can’t forgive yourself, oh” (Present Tense by Pearl Jam)
– Sometimes we’re so busy dealing with ourselves, that we forget to look at the big picture, and even if we do – there are still multiple ways to do that.
“To myself I… surrender
To the one I’ll never please” (All Or None by Pearl Jam)
Hmmm, who is who and who is you?
Never mind, you get the picture.
These examples are just a tiny bit of a whole world of unique points of view in lyrics. There are numerous more examples, but I think that’s enough for you to get the idea.
Of course, these bits of lyrics are parts of songs and make much more sense in a context of a song. And of course, the very ideas that have sparked these lyrics are not always known. But the sure thing is that these lyrics as well as other songs by leading alternative artists have inspired and still inspire a huge number of listeners, that connect emotionally to these artists and their music. Of course not all listeners in the world seek for this level of connection with music, and that’s fine – but as a musician, if you’re writing music for them, then this is not the right blog for you.
As I’ve said before – A unique point of view is just one of many artistic values which we’ll discuss as we go. It might look complicated at this point because it IS complicated, but the whole point is to raise the awareness for these values, and keep them in mind when trying to write really valuable music that listeners will connect to.
The whole point here is that no one can tell you how to write, but you have to constantly seek your inner artistic self for YOUR unique way to write lyrics and songs. Being an outstanding influential songwriter is not easy as one might think, and requires constant work and self improvement – just like any other craft.
Can you tell me about lyrics with a unique point of view that have inspired you as a listener or as a writer? Please comment below with your own example.
Feel free to send me your music with your interesting unique point of view to email@example.com, I’d love to hear from you!
3 thoughts on “Unique point of view – isn’t what you think it is…”
“when you’re one of the few to land
on your feet, what will you do to make
ends meet…” The final cut/Pink Floyd
Finding musician that go this deep is
very hard these days… Never giving up!!
Oded, Thanks for bringing this example…
Pink Floyd were one of the biggest musical innovators of their time. As highly influential alternative music pioneers, their music naturally (or in a substance aided manner if you will…) implemented very important artistic values that will be discussed here in the future.
As for our current value (unique point of view), even their more popular and widely known songs such as “Comfortably Numb” or “Wish You Were Here” has conveyed a very unique point of view at that time. Even the song title of “Comfortably Numb” suggests a very unconventional and unexpected way to look at things. Their point of view was very distinct and they had their own way of expressing their ideas, which no other artists had then.
For example, having a line in a song such as “Hello, Hello, is there anybody in there” or “Wish you were here” today, will automatically bring a feeling of “this has already been done long ago – by Pink Floyd” in a listener, and not in a good way. If you try to be “the next Pink Floyd” it’s better for you giving up, because no one is interested. They can listen to Pink Floyd’s records if they wish to.
The good news is that there are still many other ways to express these and other ideas, and songwriters must strive for expressing any idea in their own unique way, if they want to be interesting enough for alternative music listeners.
Original is rare today! Which makes you wonder… How real original music
(original=good) will find its way to my ears these days.
Listeners today have NO “TIME” for deep feelings and thoughts in music.
I really do think that the problem doesn’t end with the musicians, it goes round and turning like a wheel of hate, since musicians start of as listeners first!
Bad listeners= bad musicians!