We are here to discuss the last value that refers to lyrics and the emotional impact they have on the listener.
Another very important value that your lyrics should have is a situation definition.
What does that mean?
It is already known that a song can and should provide a means for the listener to escape reality for a short while and connect to a certain feeling or emotion that otherwise would not have been provoked at the listener. Like a book, a movie or a TV series, A song should have a kind of story that unfolds as we listen to it. When the song’s lyrics define a certain situation that the writer/performer might be in, it helps the listener to create a certain image or a scene in his mind, which in turn, helps them connect to the song and understand what it’s about more easily.
What situation are we talking about?
Lyrics can define a lot of different situations such as a physical or mental state, moments of insight and revelation, personal dilemmas, crossroads in life or decision making. Anything that can tell us something about the emotional state of the performer.
When the lyrics of the song define a certain situation, it helps creating a story and a sense of development to the song, and provides a frame in which all the song’s story might fit in.
It is not always necessary to write about a situation that is obvious to the listener. In fact, it is better when the situation can be interpreted in multiple ways by different listeners, preferably looking at the situation with a unique point of view. (I guess that at this point you realize that there are more and more ways in which the different artistic values we’re looking at interact and affect each other, creating a complicated relationship between them – this greatly emphasizes the emotional value of a song in the big picture).
What happens if the lyrics do not define a situation?
Well, this can happen occasionally, but it makes it harder for the song to develop as a story, and in turn, for the listener to deeply connect with what the song is about.
The point is – When the lyrics define a situation, it raises the song’s emotional value, and that’s what it’s all about (if you’re looking to create the kind of music I am talking about for the last few months).
To sum this part up, let’s analyze some examples to show how these important artistic values come into play:
“Hello, it’s late
You know I’ve tried to stop the rain
Did you read about it?
Did you think about it?
Did you cry but nothing came?”
(“Hello It’s Late by Stone Temple Pilots)
Well, We can’t certainly know What the situation is. Yes, the lyrics do say at certain point “it can’t be erased – we’re married”, which suggests that this song is about marriage, but I suspect that they use the marriage as a symbol to define a situation that can’t be changed. And the main idea here is that it is too late to change and the harm has already been done. We can also see that the situation is one that the listener can easily empathize with, as we can easily face such a situation ourselves in many points of our lives. This instantly makes us think about it and wander about the emotional state that the performer is in.
“Do you see the way that tree bends?
Does it inspire?
Leanin’ out to catch the sun’s rays
A lesson to be applied
Are you getting something out of this?
All encompassing trip”
(“Present Tense” by Pearl Jam)
Here, the lyrics suggest that the writer faces some kind of a revelation, leading him to ask some deep questions that are at the root of existence. He questions his own (or another person’s) ways of behavior and reactions to realize if this is at all worthwhile. Again, we all face this situation more than once in our life and start to question our ways and if we are on the right track, so it is so easy to empathize with this. This is one of the songs that made me thinking about it for days – if only because I was at this situation at the same time. I have had a strong feeling that this song is about me and my situation – and this is what made me deeply connect to this song on an emotional level.
“Nothing seems to kill me, no matter how hard I try
Nothing is closing my eyes
Nothing can beat me down for your pain or delight, no.
Nothing seems to break me, no matter how far I fall
Nothing can break me at all
Not one for giving up though not invincible, I know”
(“Blow Up The Outside World” by Soundgarden)
Here again, The lyrics define a very desperate situation which is looked at in a very unique point of view. Is that good or bad? It depends on the emotional state of the listener and his thoughts at the moment… Again, a situation that is very easy to empathize with, and also makes you think deeply about the writer ‘s intentions (that most of the times are not what you might think they are).
I think you might start to get the point after all this. Try to make sure that you imply all artistic values we have talked about here until now in your music, behavior and artistic being, and you are definitely on your way to being a very deep, interesting and unique artist in the alternative genre, with a big chance that your music will influence others, touch others and be relevant for decades on end. Just keep doing it and improve on it – this is the only way of getting there…
From now on, I will go in depth to discuss very important artistic values that relate to performance, production and sound, and the way they affect each other and all other values we have already talked about, and vice versa.
If you have any question about what we’ve learned until now, don’t hesitate to comment below. You are also more than welcome sending me material for review and revision to firstname.lastname@example.org if you need any help with your existing work.