Issue #43 / June 2019
I’m a songwriter. I’m seriously blocked. Do u have any spare lyrics I can have?
DAVID, BALTIMORE, USA
Sure, here are some lyrics for you. They are a little on the dark side and pretty obscure, and perhaps a bit too heavy on the old Frederick Seidel (I had just been reading his brilliant collection of poems, Peaches Goes It Alone), and maybe there is an unearned and spurious use of Holocaust imagery (I apologise for that), and there is not a hell of lot of structure to it, plus the last verse may need a bit of work – but all that aside, there is some nice symbolism in there and if you chuck on a simple chorus, like “Wo! I’m the Incinerator Man!” and throw it on a lean circular chord formation, with lots of space and air, so that you can really creep the vocal and tell the story, then brother, you may be able to make something worthwhile out of it. I couldn’t.
The moon holds itself in the dark with its glow
The monster moves through the garden
And waits beneath the window
I take the monster for a walk and plough on into town
My monster has a chimney sticking out of its back
I try to find a single story I can bring home
That won’t give you a flat-out heart attack
To be honest I’m not allowed back in the house
It’s Bethlehem there with its cribs and moping beasts
I’m either underneath the school desk braced
Or commuting between Auschwitz and outer space
I’m thinking of drinking something truly horrible
I’m a slow moving monster with a giant chimney
Sticking out of my back. Look out!
I’m coming now just like I came before!
I’m all over the place. I’m the same but more.
There never ever was any turning back
I’m coming now! I’m a full on heart attack.
This, of course, will not help with your “block”. My advice to you is to change your basic relationship to songwriting. You are not the ‘Great Creator’ of your songs, you are simply their servant, and the songs will come to you when you have adequately prepared yourself to receive them. They are not inside you, unable to get out; rather, they are outside of you, unable to get in. Songs, in my experience, are attracted to an open, playful and motivated mind. Throw my song away – it isn’t that good anyway – sit down, prepare yourself and write your own damn song. You are a songwriter. You have the entire world to save and very little time to do it. The song will find its way to you. If you don’t write it, someone else will. Is that what you want? If not, get to it.
Much love, Nick