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Is it good, and if so, how can it be shared?

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 59 ✭✭✭ Aramicon

    Despite playing for years I've never really gigged, but have been writing, recording, and sharing with friends for years. I don't feel a great need to stand in front of crowds but music needs to be shared, otherwise I don't think I will develop much more as a songwriter.

    Writing lyrics can be strange- stuff that seems throwaway today can resonate tomorrow, and things you spend ages working on can end up discarded for ever.

    So let's say you do write a decent song (accidentally or otherwise) but you're not big into self-promotion, does anyone have any tips on how to share it and see what others think? I guess here is a start :)


  • For what it's worth, I think it's a good original song and I commend your bravery for posting it on a public forum. I heard nothing banal, crude or stupid in the lyrics and musically it has a good solid stricture.
    Slightly critical observations:
    Arrangement wise, the guitar break should come later in the song, possibly following the second chorus, (not a hard and fast rule, I think on 'Another Nail In My Heart' by Squeeze, the guitar break comes in after the first chorus).
    When yours does come in, the tuning is a bit 'ropey'. Have you tried using an automatic tuner? They're reasonably cheap these days.
    Your vocals are fine, you've got a nice laid-back style.
    Mind the high notes in the verse (a little flat) and the low notes in the chorus (a little sharp), though Bob Dylan made a good career singing out of his range.
    To my ears you're a genuine songwriter, how good you're going to be is anyone's guess. By the way, towards the end of the song I got a fleeting whiff of 'Heart of Gold' by Neil Young, to me this is a good thing, all good music is cross- generational.
    I would urge you to keep going. You have a talent. Good luck with it!

  • Cheers for the feedback! I'm not totally sure why I put the guitar solo so early, the rest of it is fairly standard. I think that section was a bit empty after I recorded acoustic/vocals. It would maybe make more sense towards the end,. My voice has a comfort zone of about two notes, so no surprise that it goes off... no surprise either I rate Dylan and Young as legendary songwriters. Blood on the Tracks for me is colossal... though I'd love to get an opening line like Paul Simon's Graceland...

    "The Mississippi Delta was shining
    Like a National guitar
    I am following the river
    Down the highway
    Through the cradle of the civil war"

    There's always room for stuff like that, but easier said than done (*10^4).

  • I like it. The 'good together' idea is really good. I just don't think the rest of the lyrics really know what they're about. I mean there are some lines that suggest at something and the vibe of the whole song is similar enough throughout but I think it'd be good if you could really nail what the 'good together' thing is getting at.

    I know you've made life difficult for yourself with the rapidity of your rhymes and that's restricting what you can say. But as I read through your lyrics I wasn't sure if the 'we' was people in general or if it was you and a girl. Are you singing to yourself to convince yourself that you belong in the world, that you and life are good together. Or are you singing to a girl just to be like 'yeah babe we're good together' kinda thing. Maybe you can mix these ideas but at the moment I don't get a sense that you're in control of what you're saying.

    It's just a personal thing, but I cringe at clichés like 'over the hill', 'heart on sleeve' unless you can really shed new light on a cliché I think it's best to avoid them.

    I realise now that you say this:
    As usual I’m not sure exactly what it all means. But knowing what everything means is not the domain of art. Foraging in the darkness and being struck by a flow of creative juice, expressing something intangible, something that touches on or captures, distils or engraves some measure of something that connects to others.
    If that's how you feel then we just disagree on what art is and you can ignore what I'm saying. But I would say that using the fact that you'll reach a point of not knowing is not a good enough excuse for failing your audience at an early stage. The artist should forage in the darkness but he should do so again and again, discarding the parts which remain in shadow for those parts which suggest some sort of illumination. Great works of art betray the hard work of their creators. In some ways the beauty of art is the time spent bringing it into existence and as an audience member of your art I feel that more time is needed. But yeah sorry if this is harsh. I wouldn't have said anything if I thought it was a crap song. If it was better I would've shared it. I guess that's saying something. Keep on keeping on.

  • Great to read an intelligent discourse, such as the one above, about the very nature of songwriting and its perceived parameters. It's one of the reasons I took an interest in this forum in the first place.

    More please and thank you.
    The best of luck in your chosen endeavours to both Aramicon and oisinmccole.

  • Great feedback oisinmccole, thanks for listening, and thinking about, the track. I completely agree with use of cliches, and I tend to stick them in with more than a touch of irony. I used "over the hill, and down again" and "heart to sleeve, half believe".

    Songs generally seem to use familiar, fairly simple words. I tend to stuff them in a bit, and I can get carried away with internal rhyming. I thought I had enough cohesion in the verses to hang it together in this case, but re-reading now I can see issues, mostly about clarity.

    I think maybe the lyrics are too evasive to come across as sincere? For me the verses are the singer addressing himself/herself in the the second person, frustrated with how he does things, bogged down in contradictions. Then in the chorus there is more light, seeing inspiring moments that make him/her realize that the despite the issues "you and I" is a good thing, that it actually works. So it is about a personal relationship.

    The voices then are too mixed and muddled; maybe a song of this type needs a clearer message. The voices in mine own head tend to be vague at best!

    When I say that "I'm not sure exactly what it all means" I guess I feel that there is always some mystery in the process and space to interpret in the result (even for the artist). The metaphor of "foraging in the dark" is too blind, as you are right, it is a more involved and critical process; a craft as much as daydreaming-until-Eureka-moments-strike. I remember once reading that Springsteen wrote at least one song a day, which I found surprising. But on reflection, of course he did!

    But it still not a scientific approach. I am reading a book called "Thinking, Fast and Slow" at the moment, where the mind/brain is seen as two systems, one of which is intuitive, fast, mostly unconscious, and flowing (and also uncritical, gullible, and often wrong!). This is where words can come together in unexpected ways and fresh melodies can emerge.

    I think what I need is to try to 'hone' my approach and keep lyrics more focused. I also need to tighten up the singing and playing a lot.

    Thanks for the input, I think the discourse has made my post worthwhile regardless of the potential of the song :)

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  • Aramicon wrote: »
    Great feedback oisinmccole, thanks for listening, and thinking about, the track. I completely agree with use of cliches, and I tend to stick them in with more than a touch of irony. I used "over the hill, and down again" .........

    I think "over the hill, and down again" is a good line, redolent of Costello at his best.
    I didn't hear it on first listen.
    'I may not be an old fashioned boy but I'm gonna get dated'.
    Must listen more intently in future!

  • first off thanks for being so receptive to my criticism, I'm always wary of giving criticism because it's so easy to miss the point of something and so easy to offend. so eh phew.

    on listening to the song again, I agree with 9959 that 'over the hill, and down again' is a good line. I was kinda testing to see if you'd written it without an awareness of it being a cliché but I'm glad that's not the case. when i first heard that line it reminded me of the nursery rhyme about the grand old duke of york, which was for me a happy comparison to make. i think that line and the closing bit:
    we can go through the lists and tick off the things
    that we never did and see what we missed and
    start a new chapter call it whatever as long we’re good together

    are what this song is kind of about (for me at least). that appreciation that life is kind of futile and that you can't stop time or really control the things that take up your time but as long as there's someone with you it doesn't really matter, as long as you're good together. (or as long as your content with yourself it doesn't really matter).

    listening back to it I must admit it's a pretty darn good song. I can't really say much more. if I was to rewrite it now I would make an effort to make the rhymes that seem a little forced seem less so. for example in the first verse maybe switch 'stop' and 'drop'. so have something like, 'when you're dropped, you can't drop, started things you can't stop'..hmm not sure about that, I'm thinking on my feet here..maybe just change the word 'starting' for 'took some' or 'taking' in now you have to carry this **** over the hill and down again.

    also take note of your present, past and future tense throughout as the tense is important to define the narrative/thought-process that's being unveiled as the song moves along. like sometimes you refer to past things and sometimes to future things..I think that adds to the lack of clarity.

    I'm not sure if what I'm saying is correct or worthwhile, it's all subjective at the end of the day (cliché). I'm quite traditional in that I like some sort of beginning, middle, and end. and i like to think that most people are the same, and if you can carry someone from point a, through b, and end up at c i think that satisfies part of the sharing aspect of art that people really love.

    anyways, good luck with it, I must admit I do like talking about songs :P

  • Thanks oisinmccole... yeah you're definitely getting close to the mood and meaning of the song, how you can get bogged down in your life and take others for granted but have flashes where you realize that the bonds you built are worthwhile and valuable.

    When I write I often put down phrases that sound good instead of fitting well with the song's story or idea. I don't think I want to shake this off fully but I need to try for more consistency; maybe spend a bit more time chipping away before recording anything. I generally prefer to write something new than rework something older. And like I said before, vagueness is a trait of mine!

    Actually I'm not sure if many of my songs have a story with a regular narrative structure. Hmmmmm... I think I tend to try to articulate moods and feelings, moments and ideas. As always, a work in progress! i need to challenge myself to try different styles and approaches.

  • Loved your recording

    I played in a band in the 1960's supporting some top bands of the day but all we ever did was play covers (as most bands who had not been 'discovered' did). I stopped playing in 1968 and never picked up a guitar for about 32 years.

    In the past ten years I have been in the position to be able to afford a few guitars of my dreams (which I couldn't do in the 60's) and have started songwriting and recording on a four track recorder.

    My voice is sounding old and haggard, my guitar work is hampered by arthritis, I never played a six string in my life until the past ten years. I could never do justice to covers but when you write for yourself, you get a feeling for a mood, put that into music and words and that sound is yours and yours alone.

    I play now for my pleasure alone, it's one of my many hobbies in retirement but I was told to share it and so posted on

    I know my music is not top quality, the recordings are not the best, the songs and words can be improved but the inspiration and the writing is all mine and the fact that others have listened (which at first was a very scary thought) is just amazing.

    The ageing stars of our day have been doing it for years, I started late, a few years ago........but biy am I loving it all.

    Just enjoy what you are doing, any sharing is a bonus.

    I have no hankering after standing on stage in front of thousands (have done that), all I want to do is enjoy and enjoy is what I do now.

    Just enjoy what you do and do it for you