Getting personal - too much?

 
       
 
Aug 11, 2017, 04:17 PM

Alright, so I’ve been struggling with this for a while. I love writing lyrics and music and songs and I write the truest lyrics when I write about my own personal experience. And I do that a lot (because as for many of you, music is my way to deal with things). The problem comes, when I write a very personal song about a real person and I want to put it out in the open.

I wrote this song about a friend of mine (whom I am in love with), who kind of led me on one night, we made out and the next day she says it didn’t mean anything for her. Yeah, it hurts, so I’ve made a song about it. But I still like this person, hell, I’m in love with her, I don’t want to hurt her. So, any idea what to do? I think the song is one of my greatest ones (I haven’t written that many, but…) and I don’t feel like keeping it to myself. Has anything like that ever happened to you? What do you do about it?

If you needed the lyrics, here they are:
(any notes on the lyrics are very welcome)

Verse I:
I’ve sent you my heart
A fragile box of dreams
You’ve turned it the wrong side up
And shattered everything in pieces

With just one touch
You pushed me on the ground
I wish I could stand back up
But I can’t breathe when you’re around

Chorus:
Still I let you be my friend
‘Cause it wasn’t your fault in the first place
You didn’t ask for my love
I bought a useless ticket for us

Still I let you hang around
‘Cause I can’t lose your smile
And all the kisses on the cheeks
I can’t believe that I’m still here

Verse II:
With one drunk kiss
A brush of your lips on mine
I’ve realised what I’ve missed
Waiting with my door ajar for you

Bridge:
Then you asked if I’m okay
I didn’t get what you were asking
It was just lust
I see it in your eyes
No feelings, how could you think…?

Chorus 2x (with little variations)

 
     
Michaela Mašková Joined Sep 19, 2016
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Aug 11, 2017, 05:32 PM

That’s a big question, Michaela. All of us incorporate a lot of our personal feelings into our songs. This works best when the listener can generalize from the particular and relate it to his/her own feelings or experience. Adele’s “Someone Like You” is based on her break-up from a man that she’s not afraid to identify but the feelings in the song speak to all of us and our experience.

It’s really up to you. Do you want her to hear the song? If she does hear it, what do you want to happen? How easily identifiable is she from the song? What is her reaction likely to be? Will it hurt her?

How about changing “You pushed me on the ground” to “You pushed me to the ground” ? It’s more natural. Is English your native language, or are you just very, very good at speaking it?

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Aug 19, 2017, 07:46 AM

Hi Michaela.

I don’t see how the lyric would hurt her. I am, of course, not emotionally attached to the situation so I can’t say for certain that she wouldn’t be hurt, but I really don’t see how. I suppose if many people knew about what had happened between the two of you, she might feel exposed. You are the only one who can judge that.

But, I always like to think that my feelings are valid no matter what. How can you be criticized for feeling hurt or love?

Gavin mentioned Adele’s “Someone like You.” By strange coincidence (strange because it’s not something I would normally do and actually never have before but I’m doing some research for a song I’m writing so…), I was listening to a recording of her performance of that song in Albert Hall. She gets VERY emotional. Tears flowing. Who could fault her for such an authentic display of emotion. Check it out…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi2cURoOAYY

https://soundcloud.com/jennystokes-nz
http://www.evansandstokes.com

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”
- Bob Marley

 
     
Jenny Stokes Joined Sep 24, 2015
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Aug 19, 2017, 12:56 PM

What a great performance. It’s the universality of the experience the song describes that is so powerful. Although its very personal, everyone in the audience can see themselves there singing those exact words and their hearts go out to her. The warmth of the response probably had a lot to do with the tears at the end.

It’s a tribute to the performance and the rest of the song that it can survive the truly awful line, “Sometimes it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead.” What a clunker! It’s like they had spent too long on the rest of it and were in a rush to get it finished in time.

I’m intrigued by what you might be researching, Jen. In fact, I might have to order some new tenterhooks off Amazon, because I’ve just about worn out the ones I’m currently occupying.

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Aug 19, 2017, 04:25 PM
Gavin Sinclair - 19 August 2017 12:56 PM

I’m intrigued by what you might be researching, Jen. In fact, I might have to order some new tenterhooks off Amazon, because I’ve just about worn out the ones I’m currently occupying.

Ha. What a giggle.
I’m actually just looking at piano ballads that worked and how they worked. It’s just music, not lyrics I’m looking at so hold off on making your tenterhooks order for now, Gav.

https://soundcloud.com/jennystokes-nz
http://www.evansandstokes.com

“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain”
- Bob Marley

 
     
Jenny Stokes Joined Sep 24, 2015
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Aug 22, 2017, 09:00 AM

I’m a heavy ‘rhymer’ and prefer a steady meter in my lyrics and songs.

When putting personal feelings or experiences into words these normally won’t rhyme, neither follow any meter. When trying to squeeze them into a fixed structure they cease ringing true. That’s why I avoid witing about myself. I feel freer when writing pure fiction where it does no harm if the rhymes I come up with alter the direction the lyrics are going.

You don’t use rhymes - or if so, they seem to happen by chance. And the meter seems off here and there.

But then, that’s just me. Adele’s song IS great and emotional. Many fellow writers actually recommend writing from your own experience.

Yet the most personal song that I ever wrote myself is the worst with regard to its lyrics. This is because nobody but me can understand most of the lyrics. They are important to me but have no meaning for anybody else so nobody can relate to them. The chorus goes:

I hate to listen to your Mom weep
‘cause I can’t hold back my tears
still standing as the phone beeps
it does hit home to lose your peers

That was the situation when I heard of a friend’s suicide. I tried to call him on the phone but only got his mother who told me he had hung himself three months ago. The last line got particularly crappy because I actually did try to find fitting rhymes. Eventually the lyrics became a mess, I’m afraid. But I like the song as a whole, nonetheless, so I’ll leave it as is ;-) But you might get my point..

Cheers,
Bernd

Bernd
good lyricist, mediocre songwriter, lousy musician;
likes rock, writes for anybody anyway
http://bernd-harmsen.com

 
     
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Bernd Harmsen Joined May 31, 2009
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