Working title: Shadow

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Jun 12, 2018, 07:45 AM

Hello Lyric Library! How are ya’s?
I don’t often post lyrics to the forum, but today in the Songwriters’ Lounge, MAB gave some general songwriting advice that I was itching to apply. In short, it was to keep it conversational, real/relatable, memorable, and vivid. So tonight I thought I’d write a song with those points in mind. Being conversational in lyrics is not something I’m great at, but I’m working on it. I normally don’t write about myself, but to help me work on the conversational aspect of lyric writing, I thought I’d go personal. This one is about my dad (he died in 2011). Pick it apart guys. MAB?

VERSE 1:
Skinned knees and pony tails
Feeling joy just to hammer some nails (with ya)
Right beside you; always “helping”
I must have been a pain.

(Got) Dirty hands from soil and seed
And grass stains from crawling knees
Always laughing; always learning
And you would smile at me.

CHORUS:
I was your shadow
I walked by your side
Or under your feet
Always asking you “why, why, why?”
Your patience was epic
Your love was assured
Oh I was your shadow
And you…were the World

VERSE 2:
First boy frozen on the stairs
Watched him shrink under the weight of your stare
You were testin’; but you were teasin’
I saw it in your eyes

CHORUS

BRIDGE:
You were the forest
I was the glade
You were the mountain
And I was the plain
Always above me or standing beside
Lifting me up as your raised me in life
And now that you’re gone and I am alone
I have a shadow of my own
Cause you’re always with me
And I’ll never forget….

CHORUS
...that I was your shadow
I walked by your side
Or under your feet
Always asking you “why, why, why?”
Your patience was epic
Your love was assured
Oh I was your shadow
And you…were the World

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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Jun 12, 2018, 08:17 AM

Jenny,

ABSO-FREAKING-LUTLEY!!!!” You are GETTING IT!!! Conversational, reality, and supports your hook. Congratulations. Frankly the best lyric I have ever seen over here. I hope others will look at what you’ve done. I get the entire story, can feel the feel for your father and even put myself in the same shoes on my own Father.
Now the only thing I might suggest is because FORM is very important, to make your second verse the same length as your first.

First boy frozen on the stairs
Watched him shrink under the weight of your stare
You were testin’; but you were teasin’
I saw it in your eyes
You were the forest
I was the glade
You were the mountain
And I was the plain


And since a bridge should be short, and a wrap up, I might find a way to tighten that up so that it is only about two lines. Four if you really need them. IT should be the “summation of the song.” But I think you have it all here, just need to move a couple of things around. Would depend a lot on the music, but lyrically you are very sound.
Congratulations girl. You made a big leap forward.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Jun 12, 2018, 10:42 AM

What he said!

MAB has pointed out that good writers can write a good song by simply showing everyday things in a new light. Obviously, that’s true, but add real feeling, open up a little about something inside, and you have something special.

As I read it, I was struck by the repetition of the word “knees” in the first and sixth lines (skinned and crawling). I don’t know if it’s a problem.

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Jun 12, 2018, 11:22 AM

Hello Jen,

All I can say is “WONDERFUL”.  You have captured the essence of all who have looked up to and who have cherished their dads, (lost my father just this year).  I have to say the last three lines of your bridge are extremely powerful and provide an excellent twist in the lyric with the last chorus.  Kudos Jen great job.  Good luck and best wishes,

Speak soon

Music is an international language, say it with a song.

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Deacon Joined Aug 30, 2009
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Jun 12, 2018, 05:36 PM

Thank you guys. I didn’t expect that glowing response. Best part of my day for sure. Thanks so much for lifting me up in that way.
Gavin, I changed the second “knees” to “crawling freely.” I think that takes out the repetition there.
MAB, I added a second stanza to Verse 2, starting at “comin’ home in the middle of the night” and I cut a bunch of lines from the bridge and tightened up what was left. I don’t know if I did enough cutting though because it’s definitely not down to two lines. I found it hard to cut down more because wanted to keep what Deacon called the “excellent twist” at the end of the bridge.

Your thoughts?

VERSE 1:
Skinned knees and pony tails
Feeling joy just to hammer some nails (with ya)
Right beside you; always “helping”
I must have been a pain.

(Got) Dirty hands from soil and seed
And grass stains from crawling freely (knees)
Always laughing; always learning
And you would smile at me.

CHORUS:
I was your shadow
I walked by your side
Or under your feet
Always asking you “why, why, why?”
Your patience was epic
Your love was assured
Oh I was your shadow
And you…were the World

VERSE 2:
First boy frozen on the stairs
Watched him shrink under the weight of your stare
You were testin’; but you were teasin’
I saw it in your eyes

Comin’ home in the middle of the night
Sparks flew as your your anger ignited
You had fire; but it was harmless
Cause it was fueled by love

CHORUS

BRIDGE:
You were the forest and I was the glade
You were the mountain and I was the plain
Now that you’re gone and I am alone
I have a shadow of my own

(Cause you’re always with me. And I’ll never forget….)

CHORUS:
That I was your shadow
I walked by your side
Or under your feet
Always asking you “why, why, why?”
Your patience was epic
Your love was assured
Oh I was your shadow
And you…were the World

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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Jun 12, 2018, 07:05 PM

Jenny,
Now it gets into the tweaking part. Very good overall. Let me ask you this. What drew me to the song to begin with was the title THE SHADOW. That would seem to indicate dark things, and you turned them around, which I thought was very cool. My suggestion would be either change the Title to YOU WERE (MY) WORLD, ( and I would put that in. It makes it more personal.) or keep it as “THE SHADOW” and make that your last line of the chorus.

Another little thing, when you say “First “boy” frozen on the stairs, that is a little nebuous. Doesn’t really describe who the “boy is.” You might think of “FIRST DATE frozen on the stairs…” Would clear it up a little. The more “shadow” images you can use “Mountain, forest, etc. the better because it reinforces the hook. And it is a very cool part when you come to “A Shadow of my own..” That is a very good twist.

I was your shadow, right by your side
Under your feet, asking “Why Why Why”
You’re love was epic
And let this girl know
You were my world
And I was your shadow”


MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Jun 12, 2018, 07:51 PM

You are a gem, Marc. Wonderful suggestions. Thank you. I went with “Nervous date” to make it relatable (to the boys, that is). As suggested, I tightened up the chorus. Thank you for those first two lines. They are definitely superior to mine. Much as I love the “Shadow” title, I think I’ll go the “...my World” road because I prefer the chorus ending that way. If I put “I was your shadow” at the end of the chorus, it could be misinterpreted as me feeling diminished by the greatness of my father. It really is just about following one’s Dad around. I do love the shadow title though. Would it be misleading to call it “Shadow” or “Your Shadow” despite the chorus ending “you were my world” ???

YOU WERE MY WORLD

VERSE 1:
Skinned knees and pony tails
Feeling joy just to hammer some nails (with ya)
Right beside you; always “helping”
I must have been a pain.

(Got) Dirty hands from soil and seed
And grass stains from crawling ‘round freely
Always laughing; always learning
And you would smile at me.

CHORUS:
I was your shadow, right by your side
Under your feet, asking “why, why, why?”
Your patience was epic
Your love was assured
Oh I was your shadow
And you…were my World

VERSE 2:
Nervous date frozen on the stairs
Watched him shrink under the weight of your stare
You were testin’; but you were teasin’
I saw it in your eyes

Comin’ home in the middle of the night
Sparks flew as your your anger ignited
You had fire; but it was harmless
Cause it was fueled by love

CHORUS

BRIDGE:
You were the forest and I was the glade
You were the mountain and I was the plain
Now that you’re gone and I am alone
I have a shadow of my own

(Cause you’re always with me. And I’ll never forget….)

CHORUS:
...that I was your shadow, right by your side
Under your feet, asking “why, why, why?”
Your patience was epic
Your love was assured
Oh I was your shadow
And you…were my World

[ Edited: 12 June 2018 08:36 PM by Jenny Stokes]

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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Jun 12, 2018, 11:24 PM

Jenny,

The general theory (and in my experience) you would want to title your song as the last thing people hear. If a title is repeated on the “trail outs” (the place at the end of the song, where the singer repeats the hook over and over, usually three times.) That is the last thing people hear and will be more likely to remember the song by that phrase. So if you title it with the other line, people might always be asking for that, or just confuse about the song. If they wanted to do a :google: or :Bing: search, you’d want to make it as easy to find you as they could,

You can title it anything you want to. You just don’t want to confuse people as to what your song is called.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Jun 12, 2018, 11:53 PM

Oh Jen,

I really like this lyric, even with the changes.  But I just can’t help myself, I always try to look at lyrics, even mine, from a different perspective, soooo…,

You Were My World
V1
Skinned knees and pony tails,
feeling joy just to hammer some nails,
Right beside me always helping,
at times you were a pain.

Got dirty hands from soil and seed,
and grass stains from crawling around free.
Always laughing always learning,
oh how you smiled at me.

Chr.

You were my shadow right by my side,
under my feet asking why why why?
My patience was epic,
my love was assured.
Oh you were my shadow,
and you were my world.

V2
Your first nervous date frozen on the stairs,
you watched him shrink from the weight of my stare.
I was testing him with a little teasin,
you saw it in my eyes.

Came home in the middle of the night,
sparks flew as my anger ignited.
I had a fire but it was harmless,
cause it was fueled by love.

Chorus

Br.
I was the forest you were the glade,
I was the mountain you were the plain.
Now that I’m gone you’re not alone,
I’m always with you a shadow of your own.

(don’t ever forget)

Chr.

Just wanted to look at the other side of the coin.  Best wishes,

Speak soon

Music is an international language, say it with a song.

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Deacon Joined Aug 30, 2009
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Jun 13, 2018, 05:23 AM

Hee hee. That’s funny Deacon and intriguing at the same time. Intriguing because of the way it opens up avenues not seen when written the other way. Neat trick.

I know you are right about the title being the last thing people hear. It was wishful thinking on my part.
I think I’ll play around with that “shadow” versus “my world” thing a bit. I think the “shadow” title is more interesting than the “world” title. I just need to figure out how to make the shadow work.

Thanks guys.

Jen

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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Jun 13, 2018, 08:12 AM

Hey folks,

Deacon, the only problem I would have from this is switching the character from Jenny to the “Dad” doesn’t seem to be as poineint as it is coming from her point of view. If it was presented for a man to sing it would work. The problem I personally have with all songs, is you kind of have to structure them where the writer or their co-horts can sing them. Because you can’t count on getting someone else to cut, or record them. You pretty much have to do it for yourself until you find someone else to do it.  At this point, I was concentrating on Jenny or a female being the singer since it seemed to be a Fathers day song to me. Also, Jenny’s father has passed away, so he wouldn’t be the character singing at any rate.

But it is a good idea to write a song from multiple perspectives. It even could be as a duet if you had multiple perspectives. So interesting angle.

Jenny, what I do is try to look at “WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THOUGHT and WHY?” In this case, the title itself was the twist. “The Shadow” was an intriquing title because as I said, it usually would have the intention of negativity. “There is a shadow hanging over us.” “We are standing in a shadow…” It usually is used to connotate negativity.

You made it into a positive as the “I was your shadow and you were my world. ” That is a good connection there. So what I would do is try to find a way to make the “Shadow” aspect the focal point of the song. What it all comes down to. That is what provides an interesting twist to me.

Everything I do, I draw from real life. Last weekend my girlfriend had one of her work friends here to visit us in Nashville. We had an outdoor grill we love, but the igniter had been defective for over a year and I am hideous at fixing things. Particularly when they involve electricity and explosive heating fuel. Not the best combination for me. In my life I have enough common sense to avoid doing things that might blow up a house.
But our friend fixed it easily. She is a tremendous handy person. We were asking how she knew all this and she said “I was my Father’s shadow.” She actually said EXACTLY what you have said in this song. That is what drew me to this song when I read it.

So for me, that would be very appropriate if you could make that work. Real life is always what makes for the best songs in my opinion. This one seemed to do that very well.

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Jun 13, 2018, 03:03 PM

Although I take MAB’s point about the title and the last words of the song, I would stick with Shadow. It’s the central idea of the song and a very striking and memorable one. It also appears twice in each chorus and five times in the song. It’s what people will remember.

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Jun 13, 2018, 05:54 PM

Got it. The revised chorus….

I was your shadow, right by your side
Under your feet, asking “why, why, why?”
Your patience was epic; your love overflowed
You were my world so I was your shadow

Thanks everyone. I’m happy with this one now. You’ve all been so helpful. Every suggestion was spot on. Thanks guys.

Jen   :)

[ Edited: 13 June 2018 06:04 PM by Jenny Stokes]

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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Jun 13, 2018, 05:58 PM

Actually, Jen. I much prefer the original chorus. :)

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Jun 13, 2018, 06:06 PM

lol
Sigh
Can’t win em all
lol

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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Jun 13, 2018, 06:15 PM

It’s up to you, of course! You could try working on the melody and come back to this when it’s had a couple of days to settle. :)

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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