Someone asked me the other day if I would "critique" a song they had written and tell them if the song was any good or not. "Critiquing" is a double edged sword. In many so many ways it is extremely subjective as everyone has a different taste in music. A song that does absolutely nothing for me might be the "cat's pajamas" for someone else. So, when I do a a workshop and we do "critique" songs, I try to ask a lot of questions of the writer and moreover look at structure, prosody and things that are a little more objective. I look at the basic "rules" of songwriting to see if they hold true. You can break the rules but you should "break them on purpose" and not by accident. You have to KNOW the rules to BREAK the rules!! :) There is a place and time for critiques but there is also a place and time to STOP the critiquing madness! LOL!
One of the "quirks" or maybe downfalls of being a songwriter is that many times I listen to a song and rather than just LISTENING to the song and ENJOYING it...I'm picking it apart and critiquing it as I listen!!! I'm dissecting it in my mind and passing judgement and analyzing what I'm hearing. I don't just do this with other people's songs...I do it with MY OWN songs as well! You have to say at some point: "Put a fork in it...this song is DONE!!! Sometimes you just need to "sing your song and enjoy it". So my point today is:
CRITIQUING A SONG IS LIKE DISSECTING A FROG...YOU FIND OUT WHAT IT'S MADE OF...BUT...YOU KILL THE SUBJECT IN THE PROCESS!!!!
Sometimes listening with a "critiquing" ear just ruins the experience. I find myself fighting this feeling a lot these days. I just want to be able to listen, feel the emotion of the song and enjoy what the writer and artist are saying....yeah THAT'S THE TICKET!! That is what music is all about!! There are times to put on your "songwriter hat" but you also have to "take your songwriter hat off"!
So, today after my writing session I am going to consciously hang up my "songwriter hat" and put on a good album and JUST LISTEN!!! JUST ENJOY!!!
TODAY THE FROG LIVES!!!! :)
Remember: Write more...whine less!!