Sunday, April 12, 2015

MAN....I Didn't See That Comin'!!!!

The element of surprise is a great way to keep the listener engaged in a song. There are a few ways to keep that surprise element coming to keep the listener wondering what is coming next. There is nothing more boring (in my opinion) than a song that is totally predictable. Now, I'm not talking about just the storyline of the song and that the song has a "twist" at the end that will "turn heads". There are other ways to keep the song fresh. A great way to keep the listener on his/her toes is to have unpredictable rhymes. Using lyrics that the person hearing the song would never see coming. Let me use a couple examples here. What if we were to write a song like this:

We both fell in love
Just like two turtle doves
We fit like a glove
A gift from above.

OK....now who couldn't predict the rhyme after hearing the first part of each line. To use a phrase my kids use to say "gag me" LOLOL! It is pretty nauseating! A person hearing this would check out after the first few words and never be back!!

Now, let me use an example of a song that I wrote a while back that was recorded beautifully by the band "Jett's Creek". The song is called "The Arms of Tennessee". Jett's Creek have recorded several of my songs and they are a fine band. Check them out at all the usual places like iTunes, Amazon etc!  Have a listen to their recording of "The Arms of Tennessee":

https://soundcloud.com/brinksongs/arms-of-tenessee 



“The Arms of Tennessee”
© 2008 Mark “Brink” Brinkman – BMI

Verse 1:             I was young and so na├»ve
Life grabbed me by the sleeve
And led me so far from my home
Daddy said “Boy, what’s the rush?
You know just enough to be dangerous”
He was right, but I would learn that on my own.

Verse 2:            The California sun was hot
I moved up the coast, worked the lobster pots
My pockets seemed to have more holes than dimes
So I pawned my watch in Coeur d’Alene
Bought a ticket on an eastbound train
I cried, “Just get me out of Mountain Time”.


CHORUS:             Back to Tennessee…………………….
                                                In my mind I see her reaching out
                                                And she’s forgiven me
                                                I long to feel her warm embrace
                                                Dry the tears I put upon her face
                                                Safe, in the arms of Tennessee.

Verse 3:            North Dakota, ten below
I swear, Highway 2 ain’t got no soul
Thank God, for that shelter in Des Moines
Chicago, night time fell too fast
Had to sleep under an overpass
Where dreams took me out of Illinois.

CHORUS:             Back to Tennessee…………………….
                                                In my mind I see her reaching out
                                                And she’s forgiven me
                                                I long to feel her warm embrace
                                                Dry the tears I put upon her face
                                                Safe, in the arms of Tennessee.

Verse 4:               Her memory keeps me alive
                                I’m thumbin’ here on ‘65’
                                A trucker dropped me south of Bowling Green
                                If I have to crawl this final stretch
                                I’ll gladly use up my last breath
                                To get back in the arms of Tennessee.

CHORUS:             Back to Tennessee…………………….
                                                In my mind I see her reaching out
                                                And she’s forgiven me
                                                I long to feel her warm embrace
                                                Dry the tears I put upon her face
                                                Safe, in the arms of Tennessee.

                Tag:                      Safe, in the arms of Tennessee

Ok...take a look at some of the rhymes in this song. Naive..sleeve.  Rush...dangerous.  Coeur d'Alene...train. Des Moines...Illinois.  Stretch...breath.  While the story is "boss"...I tried to tell this story with lyrics that would be almost impossible to predict while listening to the song. Keep each verse "fresh" for the listener :)  Hopefully, this song makes the point that as a songwriter you want to keep the lyric fresh and unpredictable. Of course there are always exceptions to the rule in songs where you want folks to "sing along" etc....and as always...your mileage may vary :)

Have a great day and remember:  Write more...whine less!!!

Write on!

Brink
 

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