I’ve always been fascinated by how songs are created – their inception, gestation and birth, not to mention those subsequent revisions and rewrites. However, when I read interviews with my favourite songwriters in the music press, I’m often struck by how little the songs themselves get talked about. There’s plenty of rock star adventures, and usually interesting discussion about the overarching themes and ideas that motivate a musician or a wider body of work. But often there’s a dearth of details on the songs themselves – the interview usually stops just when it’s getting interesting.
Of course, a song should speak for itself. If a songwriter has to explain what it’s about, then surely it’s a failure? That’s certainly a valid point. Look at the big daddy of all songwriters – Bob Dylan who . . .
Never explains anything.
Arguably the incredible mythology that’s developed around Dylan stems from his refusal to give us any clues to what he’s talking about. We’ve only got the songs themselves to explore and interpret in whatever ways we can.
Well, I’m not shy to admit I’m no Dylan. So what about us lesser mortals?
I’m fascinated by the process of songwriting – the long train of decisions, mutations, accidents and mistakes that bring a song to life. Thus it’s through the frame of these song stories that I want to present my own work on this blog – talking about the inspirations, describing how the songs came together, what I was aiming for, where I fell short. With luck, some other songwriters will join me in telling their own song stories. Ultimately, I hope that building a dialogue around the craft of songwriting will provide guidance for all and help goad our muses to life.