December 10th, 2009 | By Kal
I was speaking to a friend who I had not seen for a while. She’d been on the site, as most of my friends have been coerced to, but as I hadn’t seen her, I hadn’t introduced it to her like I would most people I know. For me, this is a nightmare, because it leaves me unable to ‘help them shape their view’ shall I say! What happened though was really useful, because it got me thinking.
Anita said, “OK, so you’ve got these song ideas and you develop those, but how did you get to that stage?” And she’s right of course, because we haven’t covered that have we? So from now on I’m going to endeavour to describe it to you. What happens first?
Anita actually mentioned lyrics when she asked me about how I came up with songs. What did I think up first – lyrics or the music? Good question. The answer is, I don’t know. Both come to me at different times, and when I come up with one it doesn’t come neatly packaged with the other.
Let’s take lyrics, hey, I’ve titled this lyrics already so I’m kinda duty bound. Lyrics can come at any time. Generally something really really good or really really bad happens and when I have some time to myself (generally when I’m travelling), I get my phone out and write a text about it. Save, drafts, come back to it later. I don’t try and make it rhyme – if that happens, it comes later. I just write whatever comes to me to get it out and ‘bottle it up’ in words. A lot of the time it’s more for healing than for anything I’ll actually use, but I find that trying to force words onto a page, sitting a piano, and making them rhyme always sounds emotionless.
Maybe I haven’t been to Brit school and don’t understand, but for me, lyrics are about what you feel at a particular time, not what you can brainstorm! With that said, my lyrics aren’t particularly abundant on the songs we have so far. In fact, they only appear in one chorus – I Wanna Know.
I wanna know if she knows,
I wanna know if she cares,
I wanna know if she’s playing,
I wanna know if she’s there.
I first came up with these lyrics over a year ago. I wrote them because I’d recently met someone and I couldn’t figure them out. They seemed to have a certain way about them, that I didn’t particularly like. The question was, did they know that they were doing it? And if they did, did they care? Obviously it annoyed me at the time. I can still feel that, everytime Rob or I sing those lines. It’s almost like having a picture, documenting a particular feeling I had.
Testimant to this, I feel, is the fact that in recording 1 and even in recording 2 of I Wanna Know, when Rob sings these lyrics in the chorus, it changes the feel of the song completely. From a verse that is a little eerie and fairly contained, emerges a much more aggressive feeling. Someone shouting for answers, which is exactly what I felt at the time.
On what I think is definitely a related note, and to definitely muddy the waters of what comes first, the music or the lyrics, I had already worked out the tune for the chorus along with the chords before Rob and I started to work together on it. If I’d written those lyrics down, showed them to Rob and he’d thought, I know I’ll put them in a song, here, they might have lost their original meaning in the swapping of ideas. But with me writing the music and already singing the chorus, the original feeling stayed intact.
I tell you what! I’ve got a few ideas for lyrics on the go at the moment. Let me get back to you with them very soon and we can see where they go and it will really demonstrate the whole process I’ve tried to describe above. Stay tuned, Lyrics II coming soon!