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Old 04-08-2013, 08:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Post Artists Who Don't Write Their Own Music

When I was younger, I naturally made the assumption that whatever name was on the front cover of a CD was the group of people who wrote the songs I was hearing. Eventually, I came to realize that many artists don't write their own tunes. Now, while anyone who writes a song gets credit as at least a cowriter of the piece and therefore receives royalties, I still feel there should be a certain level of involvement by the musicians in the writing process. While I don't fully disapprove of outside writers, I believe that if your name is credited for the material on the album, then you should be involved as at least a co-writer on the songs on that record. When I have expressed this opinion to people previously, some brought up the argument that some people have a talent in performing while others have a talent in writing and therefore we should not restrict people talented in one area. To a point, I agree with this argument. Some musicians are much better at performing songs while other are fantastic composers. This is why I believe in the partial role of the artists, especially when an entire band is involved. As long as the artist (or at least one of the band members) is contributing to the creative process, I see no problem with initial ideas coming from outside sources provided there is some level of involvement. But when it comes down to it, good music is good music. Regardless of whether and artist writes their own music or not, I will buy their records if I like the material presented. I just believe that a level of creative involvement is important to maintain artistic integrity.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:11 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I really don't agree all that much. The point that some people are good at one thing, not so great at another, should not detract from purported "artistic integrity." Someone may be a splendid screenwriter, but a horrendous director. Someone may be an absolutely wonderful director, but not such a great writer. A graphic novelist may have great story ideas, but no drawing ability whatsoever.

That doesn't detract from their particular skill at all. Just because someone has a talent at something doesn't mean they have to have a talent in every aspect of that something, able to pull it off single-handedly. That's just not realistic. That's where collaboration comes in; when two or more individuals who are talented at different things, and work together to make a final product that's as good as they can. That's to be applauded.

The quarterback doesn't throw the ball down the field and catch it himself, block for himself...and that doesn't take away from him or her doing what they do well.

It doesn't diminish any sort of integrity; it's people playing to their own personal strengths, acknowledging their own shortcomings, and working with others to make something better than they could have done alone.
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Old 04-08-2013, 09:36 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Interesting. I hadn't thought of it that way before. I still maintain the idea that the artists performing the material get entirely too much credit for the work. I guess a parallel can be drawn between the production of an album and a film. The performing artists and the actors are the ones who are most recognized within the public for their work. The actual songs presented on an album should be credited to the writers, not the bands. For me, it almost seems as if bands who do not write their own material are taking credit for what others have done. I don't care who performs the songs live, but when listening to a CD, I want the creators of these songs to be regarded for their work.
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Well you couldn't have that, could you, as many writers are pretty much unknowm, and who's going to buy a CD by Sid Mitchell? But if it's Robbie Williams singing Sid Mitchell songs, then that makes it sell. What about cover versions? If an artist covers someone else's ong (famous or not) how do you stand on that? In the end, it's the singer who delivers the songs to the public; without their performance the songs, good though they may be, could sit forever on someone's notebook or computer and never see the light of day.

I admit, I was disappointed when I listened to Faith Hills' "Cry" album and saw that she had not written a single song on it, but sometimes that's how these things work. The songs come across to me as less personal because the artist has not (to my knowledge) been involved in the creative process, but it doesn't make them any less their songs. Someone else might deliver the songs completely differently, so it's also a lot about the execution I feel.

What about Sinatra? I'm pretty sure he wrote no songs himself, but surely you wouldn't call him anything less than a consummate artist?
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:18 AM   #5 (permalink)
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This whole having to write your own material crap has only been a factor since the mid 60s, and even then it's still only a part of a very narrow sphere of popular music.

The most people I tend to hear this from are usually classic rock bores who have opinions on which is the best guitar solo ever or think Led Zeppelin 4 is a good album.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:13 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Hat€monger ? View Post
This whole having to write your own material crap has only been a factor since the mid 60s, and even then it's still only a part of a very narrow sphere of popular music.

The most people I tend to hear this from are usually classic rock bores who have opinions on which is the best guitar solo ever or think Led Zeppelin 4 is a good album.
And in your opinion, what makes Led Zeppelin 4 such a bad album ?
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:15 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Where did I say it was?
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Well saying that Led Zeppelin 4 is for classic rock bores isn't the best compliment that you could give an album....
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Urban Hat€monger ? View Post
This whole having to write your own material crap has only been a factor since the mid 60s, and even then it's still only a part of a very narrow sphere of popular music.

The most people I tend to hear this from are usually classic rock bores who have opinions on which is the best guitar solo ever or think Led Zeppelin 4 is a good album.
I have been watching a movie lately called Amadeus. It's about, as I'm sure you can all guess, Mozart. Seeing the way that the movie portrayed Mozart as a composer really helped to open my eyes as to how one can truly be a songwriter.
So on that note, I will have to say that I was wrong in thinking that all musicians should write their own music. This was a notion that was formulated in my middle school years and I'm still in the process of working through many of the ideas I had then in a more logical sense.
But I do have this to say: if I am not mistaken, during the 1700s when Mozart was still alive, it was the composers of music that became famous. Of course, many performers would achieve renown as well, but it seemed that the focus of the music was the actual composition versus those who were performing it. Unlike now when the focus is on the performer. People would go to see Mozart's new opera because he was the composer, and not just because of the people performing the songs. And out of personal opinion, I would prefer the focus be on the composer.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:26 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Yeah but back then Mozart performed the music himself, or at least conducted it. Anyway you can't compare classical music to modern music: there has never, to my mind, been a classical composition NOT written by the composer/artiste it's identified with. In other words, Beethoven didn't ask people to write for him, nor did Grieg, Haydn, Liszt... the whole idea was to compose and own your own music, AND play it too.

Completely different ballgame.
What do you think of my Sinatra point?
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