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Old 04-03-2006, 12:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What Didn't Burn Away

Ben Stivers
4/3/06

What Didn’t Burn Away Has Managed to Scar the Earth

And here again my breath seems lost on
Joining lives in miserable marriage.
Scraping the bottom of the well for water,
Fed through filters, blood and oil streams.
The scars from a blade, filleted tact and skin;
Burning, scarring, opaque motions,
Marked by fire and sought by thousands.

They left wounds on children
To claim their weakened protests.

Charred by sun, hung to dry,
We play with guns, hand to eye.

To relive the cycles,
We spoke about “better days,
Better years” spent in undone woods,
By crystal lakes, under clear skies.
Before the ghosts haunted the nights,
When this place wasn’t a desert.
Before the birds fell into their shadows,
Before smoke and fog took the air
And left us starving. Left us to die.

Famine rapes the greenest hills,
Drought burns while heat distills.
In repose, hands take a knife
To hearts that crave a better life.
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Old 04-03-2006, 05:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Interesting. This is one of those lyrics which I'd really have to hear with music to believe that it will work. It looks fantastic on paper and, as a written poem, reads beautifully with good imagery etc. (apart from the first two lines, which didn't seem to serve any purpose).

When read aloud, the lyric suddenly becomes much weaker. There aren't many lines that sound particularly good. The rhyming parts...

Quote:
Charred by sun, hung to dry,
We play with guns, hand to eye.

Famine rapes the greenest hills,
Drought burns while heat distills.
In repose, hands take a knife
To hearts that crave a better life.
...definitely sounded best, although 'repose' grates a bit (its the 'ru' sound at the beginning of the word) and 'distill' is also a bit ugly.

The rest, while it is excellent in its descriptive wording and ability to set a scene, sounds pretty bad when read aloud. There are many other problems I have with it as a lyric; bad structuring (where are verses, bridges and choruses?); no hooklines; no obvious rhythm (this isn't necessarily a problem in practise, of course).

To summarise, as a poem I love it, as a lyric I really don't like it. You don't need to work on your descriptive abilities at all, but really need to develop an ear for a well-sounded phrase.
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When Pete plays it is 100% live , your music if that's what you call it doesn't sound so good either? so you can't really critercize can you ?
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Old 04-03-2006, 05:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DontRunMeOver
Interesting. This is one of those lyrics which I'd really have to hear with music to believe that it will work. It looks fantastic on paper and, as a written poem, reads beautifully with good imagery etc. (apart from the first two lines, which didn't seem to serve any purpose).

When read aloud, the lyric suddenly becomes much weaker. There aren't many lines that sound particularly good. The rhyming parts...


...definitely sounded best, although 'repose' grates a bit (its the 'ru' sound at the beginning of the word) and 'distill' is also a bit ugly.

The rest, while it is excellent in its descriptive wording and ability to set a scene, sounds pretty bad when read aloud. There are many other problems I have with it as a lyric; bad structuring (where are verses, bridges and choruses?); no hooklines; no obvious rhythm (this isn't necessarily a problem in practise, of course).

To summarise, as a poem I love it, as a lyric I really don't like it. You don't need to work on your descriptive abilities at all, but really need to develop an ear for a well-sounded phrase.
This was really well said, and I think that is the problem that plagues most writers on this forum, including me. We know what looks good written down - but then when you try to sing it, something just happens and you're like, where did I go wrong? I've tried putting some of my more well recieved songs to music and sometimes it just doesn't pan out. I'm no shlub either - I can write music... but it either turns out to be a really long song that drags or some sort of progrock anthem with my wordy songs... I dunno. Good call DontRun.
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Old 04-04-2006, 05:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Could I make a suggestion? Its a very simple one and I hope that Crowe and Perfect Sonnet (and everyone else) will appreciate it. This goes particularly to those who have trouble moving between writing lyrics and putting the words to music.

Don't write lyrics with a pen and paper, or screen and keyboard, at hand. Instead, go for a walk and make lyrics up in your head. In order to remember them, whisper them to yourself (or if nobody else is around, you can actually say them aloud or even sing them). Only write them down when you're sure you like the way they sound. This should help you to create phrases which sound good.

You can still work out the story you want to tell, the theme and all of that, before creating the lyric. Doing it this way will help to keep it pleasing to the ear and will probably help to keep it punchy too, as your brain will demand shorter,neater and more memorable lines to store in your memory.
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When Pete plays it is 100% live , your music if that's what you call it doesn't sound so good either? so you can't really critercize can you ?
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