Songwriter’s Dilemma

At the most recent café absinthe I debuted 3 new songs as promised.

It’s important to me right now to be writing and moving forward and I’ve been enjoying talking about the songs as I’m working on them, although I’m also afraid that gratification will actually halt real progress. One song has turned into such a weight around my neck though.

Time Will Never Tell was the middle song I played at Cafe, for those of you who were there.

This is the dilemma of the song:

Part of what I do I consider being an emotional historian. Taking feelings that are complex and evolving and freezing them so other people can relate when they are feeling something similar and they can take advantage of how I’ve organized my feelings so they can better organize their own.

Which is were the song would be done already if I didn’t also think it was vital to be cathartic. Playing songs, doing anything routinely or ritualistically, reinforces those feelings. In the performer as well as the listener. There are so many songs I hear that can be summarized as I feel bad and all can think is so…?

Listen to all the best Frank Turner songs and you’ll notice he starts off being honest about a negative feeling and then works through it and gets to a positive place. That work is the answer to my question of So..? It gives the song an emotional arc that both singer and listener go through together.

So there’s a version of Time Will Never Tell that fills either purpose and the problem is some people have heard both versions and will be disappointed, and could read a lot into my choices, if I take the earlier version. And I can’t tell if defying this outside pressure aligns with what I actually want or not.

Then I get really bummed out and think there’s no point in anything and I’ll be a failure forever. I once had someone tell me they could write a million songs if they could just play an instrument and I laughed and laughed.



Singer/songwriter, jerk.

Posted in Songwriting
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