On Songwriting

Aside

I was talking to one of my guitar-playing coworkers about music and he asked me about how I find inspiration to write. I told him it’s both way easier than he might think, and also much harder than he might think.

Partly, it just takes time. Thomas Edison is famously quoted as saying that he never failed when perfecting the lightbulb; he learned things that didn’t work. Continue reading

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Am I Just Sending Words into Outer Space

For a couple of years some of my friends and I have been sharing music. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

Katy Perry – One of the Boys (2008)

I’ve heard a couple of songs off this album, but most of my perception of Katy Perry is based off her next album and it isn’t super favorable. I can appreciate her songwriting ability – something most pop stars don’t seem to bother themselves with. So when Tim suggested this album, I wasn’t really looking forward to it. Continue reading

She’s Gone, and She’s Wearing Your Red Sweater

For almost two years, some of my friends and I have been sharing music. We’re supposed to review/rate what gets shared with us, and share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

Some weeks are heavier or more dense than other weeks. Not that this week was whipped cream, but it was lighter.

Greg Kihn Band – RocKihnRoll (1981)

When Tim shared this album, he made me feel like I should have heard The Breakup Song before. But I haven’t. Tim will be flabbergasted. Continue reading

Everybody Knows It Hurts to Grow Up

For more than a year, some of my friends and former coworkers have been sharing music. The idea is that we’re supposed to review/rate what’s shared with us, then share those reviews with the group, but that doesn’t always happen.

Ben Folds – Rockin’ the Suburbs (2001)

I’m sure that Ben himself wouldn’t really care at all about this, but I used to listen to more of Ben Folds Five and his solo stuff. I don’t now because I feel like he casually swears quite a bit. It would be one thing if there was some emotion behind it (at least I could credit him with passion), but it seems like he does it because he can – because he’s not in junior high any more – which I don’t really care for.

I don’t know. Maybe I was overly sensitive as a teenage. This album isn’t that bad, but my general impression of him is that he’s just kind of flippant about his language. Moving on… Continue reading

Break the Spell of the Typical

Some of my co-workers and I started sharing some of our favorite music. We’ve been doing it for a while, but now we’re actually reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another.

A note on how I rate things. One star means I don’t think it qualifies as music. Five stars mean I wish I wrote the thing. Most music for me is a three.

The Clash – London Calling (1979)

The truth is, I’ve only been a radio listener of The Clash. It’s not because I don’t like what I hear. I don’t know why, but I just haven’t ever sought them out. I have heard Joe Strummer with The Pogues and The Mescaleros, but never The Clash (beyond the hits). So I was kind of excited when Greg suggested this album. It felt like something I should have listened to a long time ago. Continue reading

Just Livin’ Up my Dreams

Some of my co-workers and I started sharing some of our favorite music. We’ve been doing it for a while, but now we’re actually reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another. So here are the four albums that were suggested to me this week.

A note on how I rate things. One star means I don’t think it qualifies as music. Five stars mean I wish I wrote the thing. Most music for me is a three.

Living Colour – Vivid (1988)

My first thought was that this is not at all what I was expecting. Frankly, I thought I wouldn’t like it as much as I do. Only Open Letter (To a Landlord) had elements of what I was expecting, but it also had some face-melting guitar and a steady groove.

Second, I thought I’ve heard this before, even though I know I haven’t. It took me a couple of days to realize these guys are the less manic precursors to Them Crooked Vultures. The opening track especially reminded me of the Led Zeppelin-Foo Fighters-Queens of the Stone Age supergroup’s Elephants.

Continue reading

That Funny Feelin’ Again Winding Me Up Inside

Some of my co-workers and I started sharing some of our favorite music. We’ve been doing it for a while, but now we’re actually reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another. So here are the four albums that were suggested to me this week.

A note on how I rate things. One star means I don’t think it qualifies as music. Five stars mean I wish I wrote the thing. Most music for me is a three.

Kiss – Destroyer (1976)

When my coworker shared this, he acknowledged the fact that this might not be Kiss’ best album, but it is one that he really loves.

I’ve never actually listened to a whole Kiss record. I’ve only ever heard their hits on the radio from time to time. Continue reading