Sometimes when I sit down to write a song, it’s so obvious to me what I’m going to write about, but lately that’s happening less. In the earlier days, like most young writers with whom I share basic life traits, it was easy to lean on visions of whiskey, women, things that made life simultaneously easier and harder. As a white male in a first world country, I clearly don’t have many “real” problems to talk about, and so it becomes necessary to talk about things that make my mostly easy existence a bit trying at times. As I’ve grown as a songwriter I’ve struggled with these ideas a lot. I often find myself revisiting these topics, maybe from a slightly different perspective, or chastising myself for falling into the trap of cliches, and feeling like it’d be too easy to write on these ideas. I don’t know where I got this enlarged head, thinking I should somehow be writing about more lofty subjects, or be able to twist words into more interesting stories. A couple of times I’ve been successful with it, but in retrospect, most of my best songs are about women, at least in some form. That being said, the parts that make them the best are the parts that take you deeper, or further away from the standard surface view. That’s where the important stuff happens. You can write about drinking and drugs and women all you’d like, if there is something interesting happening there.
I’m talking about this for two reasons:
1. I’m currently working on a batch of new songs, which I hope to turn into an album. Upon looking through some notebooks last night I realized that I’ve written a lot of songs over the last few years, probably upwards of 75 completed ones, but for one reason or another scrapped most of them. Now I’m trying to make good ones happen, and I hope to share them with you before the year is out.
2. We should look at our lives more like we should be looking at our writing. There are universal things in life that we all know how to look at in simple ways, but the challenge is to look deeper, from other angles, and with greater effort. It is only then that we’ll be able to contribute something interesting to this world, and share the beauty of our individuality.