Tag Archives: lyrics

connecting lyrics and the voice

is there a line that defines a song? i always have favourite lines in songs, like:

“but i shot a man in reno just to watch him die” by johnny cash (folsom prison blues)
“and i’ll know my song well before i start singing” by bob dylan (a hard rain’s a-gonna fall)
“if you see me a-comin’, don’t you waste my time, ’cause there’s more miles between us than the santa fe line” by john fogerty (cross-tie walker)
“and if i seem to act unkind, it’s only me it’s not my mind” by george harrison (i want to tell you)
“the future’s uncertain and the end is always near” by jim morrison (roadhouse blues)
“’cause how many times can you wake up in this comic book and plant flowers” by rodriguez (cause)

…and that extends to my own compositions

“nothing is the sum of all i am” (fall)
“though time is distance, we’re chained to what we’ve seen” (is my life my life? is my life!)
“little moments come when you don’t ask” (daisies)
“catch a bubble if you can, hold it in your open hand” (never)
“you’ve come to understand much more than you can say” (taking flight)
“love is a stone by a different name, but i shouldn’t complain ’cause i wouldn’t be here now” (midnight train)
“but these old paths are worn by those who made it here before me” (the day before my birthday)
“whatever my opinion of myself, i wouldn’t want to be nobody else” (be my eyes)
“i won’t lie, i’m okay on my own” (whiling away the time)

songbookmusic is a big part of the songs i compose, yet it’s the lyrics that give substance to them, specifically, the delivery by the voice. not my strong point, yet that is where the character is found, where the connection is made, so recording my own vocals is always an experience fraught with self-loathing and disappointment

with ‘is my life my life? is my life!‘ i imagined a somewhat bitter delivery, but it soon became clear as i was auditioning my vocals that my voice wasn’t up to it, i couldn’t hit the notes! so i switched to an angelic voice where i could concentrate on the notes, devoid of emotion, delivered flat as if the life had been drained out of me. not what i originally intended, but a valid alternative. with ‘fall‘ i was aware of my previous failings and tried much harder to capture better vocals and succeeded, though possibly due to the key it’s in. i could go back and re-record all the vocals on all my tracks, but i think a better method would be to get a decent vocalist and see how that improves the song in question? after all, if the words are going to make an impact they need to be well delivered