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Today, do songwriter/producers overthink songs?
Old 1 week ago
  #1
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s wave's Avatar
Today, do songwriter/producers overthink songs?

Expressing an emotion is SO important when creating songs IMO. I hear thousands of songs each month by songwriter producers - and to me - the vast majority have potential but severely miss the mark. It is the ole intellectual creating vs the artistic creation conundrum. And it seems almost all bend to the intellect; what are your thoughts?
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
What's an example of a recent pop song you'd call "overthought?"
Old 1 week ago
  #3
I don't think that's true today any more than people felt it more way back when. There were cold, calculated formula songwriters behind most of the revered songs that built the foundations of modern music. I think there are artists that absolutely play with soul and heart now, just the same.

Where are we comparing, btw? What's popular? What's on Spotify? Your local music scene? Indie sources? It's pretty hard to make apt comparisons if we're just talking about current EDM artists verses 80's rappers. Music is a very broad subject.

Further, I can't hear emotion...neither can you. You can hear a performance which seems to convey it, but that's still a performance. I don't know if Joe Cocker means it more than Justin Bieber. Maybe they're both pouring their heart into it, maybe Joe is thinking about his alimony check but has that wonderful whiskey soaked voice.

I can tell you that some of my music absolutely comes from a place of pure emotion/psyche, as much as anything I'll ever do in my life....and I know it to the bottom of my core. But, to people who listen to it I'm sure they don't hear it that way.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave ➡️
[. . .] what are your thoughts?
Let me get back with you - I'm still thinking. . .

Ray H.
Old 1 week ago
  #5
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave ➡️
Expressing an emotion is SO important when creating songs IMO. I hear thousands of songs each month by songwriter producers - and to me - the vast majority have potential but severely miss the mark. It is the ole intellectual creating vs the artistic creation conundrum. And it seems almost all bend to the intellect; what are your thoughts?
I confess I have no idea what you're talking about...like what is "intellectual creating" and what is "artistic creation?" Do you mean songs sound more now like they're based on a cookie-cutter formula vs something original? If so I agree (though it's anything but "intellectual")......but that's been true for a long time since corporations like Clear Channel bought up the radio stations and totally effed it all up. Radio stations, even in many large cities, are a horrific joke. It's all mostly rap, classic rock, and country and it's the same small set of songs over and over. I used to snap on the radio all the time; I never do now. And even the streaming services, though much better, are similarly lame.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath ➡️
Let me get back with you - I'm still thinking. . . [. . .]
OK, what I’ve concluded is that we are unprepared. Mostly, we haven’t put in the work and simply don’t have the skills or discipline. I don't expect that is dramatically any more true today than in the past.

This notion of thoughtfulness vs emotion is not near deep enough. Those two aspects eventually build each other. . .


if we put in the work.

Ray H.
Old 1 week ago
  #7
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🎧 5 years
I have no idea what that means either. I guess I should start drinking later in the night.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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I guess not that many people have heard these types of songs being produced. They are actually easy to find... you can just search youtube for a genre of say rap... and listen to most every song that has under 50 or hundred views (basically) or same with any genre on Soundcloud or whatever platform of your choice. It seems to me most efforts are missing something important. Yes they are songs... they might have one decent aspect to them... but that is about it.

Yea, they have perfect time signature and most are on pitch etc... but they are just bland... nothing new. Intellectually a song but they do just about nothing to alter your conscious or how you feel. They do not sweep you away. May you guys think all the music produced is pretty good. I think I like maybe about 1 out of 5k or 10k random songs. I must have different 'ears' than than most producers.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave ➡️
[. . .] May you guys think all the music produced is pretty good. I think I like maybe about 1 out of 5k or 10k random songs. I must have different 'ears' than than most producers.
I haven’t been running a tally, but 1 [great tune] out of 5k or 10k may be right?

Still, associating that sad circumstance with overthinking is maybe the wrong way to go. Thoughtfulness vs emotion isn’t the most useful perspective from which to view the issue. . . I don’t believe.


Ray H.

Got a couple examples of what does appeal to you?
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #10
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath ➡️
I haven’t been running a tally, but 1 [great tune] out of 5k or 10k may be right?

Still, associating that sad circumstance with overthinking is maybe the wrong way to go. Thoughtfulness vs emotion isn’t the most useful perspective from which to view the issue. . . I don’t believe.


Ray H.

Got a couple examples of what does appeal to you?
Yea thanks - here is a song that emotes and I think really delivers on expressing a feeling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDsfYzMbgjg and here is another song that is almost there... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aw22VxwOuz8 these are the type of songs that just lay out an emotion... (I do not want to post up songs by artists that I think are the opposite - for obvious reasons) thanks for your kind reply...
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #11
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave ➡️
Yea thanks - here is a song that emotes and I think really delivers on expressing a feeling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDsfYzMbgjg...
The song and the "feeling" do nothing for me, but I have great admiration for anyone who can walk backwards through the woods with a camera for over 5 minutes without falling on their ass. I wonder how many takes it took.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
The song and the "feeling" do nothing for me, but I have great admiration for anyone who can walk backwards through the woods with a camera for over 5 minutes without falling on their ass. I wonder how many takes it took.
yea - I tried to start this thread... to try to exchange songwriting perspectives in a POSITIVE light contrasting: run of the mill song writing/producing and how other songwriters stay away from formulaic processes and how they think a song stays on target and fulfills it's purpose.. When troll minds start condescending every thread and post - it adds nothing. FWIW I think this song is way better than anything I heard you do so far. If you actually observe the songs intent and listen to the words you will see - it was about a powerful dream - and this song tries to capture it. Why don't YOU post up an unknown song that YOU think is really fantastic? (one that you believe has enormous redeeming qualities or POTENTIAL)... can't wait to hear it... thx Brent.
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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🎧 5 years
@ s wave if anything songs are underthought regarding all music that can be called popular. I believe that art should always involve the intellect but intellect shouldn't be about pretension as the worst song lyrics reek of appearing to seem smart instead of actually being smart.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #14
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath ➡️
I haven’t been running a tally, but 1 [great tune] out of 5k or 10k may be right?

Still, associating that sad circumstance with overthinking is maybe the wrong way to go. Thoughtfulness vs emotion isn’t the most useful perspective from which to view the issue. . . I don’t believe.


Ray H.

Got a couple examples of what does appeal to you?
IMO great songs - kind of express that which is inexpressable. When trying to talk about music subjects 'words' fail us so often - for there is no easy way to communicate CERTAIN concepts - it is a challenge - and there will be naysaying-academic type minds boohooing those who are striving for new horizons - sincerely appreciate your attitude tc.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave ➡️
When troll minds start condescending every thread and post - it adds nothing. FWIW I think this song is way better than anything I heard you do so far.
I've done stuff, I've made it accessible. You've done nothing, near as I can tell. When you don't like my music it's a "critique," when I don't like what you like it's "trolling." I'm not upset, just pointing it out.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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🎧 5 years
@ bill5 radio has been a ****fest since the Telecom Act of 1996.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #17
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
I've done stuff, I've made it accessible. You've done nothing, near as I can tell. When you don't like my music it's a "critique," when I don't like what you like it's "trolling." I'm not upset, just pointing it out.
Generally I just do not like 'troll attitude' when trying to do something constructive. - hey I get it you have a right to do it. You say a young artist's creation is not good - yet you get all emotional when someone says it to you. You still haven't posted anything lol - and you won't I am sure. nuff said here.

So I take it you think this is a bad song and video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKNxeF4KMsY (only difference really is money and veteran artist that has carte blanch freedom because he has money) I do like both songs by the way. I am sure if Yellow was unknown you would shred it - just because I posted it oh just 5 mins of a guy filming himself walking backwards and a foolish song - Let me hear what you think about differences of the 2 songs - honestly... you and I are far apart on what we think artistic creation is... can't wait for you to post a video that YOU did that you think is great. tc
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave ➡️
FWIW I think this song is way better than anything I heard you do so far. If you actually observe the songs intent and listen to the words you will see - it was about a powerful dream - and this song tries to capture it.
Okay, giving you the benefit of the doubt, I gave it another go. Sorry, didn't even last halfway through. Dude could spontaneously combust at the 3:00 mark and I'll never know.

But in the interest of positivity, here's something that I'd call the pinnacle of evocative imagery, and turning those images into feelings. Lyrics by an old dead guy, Oscar Hammerstein Jr.

Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
Okay, giving you the benefit of the doubt, I gave it another go. Sorry, didn't even last halfway through. Dude could spontaneously combust at the 3:00 mark and I'll never know.

But in the interest of positivity, here's something that I'd call the pinnacle of evocative imagery, and turning those images into feelings. Lyrics by an old dead guy, Oscar Hammerstein Jr.

AGREED one of the best songs ever IMHO. (I am sorry I did not know you were involved in this project - hats off) tc
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave ➡️
(I am sorry I did not know you were involved in this project - hats off)
I wasn't. I'm old, but not that old. Put your hat back on.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave ➡️
You say a young artist's creation is not good - yet you get all emotional when someone says it to you.
I said I didn't like it, which is different. And I don't think we agree on what "all emotional" means.
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
I said I didn't like it, which is different. And I don't think we agree on what "all emotional" means.
Quote, unquote: "The song and the "feeling" do nothing for me, but I have great admiration for anyone who can walk backwards through the woods with a camera for over 5 minutes without falling on their ass. I wonder how many takes it took. " This says you LIKE IT? You are a very slick man - you rarely answer ANY questions - it is like trying to nail a jelly fish to the wall trying to get you to clarify ONE thing out of your mouth, you might have missed your real profession. I would hate to hear you troll a song you hate... lol - and again - so let's rehash: you said you never said you never said you didn't like it - SO do youlike it? or don't you... like it? touche'

If you just said 'it does nothing for me' - that would have been good. But when you facetiously ridicule OTHER things - this seems like a personal problem and is far from constructive input. ciao ~
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #23
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Zed999's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave ➡️
I guess not that many people have heard these types of songs being produced. They are actually easy to find... you can just search youtube for a genre of say rap... and listen to most every song that has under 50 or hundred views (basically) or same with any genre on Soundcloud or whatever platform of your choice. It seems to me most efforts are missing something important. Yes they are songs... they might have one decent aspect to them... but that is about it.

Yea, they have perfect time signature and most are on pitch etc... but they are just bland... nothing new. Intellectually a song but they do just about nothing to alter your conscious or how you feel. They do not sweep you away. May you guys think all the music produced is pretty good. I think I like maybe about 1 out of 5k or 10k random songs. I must have different 'ears' than than most producers.
So, you're talking about stuff that doesn't gain any traction. 50-100 plays is family and friends isn't it? And the maker will play it too - if they weren't proud they wouldn't post this stuff up. So what we have is people learning their art and it's the modern way of all things to do that on line in public. I don't think it's fair to criticise that.

I think you could have found a better example of a good attempt, I had to force myself to listen as far as the vocals just to see if he was ever going to start singing. By the time he did (with far too much reverb ) I was too bored to continue.
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zed999 ➡️
So, you're talking about stuff that doesn't gain any traction. 50-100 plays is family and friends isn't it? And the maker will play it too - if they weren't proud they wouldn't post this stuff up. So what we have is people learning their art and it's the modern way of all things to do that on line in public. I don't think it's fair to criticise that.

I think you could have found a better example of a good attempt, I had to force myself to listen as far as the vocals just to see if he was ever going to start singing. By the time he did (with far too much reverb ) I was too bored to continue.
The thread is about anal/intellectual vs artistic/creative song creation, not about criticizing a criticism - he asked for me to post a song or 2 that I thought has some very positive merits - with few views etc. I did, you didn't, he didn't... how do you come up with posts so far off topic...
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave ➡️
The thread is about anal/intellectual vs artistic/creative song creation, not about criticizing a criticism - he asked for me to post a song or 2 that I thought has some very positive merits - with few views etc. I did, you didn't, he didn't... how do you come up with posts so far off topic...
You still haven't defined what you mean by that. By MY understanding AND your post I quoted, I was bang on topic. If I don't understand the question - that's your error not mine. You have not provided any example of anal/intellectual and your example of artistic/creative wasn't artistic or creative IMO.
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #26
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave ➡️
honestly... you and I are far apart on what we think artistic creation is... can't wait for you to post a video that YOU did that you think is great. tc
Can I play?

(Not what I did, but for comparison with walking guy with one expression the whole clip that looks like "Don't botch it again or we'll have to reshoot the whole thing for the 15th time...")



Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave ➡️
IMO great songs - kind of express that which is inexpressable. When trying to talk about music subjects 'words' fail us so often - for there is no easy way to communicate CERTAIN concepts - it is a challenge - and there will be naysaying-academic type minds boohooing those who are striving for new horizons - sincerely appreciate your attitude tc.
I think you find the balance between heart and mind by asking your heart what it really needs to become musically complete.
- Mathieu, Harmonic Experience: Tonal Harmony from its Natural Origins to its Modern Expression. 1997
If we focus only on melodic and harmonic structures - Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: V. Chaconne is a useful example. How did Bach get to such a perfectly emotional instrumental composition? He had to have put in the work to get to that level - one doesn’t just pull that out of their [CENSORED], of course.

Then again, music doesn't have to be as sophisticated as the Chaconne to be great. Simple little tunes do just fine for me.

Now, I didn't read your initial post as concerned with 'anal/intellectual vs artistic/creative song creation'. The former is admittedly not going to sell into my playlists. On the other hand, I don't find the intellect so abhorrent as to throw it away. It is both useful and required in my humble attempts to be better. It is interesting how the mind and heart work out puzzles.

In 1955, Cindy Walker wrote You Don’t Know Me for Eddy Arnold. She focused on the lyrics while sharing her story about writing the hit song. Ray Charles pushed it up the charts in 1962. How compelling it strikes one person or another may, of course, vary widely depending on the arrangement and performance. . .and that listener's background. But - done right - it strikes me as the kind of tune that can make a grown man cry like a little girl.

If completely unaware of the lyrics - one could perhaps look at a stripped down lead sheet of the tune and imagine it originating from an intellectual exercise. . .especially if played by a particularly poor performer? OK, it would still be better than Three Blind Mice or Jimmy Crack Corn. But maybe you see my point?

A lot of what we each individually find to be great depends very much on our previous experiences and/or sense of culture. But I still suspect you are not far off with the 1 out of 5k or 10k estimate.

What, specifically, did you find most compelling in the two examples you provided?


Best wishes,

Ray H.

BTW - There is also good natured teasing as you will see in many of my posts on GS. I didn't see Brent's comments as trolling or offensive. He is a truly talented contributor from whom I've learned much. Maybe step back and reread his and other comments here in a week or two. Differences in preference almost always arise as concrete examples are put forward. What mattered to me is that you found them compelling. And with respect to that, I really want to more fully understand why. . .so I can grow as a composer, producer and recordist.

Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #28
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath ➡️
I think you find the balance between heart and mind by asking your heart what it really needs to become musically complete.
- Mathieu, Harmonic Experience: Tonal Harmony from its Natural Origins to its Modern Expression. 1997
If we focus only on melodic and harmonic structures - Partita No. 2 in D Minor, BWV 1004: V. Chaconne is a useful example. How did Bach get to such a perfectly emotional instrumental composition? He had to have put in the work to get to that level - one doesn’t just pull that out of their [CENSORED], of course.

Then again, music doesn't have to be as sophisticated as the Chaconne to be great. Simple little tunes do just fine for me.

Now, I didn't read your initial post as concerned with 'anal/intellectual vs artistic/creative song creation'. The former is admittedly not going to sell into my playlists. On the other hand, I don't find the intellect so abhorrent as to throw it away. It is both useful and required in my humble attempts to be better. It is interesting how the mind and heart work out puzzles.

In 1955, Cindy Walker wrote You Don’t Know Me for Eddy Arnold. She focused on the lyrics while sharing her story about writing the hit song. Ray Charles pushed it up the charts in 1962. How compelling it strikes one person or another may, of course, vary widely depending on the arrangement and performance. . .and that listener's background. But - done right - it strikes me as the kind of tune that can make a grown man cry like a little girl.

If completely unaware of the lyrics - one could perhaps look at a stripped down lead sheet of the tune and imagine it originating from an intellectual exercise. . .especially if played by a particularly poor performer? OK, it would still be better than Three Blind Mice or Jimmy Crack Corn. But maybe you see my point?

A lot of what we each individually find to be great depends very much on our previous experiences and/or sense of culture. But I still suspect you are not far off with the 1 out of 5k or 10k estimate.

What, specifically, did your find most compelling in the two examples you provided?


Best wishes,

Ray H.

BTW - There is also good natured teasing as you will see in many of my posts on GS. I didn't see Brent's comments as trolling or offensive. He is a truly talented contributor from whom I've learned much. Maybe step back and reread his and other comments here in a week or two. Differences in preference almost always arise as concrete examples are put forward. What mattered to me is that you found them compelling. And with respect to that, I really want to more fully understand why. . .so I can grow as a composer, producer and recordist.

First great post IMO! I do think people like Mozart or Carl Douglas did pull things out of thin air as well of thousands of other - it is debatable 4sure. I am of that ilk. Yea Brent is a good talented guy also... but I think it is trolling when people try to derail thread by NOT answering any back and forth questions. They just have the preconceived idea of 'I am right you are wrong' type thing - all the while saying they need clarification on what is the meaning of the thread. This seems ridiculous... like heated arguing with some one - not asking rebound questions then asking can you clarify what we are talking about. ANYWHO (who doesn't like a good heated discussion) I think they are great personally) And yes Brent is a good guy - to re-state that again.

Nora - so often hits a beautiful mark - I also think some covers are quite brilliant like Haley here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3lF2qEA2cw - there is a certain amount of creative genius here - as well as intellectual/anal work. When I hear covers like this - I think it is very inspiring... even though they are retro on retro re-hashes... there is something new? diff?
Old 6 days ago
  #29
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s wave's Avatar
An interesting artist IMO is Post Malone... he seemed to really write and perform and release - often from the hip or off the cuff. It seemed like he did not overthink many songs (maybe even underthought them) which is/was part of the appeal?! It seemes like he would maybe flue 2 totally diff song ideas together with a segue or sound - and if it WORKED - he went with it ~ ?!
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave ➡️
Generally I just do not like 'troll attitude' when trying to do something constructive. - hey I get it you have a right to do it. You say a young artist's creation is not good - yet you get all emotional when someone says it to you. You still haven't posted anything lol - and you won't I am sure. nuff said here.

So I take it you think this is a bad song and video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKNxeF4KMsY (only difference really is money and veteran artist that has carte blanch freedom because he has money) I do like both songs by the way. I am sure if Yellow was unknown you would shred it - just because I posted it oh just 5 mins of a guy filming himself walking backwards and a foolish song - Let me hear what you think about differences of the 2 songs - honestly... you and I are far apart on what we think artistic creation is... can't wait for you to post a video that YOU did that you think is great. tc
Dude, why take this all sooo personally. Brett just doesn't care for the songs you posted. I'm sure many would agree with either of you. But you post in a forum to what??? Have us all tell you you're right, the smartest man in the room? Then you dare Brett to post HIS own productions to compare? Did YOU make the Yellow video?

Like was said, one was a critique, you are the one trolling at this point.

Z
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