Song lyrics with extreme expressions of emotion

Sparky2

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This only just occurred to me.

When you write your songs and song lyrics, what are your left-and-right-limits for expressions of emotion, either positive or negative?

And further, are your song-writing ambitions limited by that which is the socially-accepted norm of pop radio?

And if so, is that even a relevant convention in this life and these times?

When I was in the Army, my mates and I spoke in extreme and often outrageous terms, especially when we were joking around, riffing philosophic, or just talking story.

"Man oh man. She is gorgeous. I would crawl through five miles of broken glass to hear her fart through a walkie-talkie."

"I hate that guy. I wouldn't cross the street to p1$$ on him if he were on fire!"

See, those are extreme expressions of emotion.
But you rarely see such examples in rock, pop, country, jazz, soul, or mainstream radio-friendly music.

There seems to be a tight left and right limit for expressions of emotion.

Prince declared that, "I would die for you."
(I Would Die 4 U, technically.)

You never once thought for a minute though that his Purple Royalness would ever want to lay down and die for her. So you knew it was a lark. A song-writing hook.

Robert Palmer.
"Doctor doctor, give me the news, I got a bad case of lovin' you".
Same thing.
A clever lyric, and great hook.
But it never crossed that line.
That line of impropriety.

Rick Derringer.
If I Weren't So Romantic, I'd Kill You.

A great and clever concept, and even the title of an album.
But it never took off.
He had a cult and minor sensation with it, but not exactly a radio hit.

So help me out here.

Are there, or were there, song writers who pushed the envelope of weirdness and offensiveness, and yet still made a hit out of it?

I'll start it off by naming Ted Nugent, for example.
Cat Scratch Fever.

Never in a million years would I think that that would go.
But there it was.

Your thoughts, and offerings?

:oops:


guitar-posture.jpg
 

lathoto

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Carolina queen
She's a walking love machine
I'd like to make her scream
When I bite the bullet
Bite the bullet

Neil Young
 

kbold

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Emotive songs are only emotive if it creates an emotive response in the listener.
None of the examples you present actually create an emotive response in me.
On the negative I would think of themes of malevolence, forboding, and something underlying as sinister.
On positive I would think of hope, innocence, and love.

I don't actually think of emotive limits ... think more about creating an emotive mood. IMO, the more then the more successful I've been.

One song I wrote, with a dark theme had these verses:

Jealousy creeps
Into places that don't shine
I'm closing all the curtains
To brood a little while

Darkness now is still and deep
& it takes you by surprise
You will find me waiting
In the shadows of my mind.
 

jondanger

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Emotion is in the inflection and delivery, not the words. Even if you write like Dylan Thomas, if you sing like Ric Ocasek, there is little emotion expressed.
 

oldunc

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If you know any French, try the lyrics of "Ne Me Quitte Pas" by Jacques Brel ("Let me become the shadow of your shadow, the shadow of your hand, the shadow of your dog, but don't leave me"). Or you could go the other way with Imelda May (I love your nails, even your entrails, I love you inside out")
 

blowtorch

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I think you misunderstand "I Would Die 4 U"

That is Prince indulging in his lyrical "messianic complex" tendencies, it was a common recurring theme in his work
 

blowtorch

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I was reflecting on the cleverness of this lyric from a song by Charlie Sexton, earlier today ( I think he co-wrote it):

"I'll never kill you, this I swear
Then kill myself, just to be fair
I'll never need another queen
We'll never face the guillitoine

Love is patient, love is kind
Doesn't poison baby's wine
Isn't jealous or provoked
Doesn't quit or give up hope"

I like how he uses those classical literary melodramatic devices , just to illustrate what humdrum "love" isn't
 

Ironwolf

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Another from The Beatles "I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than see you with another man."
 

blowtorch

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Another from The Beatles "I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than see you with another man."

Stolen from an Elvis song (originally written by the great Arthur Gunter)-

"Now listen to me, baby
Try to understand
I'd rather see you dead, little girl
Than to be with another man"
 

catdaddy

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Personally, I write songs to fulfill what has been a lifetime need to be creative. As such I consider limits of any sort to be the antithesis of creativity. When my muse walks through walls I follow.
 

ReverendRevolver

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My punk band had a song called fake t*ts on a zombie.
Chorus ended in "fake t*ts on a zombie aren't as worthless as you"

It was fun.

I dont have limits regarding extremes, hyperbole, or exaggeration in song writing. I have limits in it sounding stupid, cheesy, overdone, or boring. I'll write 20 clever songs with underused words about stupid things before even thinking about a boring song about clever things.

I have a hard time singing original stuff other people write without changing cheese or bad writing. If it makes me cringe, it's not happening. I've never been a hired in singer.

Now, regarding subject matter, Dead Kennedys, Misfits, Meteors, Dead Milkmen, NOFX, Sublime, and other punk and psychobilly bands were my foundation. If it sounded memorable, it had potential. If it was offensive and hooky it was gold.
I love a good murder ballad, and horror punk. Also a fan of covering rap songs (Afro Man, Biz Marquis, Warren G, and even big poppa by biggie smalls) so no problems there with subject matter.

Again, presentation barriers abound, but I'll work cannibalism, historic atrocities, and a d!ck joke or 2 into a song about playing solitaire if nobody's paying attention.......
 

Harry Styron

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It is really difficult to write emotional lyrics that are unforced and convincing. It’s much easier to be clever or bombastic. Some of my favorites lines that I’ve written to express heightened emotion, approach it from varied angles. I try to use vivid images.

In a funny way:

You’re coming at me like the Doublemint Twins
And I feel like a fish without any fins
I can’t fend you off
I can’t swim away


Or passionately:

Imagine us together a million years ago
In a cave somewhere
There’s one thing that I know
I’d be sleeping by your fire
Rapt in our desire
Waking up I’d be making love with you.

Or pitifully:

I’ve been twisted in every direction
Pulled by a heart that’s untrue
Wrung like a rag through a wringer
And dyed a deep shade of blue

and

Just look at you
All dressed up to go
You always look your best
When you’re leaving me at home

Or wistfully:

Ev’ry day I pray
That there’ll be a way
For you to look at me
The way I look at you

or triumphantly:

When I get back
I’ll pack up my things
I’ll take all the money
You can have the *******ed rings
 




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