Song lyrics with extreme expressions of emotion

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Sparky2, May 11, 2021.

  1. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

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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:


    [​IMG]
     
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  2. lathoto

    lathoto Tele-Meister

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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
     
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  3. kbold

    kbold Friend of Leo's

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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.
     
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  4. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    Think the Police "I'll be watching you".
     
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  5. jondanger

    jondanger Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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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.
     
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  6. oldunc

    oldunc Tele-Holic

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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")
     
  7. scook

    scook Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Warren Zevon, Excitable Boy
     
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  8. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    The Beatles Maxwell's Silver Hammer.
     
  9. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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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
     
  10. scook

    scook Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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  11. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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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
     
  12. ndcaster

    ndcaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    exaggeration is basically the lifeblood of pop art

    and humor, by the way -- people say outrageous things, speak in hilarious hyperbole

    it's entertaining
     
  13. Ironwolf

    Ironwolf Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    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"
     
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  15. catdaddy

    catdaddy Tele-Afflicted

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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.
     
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  16. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I Can’t Make You Love Me by Bonnie Raitt, songwriters Alan Shamblin and Mike Reid.
    I Would Die For You - Jann Arden
     
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  17. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Friend of Leo's

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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.......
     
  18. ThermionicScott

    ThermionicScott Poster Extraordinaire

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    "Eraser" by Nine Inch Nails covers some extremes. I won't reprint it here.
     
  19. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Tele-Meister

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    Look at Lou Reed's Berlin LP its mostly all emotion songs and it is his most expensive to produce.
     
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  20. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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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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