Silly Idea, Serious Song

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  • @davidbreslin101  Feb 7

    Does anyone else get this problem during FAWM? A silly phrase pops into your head and you go "That's a great hook line, I'm having that!" But as you work on the song, the music gets moodier and the lyrics get more serious... to the point that if you actually use the hook line you started with, it totally undercuts the rest of the song.

    At which point- what do you do?

  • @dasbinky  Feb 7

    Personally? Double down. I love mismatched lyric / musical tones.

    Major key pop songs about depression are a little closer to reality for a lot of people. And most party songs leave me depressed. There's a lot to mine in what seems like a cognitive dissonance.

    Or you drop that hook and use it in another song. Whatever floats your boat.

  • @philkmills  Feb 7

    Once you say "undercuts" that sounds like a problem but, generally, I like funny songs to have some thoughtful substance to go with the silly. They seem to have better shelf life that way.

  • @schlimminycricket Feb 7

    sounds like a plus not a minus to me

  • @splittybooms  Feb 7

    I'm all about silly, fun, care-free, light-hearted stuff. I'll put it to whatever music my fingers end up playing. And yeah, sometimes I end up with music that you wouldn't expect with such lyrics or vice versa. And I love it.
    Sometimes I do it on purpose, sometimes whatever happens happens and I don't feel in control of which way the music goes; I love when both happens.
    So I agree with the others that its not a negative; doesn't undercut the song. Not the lyrics. Not the music.
    People have commented in the past how the difference between lyric and vibe of the music made them react. In the end...that's a good thing I think. Happy lyrics with moody electro or grunge or atmos or whatever can really make people feel different. Or melancholy lyrics sung in a happy cheery way with...i dunno dark orchestral stuff can make people also feel stuff. But you're making them FEEL stuff.
    I think that's what is important.
    I'm blabbling now because you're talking about my kind of style. So to answer your question, I just go with it gladly.

  • @johncrossman  Feb 7

    Yeah, no problem, especially if you still got a song out of it. What the people above say -- use it again, dump it or flip it around so it works again. I vaguely remember the story about how The Beatles' "Yesterday" started quite differently.

    “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” - William Faulkner

  • @tuneslayer  Feb 7

    Three words: Go with it.

    I mean, you've got a song, and if it's not what you intended when you started out, that's OK. Maybe you can try again with the original song, maybe there's a tweak or two that will bring the song you have back around to the idea you wanted.

  • @standup  Feb 8

    For me, FAWM is just like that. You have to take the idea and run with it, because you don't have a lot of time to belabor things.

    I think for a FAWM song I would just say to myself "Well look where that ended up". And post it if it's not completely ridiculous. If it's COMPLETELY ridiculous re-write just the silly line, then post it.

    But what do I know. I just posted a song about death rays.

  • @andygetch  Feb 8

    +1 on all of the above and at that point I might turn it into two or three songs, or post it and FAWM on, depends on my mood LOL.

  • @rosedeschamps  Feb 8

    Honestly there’s very little I enjoy more than these kinds of songs 😀

  • @rainchaser  Feb 8

    Care to share some examples? Are you referring to the music or the lyrics?

  • @bradbrubaker  Feb 8

    No one says you can't make two songs using the same line: a serious one and a silly one.

  • @scubed  Feb 8

    @bradbrubaker I’ve had situations like this more than once, where I’ve ended up writing two very different songs simultaneously, based on the same idea.

    And then there was the 50/90 a few year back, where every single song insisted on devolving into therapy notes for the same #$$% unresolved issue. I gave up.

  • @stephenwordsmith  Feb 8

    *gestures vaguely at entire back catalogue*

  • @coolparadiso  Feb 8

    yup im a miss matcher - people comment all the time!

  • @loveonamixtape  Feb 8

    Another +1 for the "lean into it." I think the tragicomic is often the most poignant. John Prine is a great example of a mix of the serious and the silly, very often in the same song. But there are tons of examples. I personally love playing with contrasts like that and when a silly idea points at something deeper and more serious, or when a moment of wry self-awareness or silliness can reflect on the otherwise-serousness of a song.

  • @complexissimple Feb 8

    People seem to think I'm being silly when I'm being serious anyway, so :shrug:.

  • @estebanlartigue  Feb 9

    Yeaaaah. What i loved from Fawm is that i write as fast as possible so its closer to the original intent- but i agree once you formalize sometimes the spark is left out 😞

  • @radiobenedetto  Feb 14

    I ran into this during the one name challenge. Some friends challenged me to right a song about one of them but they only gave me joke lyrics. I wanted to write a serious song though. So I found a clever way to combine the too. The jokey lyrics are in the voice of the protagonist and the more serious stuff (also has some jokes) is in the voice of the narrator. Check it out:

  • @arthurrossi Feb 14

    I have already made that experience many times... Sometimes a new set of lyrics starts with only a rhyme or a line and I have a specific idea in which direction I want to take it, but when I start it takes another turn and I end up with something entirely different than what I planned. And this goes for both directions - "silly idea, serious song" as well as "serious idea, silly song"..

  • @radioovermoscow Feb 14

    Um, do I? This is pretty much my thing...

    This lyric: "parasite, itchy mite, neolithic appetite, greedy guts, full of pus, waiting for the bubble bust"

    I think is patently absurd... yet here it is in my attempt at writing a Joy Division/Simple Minds tune about the severe housing crisis my country has.

    And, "get in the ocean, get in the sea, fuck off to parler, don't bother me" - in a song about the rise of the new Nazis.

    It's 2021, no one wants sincerity unless its couched in flippancy...

  • @jeffokay Feb 15

    Happens to me all the time: I just change the words in the hook to fit the mood.

    I starting writing a bad hair metal song about working out called "Born to Sweat," but then a piece of art inspired me to swerve into a completely different direction: a song about loneliness in a small town during the pandemic. Couldn't very well talk about workouts.

    Oh, also I rearranged it into a moody rock song.

  • @plumptunes Feb 15

    Nothing wrong with replacing the line that spawned the song. "Yesterday" started off as "Scrambled Eggs" until Paul came up with proper lyrics. Also nothing wrong with having a line thats a little out of place.

  • @wylddandelyon Feb 15

    I'd do what's right for the song I've got and then start working on that line, hoping to do it justice now that I got whatever else my recalcitrant brain thought was more important out onto paper and into a tune. I mean, two songs for one prompt sounds like a win to me!

  • @spazsquatch Feb 15

    @radioovermoscow "no one wants sincerity unless its couched in flippancy" better show up in a track.

  • @davidbreslin101  Feb 27

    3 weeks later, the song idea that prompted my OP is still stuck. It rejoices in the title of "Geese Was Never An Option." Might come back to later. While I like a bit of mood whiplash in a song, this one needs /something/ extra to make it actually work, like, at all. And the secret ingedient is still eluding me.

  • @ambroise Mar 1

    Sometimes, embracing the change of mood — for example during a bridge — and underlying it with a key change can work.
    Or you can repeat the awkward line over and over again until it becomes the bone of your song where thee meat gets attached.
    But you probably thought of those possibilities.
    I get the same trouble, not with words, but with music. I start with groovy energy and it ends up too whiny for me. Hard to go with the flow, but how to conter that ?

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