When to walk away from a song

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  • @ayehahmur  Feb 18

    After four or five days of noodling and prodding and chewing and spitting, I've decided that the song I've been working on is...just not something that I'm ever going to enjoy listening to. I know during FAWM every a song is a song. But honestly? This one is rotten from the bottom up.
    Deciding to scrap it is a relief. I have no other musical or lyric ideas at present, but I'm kinda relishing having the freedom of the blank page again.
    Sometimes it's okay to walk away from a thing.

  • @evinwolverton  Feb 18

    Here here. Yes, if you can't find life in it in that amount of time, there's no need to finish it out of duty. Stick it in the compost pile. It'll either sprout later or help something else to.

  • @kenmattsson  Feb 19

    Maybe you just need to let it "marinate" or "ferment" for a while, and it might turn into something you like. I tend to have a book for ideas that don't seem to be going anywhere, and I occasionally look through it later and see if something that didn't fit before fits not into something. Think of it as compost: might not be edible now, but can help grow other things.

  • @franniezest  Feb 19

    I had posted one I hated so much. Then next day I moved it to private. Then then next week I just deleted it. A relief!

  • @wylddandelyon Feb 19

    I've been very happy with my songs so far this year (I just looked at Soundcloud, and the one I like least has more than 10 times the number of listens as the next most listened-to one. wtf? But it's not as if I was unhappy with it, I just like others better.)

    But I digress.

    If I had a song that I worked for four days on and I still hated it, I think I'd still list it, but keep it private, because at least by listing it I'd be honoring the time I put into it, learning about stuff not to do next time. Learning matters, even (or especially) when you learn from a failure.

    But do whatever feels best to you!

  • @scottlake Feb 19

    If it isn’t giving back, drop it for now. If it’s worth investment you’ll know in a few days

  • @cynthiawolff  Feb 19

    “learning matters”

  • @saltyjohn Feb 19

    I don't think lyrics are ever wasted even if you walk away from them. Store them away to use as spare parts. Bohemian Rhapsody was constructed from the left over bits of three songs, according to Freddie.

  • @ayehahmur  Feb 19

    Yeah, I don't throw anything away. The DAW project and lyrics will still be there if I want to go back to them at any point, although i think recycling of that sort happens naturally over time anyway. This time next year I might be searching for a melody and this one will just come out of my brain, and that's fine, that's the way music works anyway.

    It's all good. I just needed to (mentally) tear that page out of my pad and move on to a clean one.

  • @nateger Feb 19

    @evinwolverton I love those image of putting a song with no life in the compost. I've seen forgotten ideas reemerge at a later time and be perfect. Nothing is wasted! Everything is grist for the mill

  • @yam655  Feb 19

    This is why I love the skirmishes. Some songs are a joy within that hour. They'll naturally be refined further, just because they're so much fun. Other songs and one hour feels too long. I want to have something where I can make a decision to walk away or not as early as possible.

    The value of a collection of crappy songs becomes significantly less once you accept that it's easier to write a better song from scratch than it is to "fix" one of the stinkers. Once that happens, it's just an unending junk pile. That's fine when it is digital and it can be ignored... I just don't pretend I'm ever revisiting any of them.

  • @daveyboy103  Feb 19

    I find that your "inner voice" tells you when. For me it does at least.

    No sense in flogging a dead horse when you have a full stable in your head.

  • @sadloaf Feb 23

    I walk away from like 3 songs for every song I post for FAWM. Use the songs for whatever they are worth. Sometimes that isn't all that much.

  • @dock  Feb 27

    I'm with sadloaf, I seem to generate about at least 3 song starts for every song I write. When I've gone back to them they are usually still clinkers. I just consider it part of the writing process.

  • @nerdjealous  Feb 27

    I've collected a fair few of these over the years that I just cannot find the right way to make them, and I barely get passed the beginning stage. But on a positive spin regarding this.....

    One day they will come out of me and work, and will become the best songs I've ever made! I mean, every song I've built up over the years thinking I'm/they're not good enough to be worked on, eventually they get made and I remember them better for it.

    One song i did in NaSoAlMo did this for me... I just couldn't get it right for years until last November. And I have a soft spot for it now. Kinda like that niggling thought that won't get solved and one day it does thanks to some learning or insight I get.

    So don't be quick to judge your ideas! Sometimes songs aren't meant to be.. but sometimes they make your forgiveness 😉

  • @persaab Feb 27

    I have just returned to over 10 year old songs. Found couple good raw songs from there. My friend played me a cd where was some old songs from me and still haven’t found those. 😛

  • @vivalarayna Feb 28

    I'll second @kenmattsson . There are things I'll let sit for ages then return to, perhaps even a few years later. They may not revive their original form, but might spark a new concept you're much happier with. I always believe we had the original idea for a reason!

  • @ayehahmur  Feb 28

    Update: I went back to the song. Ripped out the music, pruned the lyrics to something manageable and went at it again and got something out of it. It's still not my favourite but it's at least presentable.

  • @berni1954  Feb 28

    Time can also change your opinion of a song. I have songs I loved and was proud of (when I was a semi-pro performer in the 1980s) which I cringe at now. And I have had songs that I didn't rate and people have loved them and said they were their favourites. To paraphrase Joni (I know, blasphemy, eh?) "Where some have found hell, others have found paradise."

  • @erikleppen Feb 28

    During FAWM, I actually try to "finish" anything I create, and always upload it, even if I don't like it. Maybe someone else does, and maybe someone leaves a useful comment that I can use to change the song in the future. I think the spirit of FAWM is also that "failed projects" have a place.

    Sometimes when I don't like the intro, I continue and see where it brings me, and then when I'm "at the end", I can always just delete or replace the intro.

    I do sometimes have the opposite problem: a little piece that I find really cool, but too short to consider "a song" and not knowing how to "expand".

  • @complexissimple Feb 28

    @erikleppen I have sometimes found myself with that problem, and then realized that the real problem is me thinking I need to add things in order to make it qualify as a song. Sometimes they're perfect as-is -short and sweet.

    I don't think I've ever fully given up on a song concept that I thought was promising at first. I do tend to back-burner a lot of things, though, sometimes for years.

  • @mariekevinkmusic  Feb 28

    I keep reading: when to walk away from a snog. To which the answer surely is: when you are exhausted.

    In second thought, that applies to a song as well.

  • @ayehahmur  Feb 28

    @mariekevinkmusic Lip fatigue is a real danger.

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