Here we are in the age of Covid, elections, and about every part of unrest we have ever seen. I guess it's the "END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT." Do we feel fine? That remains to be seen I guess.
As for me, I try to keep my mind on music and my participation in it, and use the overall world as the backdrop for my comments. The focus of this blog is about SUBJECT MATTER and different ways to look at that.
Songwriters often will first go for the NEGATIVE, in every situation. We don't hold jobs well, we don't don't hold relationships well and are very passionate animals. We also write about WHAT IS AROUND US. This is fine, and what we should do. However, we do have to keep our minds open to what OTHERS do so that we don't just become "ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE..."
For the sake of this discussion it is the current COVID 19 pandemic. Should we write about it.
Again, writers write what they see, and that is EVERYWHERE. So they are GOING to write about it. But how does this manifest itself in the public square, when we are out there trying to get people to listen to our music and embrace what we do. When we do that, we find it's a little more tricky than we realize.
If you quarentine 30-60 million writers, artists, poets, authors, etc. for months, you can bet that it is going to be ONE MAIN TOPIC of songwriting for some time. What that does is create a GLUT of people doing the same things in the same way. And the inherent problem with that is pretty quickly, the audience tunes out pretty quickly. A lot of the reasons they tune in to music is to GET AWAY FROM THE THINGS THEY EXPERIENCE EVERY DAY IN THEIR LIVES.
What this means is that if you want to STAND OUT with your music, you really need to look hard at what you are doing and find a way to say the SAME THING, DIFFERENTLY. It's very tough when you find a subject that is SO IN OUR FACE. And in this world of the 8 second attention span, it is pretty hard to get and keep people's attention in the first place. Near impossible to do if you don't do it differently.
I'm not telling anyone what to or how to write. I'm saying, be aware that there are a LOT of these out there. So it is essential to find ways to say what you want to say, and be aware of what others are saying so you don't just repeat information.
For myself, I've never really gotten to far into the "news message of the second." I did write a "9-11 " song, on the Saturday after and played it a little while. But the passion on that subject went away quickly and you were suddently hearing thousands of them, and while many were great, they quickly got pushed away because we moved on to other issues. Anytime you do current events, there is a good chance it is going to move past you before you even get your version "OUT THERE." The same had happen with wars, civil unrest, Hurricaines, tragedies, misery, etc. There is no shortage of any of it.
Personally, I prefer songs that find a positive out of the negative.Songs about "random acts of kindness" in stressful times. Neighbors helping neighbors, passing along help to someone they don't even know. Those, to me are more interesting details in times of stress, division, depression. Those are things that truly can bring us together.
Beware of having a "time stamp" on your songs. They can expire quickly. Write what you know, what is important to you. But be aware that the more public a subject is, the more crowded the field might be for it.