Most songs are penned from a personal perspective. Other songs are very ‘we are the world.’
Whenever possible, I try to cover both perspectives; mixing personal and universal points of view in my songs. It’s an unusual way to write, true, but the mix can prove powerful. I love sprinkling little reminders of how our world is actually built into lyrics. We’re all on personal journeys, for sure, but more often than not, our journeys mirror that of others too. The more we remind each other of how much our stories resonate, the less often anyone needs to feel alone.
I believe the ‘combination view’ is especially important to share with young people. They’re just starting out – looking out at the world, often thinking, “Wow. This is a lot to take in!” Even if kids and teens don’t confess their overwhelm to us, moody behavior often illustrates their stress. Lets write them some wisdom-rich songs to help with all that. Let’s encourage them to write those kinds of songs themselves. Not just anthems, but songs with breath and soul – reminders that there really are answers to this big puzzle most of the time. We just have to seek them out – have some faith.
A Suggestion to New Songwriters
If you’re writing something personal, go deep. ‘Poor me,’ has been covered in spades. If you’re compelled to write about suffering, explain to me why you fell into the ditch. Give me something to chew on. If you’re writing with a universal slant, thrown in something sincere and personal. Mix things up, don’t be lazy. Years later, when you look back at the song you’re writing now, you be glad you took the time to write something that could last.
And Be Wise
Write with a fresh point of view. Be emotionally compelling in a way we can all feel you. Draw your audience in, pointing out a hidden insight that stumbles upon a tender truth. Use your best imagination with the words you choose. Be different, and as wise as you can be. Think like Yoda.
I don’t ask much of new writers, do I? But somebody has to. This dance age will soon be over and we’ll need more depth and light.
Be that light.