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Thread: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

  1. #1
    Forum Member S. Cane's Avatar
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    Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    So, as some of you already know, I play in a cover band and also write songs of my own. So does our singer. We're getting ready to put these songs together and record them. When the work is finished, we intend to launch singles into streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, as well as, of course, play them live in our gigs.



    Writing songs is not something I do with method or proper technique, the riffs, soloes and words just occur to me when I'm strumming the guitar, which means that I produce original songs that have kind of an authentic life of their own. I don't grab a guitar, pen and paper and decide to write a song in this or that style, key, mode or anything; I have an idea and I make it happen, whatever style it fits in. Most of what I write sounds kinda like grunge with some Hendrix accent.



    Now, here's what I'd like your opinion about: I'm Brazilian. My native language is Portuguese. However, my songwriting flows much better when I write lyrics in English. To me, the songs sound much better when sung in English, but yet I feel just a little bit frustrated because maybe I could be a tad more authentic if I wrote the lyrics in Portuguese.



    I even though of mixing it up, as some Brazilian artists did back in the 60s. An example would be Caetano Veloso's album "Transa", which he recorded in England while he was in exile. He sings most of the song in English, but there's a strong chorus sung in Portuguese. Don't associate this style to what you think I write: my songs are entirely different. I'm showing you guys this one just because of the language mix (also, it's a great song).







    What do you guys think? Should I write all the stuff in English? Should I throw some Portuguese in (would it sound interesting to you)?



    I appreciate every reply.

  2. #2
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    I think lyrics in English would certainly broaden the song's appeal globally but your local audiences may enjoy the song better if it were written in their native tongue.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

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    Forum Member gibsonjunkie's Avatar
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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    One of my favorite performers is Stephen Stills and he blended Spanish into a few of his songs. I think it made them better. I think you should write the song you want to write, regardless of the audience. Some of my best tunes "popped" into my head, but there are a few that I really had to "craft" and they ended up coming out great, too. I have heard some of the great songwriters say that the song existed and they were the one privileged to find it. I've felt that way a couple times myself. Write a LOT of songs any way you can and you'll find some great stuff along the way... and probably some cr@p... but that's how it works.
    "We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness." Mark Twain

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    I think you should do them in Klingon.
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    I think you should do them in Klingon.
    "You will enjoy this next song, or die in glorious battle to honor your ancestors"

    "Live and learn and flip the burns"

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    Forum Member S. Cane's Avatar
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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    Quote Originally Posted by Offshore Angler View Post
    I think you should do them in Klingon.
    hmmm no. Klingon chicks aren’t very good looking

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    Come on, you never had fantasies about a three-way with Lursa and B'etor?
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Forum Member S. Cane's Avatar
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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?


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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    [


    What do you guys think? Should I write all the stuff in English? Should I throw some Portuguese in (would it sound interesting to you)?

    Or perhaps Portuguese with some English? Why not? Look at the success of the Sandpipers. The melody was beautiful but the bi-lingual integration was gorgeous.

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    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    Pretty sure ABBA solved this puzzle 50 years ago.

    Or Astrud Gilberto 60 years ago.
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

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    Forum Member blackonblack's Avatar
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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    Quote Originally Posted by gibsonjunkie View Post
    One of my favorite performers is Stephen Stills and he blended Spanish into a few of his songs. I think it made them better. I think you should write the song you want to write, regardless of the audience. Some of my best tunes "popped" into my head, but there are a few that I really had to "craft" and they ended up coming out great, too. I have heard some of the great songwriters say that the song existed and they were the one privileged to find it. I've felt that way a couple times myself. Write a LOT of songs any way you can and you'll find some great stuff along the way... and probably some cr@p... but that's how it works.
    THIS
    Mark

  12. #12
    Forum Member gibsonjunkie's Avatar
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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    ... and keep a notebook and write EVERYTHING down - I keep a list of song titles. Every once in a while I'll see a line and get inspired.

    I always start a Word file for each new song and go through the folder periodically and see if something pops. I also write way more verses than I need and then cull out the ones that aren't perfect.
    "We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness." Mark Twain

  13. #13

    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    Quote Originally Posted by gibsonjunkie View Post
    ... and keep a notebook and write EVERYTHING down - I keep a list of song titles. Every once in a while I'll see a line and get inspired.

    I always start a Word file for each new song and go through the folder periodically and see if something pops. I also write way more verses than I need and then cull out the ones that aren't perfect.
    For the last 15-20 years or so, I've used the Notes applet in Microsoft Outlook to hold potential titles and lyric lines. If I come across an interesting phrase online or in a book on the Kindle, I'll copy it, email it to myself, and then drag and drop the line to Notes. It's been invaluable for whenever I got stuck thinking of the next line.

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    Forum Member gibsonjunkie's Avatar
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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Driscoll View Post
    For the last 15-20 years or so, I've used the Notes applet in Microsoft Outlook to hold potential titles and lyric lines. If I come across an interesting phrase online or in a book on the Kindle, I'll copy it, email it to myself, and then drag and drop the line to Notes. It's been invaluable for whenever I got stuck thinking of the next line.
    I've started using Microsoft OneNote the same way. The nice thing is there is a phone app and it syncs with all my computers as long as I'm logged in to my MS account. I can stick it in my phone, or on a PC and it ends up everywhere!
    "We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness." Mark Twain

  15. #15
    Forum Member S. Cane's Avatar
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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    Well, I myself prefer the good old Moleskine notebook and a Pentel, which I’m carrying all the time

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    Re: Songwriting: May I have a bit of your attention please?

    Just noticed this thread, here in New Mexico, folks seem to wander between English and Spanish if they are among friends. I'm an English speaker, but after 70+ years living and working around folks speaking Spanish I understand enough to converse, (albeit using both languages). My wife and I listened to the blues guy you posted in another thread, and I only understood parts of the lyrics, but that didn't kill the vibe! Write what you think makes the song work, sometimes substituting an English word kills the feeling.

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