Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Stop, Collaborate and Listen

From Seattle Weekly, and its Reverb blog section, there comes a nice piece on the pros and cons of songwriting with a partner as opposed to on your own... I guess we all go through this as songwriters and this is a nice overview of this "problem" by John Roderick, the singer/songwriter for Seattle band The Long Winters.

Here is a sample of the lengthy and insightful article (I particularly like the commentary on "Democracy" in band songwriting):
Over the years I've written scores of songs with other people, and some of my partnerships were both prolific and fun, but as I got older I turned more and more toward writing songs alone. The passionate arguments and beer-soaked jam sessions of collaboration seemed like fun, back when I had infinite patience and no confidence, but when my attention turned away from funk jams and toward three-chord ballads I found my partners were making fewer interesting contributions. As I got better at writing songs, my partner's suggestion that the chorus be played with a Reggae backbeat just seemed like it was wasting precious time. Democracy is a lovely idea, in bands as well as nations, but it's seldom implemented perfectly and is often a mask for dishonesty. I've known many bands where the pretense of equal contribution to the songs was a real handicap: clearly one person was doing the best songwriting, but most of the band's energy was spent stoking the egos of the minor contributors. "Oh yeah, play the chorus reggae style? Yeah, good idea. Let's try that. Hmmmm, yeah, interesting. Yeah, what if - I love the idea, but - uh, what if we try NOT doing that?"
Sometimes that Muse is testy... Hmmm?

2 comments:

pinball king said...

Reminds me of Nirvana: Kurt wrote all their good songs, then as soon as he was gone, Dave Grohl was forced to start writing good songs!

Renz said...

To tell you the truth, I'm more partial to Grohl... I think they're both fantastic writers, but Grohl has the ability to be humorous too... something I didn't see too much of in Cobain...

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