Monday, September 22, 2008

Some Songwriting Thoughts from Randy Newman

The Boston Globe ran an article featuring an interview with Randy Newman wherein he spoke about the State of the Union and the U.S. presidential election and other "unimportant" things, including some insight into songwriting as follows:

Q. When you sit down to write a pointed song about society's ills, what are you setting out to accomplish?

A. You know, I've been doing it a long time and I think my intention, vaguely, is to save the world. But I doubt I've changed one person's mind about inferior schools or racism.


Q. Is it a fundamental flaw of topical songwriting that you're perennially preaching to the converted?

A. Yeah. But I don't want to be booed and hated. I don't want to be abused. I'm too fragile for that. The Republicans don't want to hear me. That's just the way it goes. I mean, have you ever won that argument?

... and

Q. "Harps and Angels" had the biggest opening weeks sales of your career. Did that surprise you?

A. It's like being a blacksmith in 1909. The business is about to go. I'm not dismissing that this album is a success. It doesn't mean any less. The fact is it isn't going to pay the rent nowadays. The better thing is that I have the old catalog. It's still vital, commercially. It always has been.

Hmmm, comparing songwriting to blacksmithing... and the "business is about to go." Definitely some insight there from a talented/opinionated songwriter and performer... May the Muse be with you Randy...

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Jannie "Funster" said...

Hey, I tend to be a Republican and I love Randy Newman!!

Jannie (now with Comments!)

Renz said...

Yeah... good songwriting does transcend those political boundaries (I think...)

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