Songwriting: Idiosyncrasies, and what to do with them

I am back in my studio listening to the songs I have written for the second EP and am, not for the first time, confronted with a most interesting question:

Are these songs any good? And if they are, are they finished?

Finding a reliable mental toolbox to answer these questions is actually the hardest and most time-consuming part of life as a writer of stuff: to distinguish between that which is my ‘style’, and that which is just bad habits, or lack of training or inspiration. Rest assured I am not talking about the general, every-day self-deprecating fishing for compliments that may befall the youthful artist not too sure of himself or his craft, but rather of the pragmatics of finishing a song and balancing it on the very, very narrow line between artsy-partsy and boring.

Right now I know the songs are done as regards structure, melodies, harmonies, general soundscapes, so you could say the songwriting part is done. But as this EP will consist entirely of electronic music with vocals at least as much work has to go into the selection of the sounds I use for this, and so I am stuck in the arrangement for now. I have never done purely electronic music before, so sometimes I watch myself programming beats that would work on a drumset, but seriously don’t when triggering dubstep libraries, where they sound awkward.

Now I could say: hey, that is it, this is my style, nobody does it like that. To which you could say, yep, nobody does, because it sucks.

Because I am still new in these fields I cannot trust my guts yet, although that is as always all I have. Fine-tuning them to hear the difference between a good idea that serves the emotional narrative and a sound that is impressive but doesn’t support said narrative will keep me busy for the next weeks. I will release this next part on the first of November 2012.

And another thing: I think Stephen Fry is the smartest man alive.

Love,

J

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