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Author Topic: Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?  (Read 4383 times)

lastclearchance

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This could have taken the emo thread wildly off topic and I like that one unlocked so here we go.  I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on this.  

Regarding emo music:
Quote from: captainawesome
Yes, everyone has some aspect of life that's shit, but I feel like maybe they should step back, and look at other people's lives. Like say, Kuwait, with that whole genocide thing?  Or maybe even those famous starving children in Africa (Stereotypical as it is, it still is a problem, and very few people seem intereseted in doing anything about it).  And they're complaining about their life?


I don't support becoming so self-absorbed that you essentially become a narcissist minus the self-esteem either.  But just because someone had a good upbringing doesn't make them happy any more than having a bad one makes you upset.  Your point sounds dangerously close to going up to a clinically depressed person and saying "You have a job and a house, what are you crying about?  Get over it" as though it's not a chemical imbalance. Am I correct in assuming this was not what you were getting at?  Furthermore, your argument seems to indicate that music is supposed to conquer certain topics.  What makes someone's self-absorbed song about being happy any different from a self-absorbed song about being sad, when viewed in light of all these problems in the world?  I get the impression that you don't listen to Brian Wilson and think "How can you pick up good vibrations when children are dying in Africa?" so why do that for emo?  Furthermore, people often write about things that emotionally resonate with them.  Is that wrong?  I am sort of the opposite end of the spectrum because I for one think that if some fourteen year old is angry at something that his parents did and listening to Simple Plan makes him feel better, then as long as I don't have to hear the song, more power to him.
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zekterellium: was kant the guy, that if you thought you were doing the right thing, even if you were feeding sailors to werewolves, then it was the right thing?
Moiche: Err. . . .no I think that's Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

KharBevNor

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #1 on: 11 Jul 2005, 12:49 »

Only if the lyrics are to this standard:

You Lost My Memory

"Unstoppable force and immovable object,
repel one another when by chance colliding.
The Brownian-Motion within this love potion,
ensures our opinions are always dividing.
I am from Mars my dear;
you hail from Venus.
A meeting star-crossed
like the Sun and the Moon.
Destined to let this cruel world
come between us.
Our last kiss eclipsed by a shadow at noon.

A rose that is built
out of music by moonlight;
petals stained ruby with nightingale blood.
Cast down in disgust
to be crushed by a cart-wheel,
because of mere trivia misunderstood.

We quest for a grail of illusive perfection,
each hoping we'll find it some glorious day.
Yet gaze with remorse at our jaded reflection,
that looks like The Picture Of Dorian Gray.

[Chorus:]
Siamese Twins who were joined at the heart.
Love's an affliction without a known remedy.
Blunt-bladed fate
deemed to cleave us apart;
Emotional surgery pays no indemnity.
Some seek release with effete anaesthesia,
others adapt to the role of sworn enemy.
You found nepenthe in cheap, sweet amnesia;
It was far easier losing my memory.

And the nightingale sang:
"Sing love's lament
with a thorn at your breast.
Impaled by her barb;
cruel and unforgiving.
A million dead poets would gladly attest;
heart-ache's a keepsake
to remind us we're living."

[Chorus:]
Siamese Twins who were joined at the heart.
Love's an affliction without a known remedy.
Blunt-bladed fate
deemed to cleave us apart;
Emotional surgery pays no indemnity.
Some seek release with effete anaesthesia,
others adapt to the role of sworn enemy.
You found nepenthe in cheap, sweet amnesia;
It was far easier losing my memory."
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Se7en

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #2 on: 11 Jul 2005, 12:56 »

I'd agree, quality and origionality are the issues here. A "boo hoo i got dumped" song isnt exactly based on a very creative theme, but its a very universal one, that most people can relate to.. IF its a decent song.
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lastclearchance

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #3 on: 11 Jul 2005, 13:02 »

I changed the subject because I am thinking both in the specifics of breakup-type songs but also more generally.  

P.S. Khar who recorded that?
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zekterellium: was kant the guy, that if you thought you were doing the right thing, even if you were feeding sailors to werewolves, then it was the right thing?
Moiche: Err. . . .no I think that's Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

ASturge

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #4 on: 11 Jul 2005, 13:02 »

I don't think those lyrics are that good Khar. But that's just me.

It's true though, if it's just a Dashboard Confessional crapfest then there's no point.

Good lyrics are a must for a subject that has been overused to the point of sillyness.
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Patatat

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #5 on: 11 Jul 2005, 13:06 »

I used to write sad songs, then I wrote drunk songs, now I write songs about pillaging and plundering, and grand battles.


Its okay to write sad songs, but don't write just sad songs. It gets old.
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mechorg

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #6 on: 11 Jul 2005, 13:48 »

Go ahead and write music about whatever the hell you want.  Why is this an issue?

EDIT:  
If you don't like the subject matter of a song, then don't listen to it.  Its not that hard.
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lastclearchance

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #7 on: 11 Jul 2005, 13:50 »

Quote from: mechorg
Why is this an issue?


Because captainawesome said something that I disagree with, and I thought it would spark an interesting discussion.  What kind of a question is that?  You could say that about anything.
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zekterellium: was kant the guy, that if you thought you were doing the right thing, even if you were feeding sailors to werewolves, then it was the right thing?
Moiche: Err. . . .no I think that's Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

mechorg

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #8 on: 11 Jul 2005, 13:54 »

And that was directed just as much at the quote from captainawesome as it is toward the thread.
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heretic

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #9 on: 11 Jul 2005, 13:55 »

write about what you feel most strongly about, regardless of what that is. or just what you want to write about.
but,  if it turns out to be a "dashboard confessional crapfest" never let anyone else hear it, and burn the lyrics. you'll have gotten it out of your system, and the world will be no worse off.
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kikanjuuneko

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #10 on: 11 Jul 2005, 13:57 »

Quote from: Patatat
Its okay to write sad songs, but don't write just sad songs. It gets old.

With emphasis. I don't mind the occasional breakup song, but when it's all there is in an artist's repertoire, I tend to turn to artists that have something more relevant to say.
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SpacemanSpiff

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #11 on: 12 Jul 2005, 16:40 »

Personally, I'm not a big fan of breakup songs or excessively whiny songs, however, if you feel like it, write it. First of all, it will probably make the person writing it feel better (as Heretic already pointed out).
And also, It's definitely better than just writing a song about some topic that you don't care about, because honest music is, whatever genre it is, a hell of a lot better than some song that was created without any personal involvement on an emotional level but mainly to please a broader audience.
Of course, still, just because that excissively whiny song you wrote might have helped you and be honest, that doesn't mean I like it. It's just preferable to fabricated pop music.

That said, I also have to say this because one of my favorite songs, Prayer To God by Shellac is a breakup song, even it isn't whiny but just damn cynic.

I also especially agree with Mechorg's statement "write about whatever the hell you want" if you interprete it in a different way (which would be political): It's also okay to write racist or otherwise offensive songs. Not exactly because I would like it (I probably wouldn't, with the exception of Anal Cunt or Burmese songs and only because they're so over the top they can't possibly be serious anyway), but because the freedom to write about whatever the hell you want also applies to idiotic ideas.
Of course I'm still in favour of beating these people up for their ideas, especially if they're Nazis, but that's just good ol' tolerant me.
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Merkava

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #12 on: 12 Jul 2005, 17:00 »

The thing that makes a "bad emo" band a "bad emo" band is the lack of change between different subject matters in writing. One or two break-up songs are ok when spaced out, or if doing it as a theme with some irony (Cursive's Ugly Organ), but when that becomes the only thing you write about, it gets annoying.

Putting too many sad songs together ruins the effect, IMO.
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SpacemanSpiff

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #13 on: 12 Jul 2005, 17:03 »

Yeah, true. It's about variety.
But if you dedicate a complete album to one breakup, you probably should've used the time to talk to a psychiatrist instead of writing that album in the first place. :p

But this applies to all things really, not just breakup songs. If your complete album is about smashing capitalism or telling the world just how pissed off you are at your president or whatever, it isn't exactly very exciting either.
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Robbo

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #14 on: 12 Jul 2005, 17:06 »

Write your break up songs if you want. It's not gonna kill anyone, though I have to wonder how many people come to regret writing such songs.

Though as for the too many sad songs in one place comment, I have to disagree. It's all about atmosphere and what sort of sad songs. Doom is all about packing as much soul crushing sadness into one CD as you can. I like it.

But hey, there are lot worse ways to let your bad feelings out and it's not like you have to actively listen to such songs if you don't want to.
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Garcin

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #15 on: 12 Jul 2005, 18:44 »

Just to point out the obvious, break-up songs (esp. songs written about break-up rather than after break-up) don't have to be emo at all.  They can simply rock.

Eg. 1: P.S. - 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.  Therapy from the school of "the best revenge is living well."

Eg. 2: Cake - I Will Survive.  Yes.  I enjoyed Cake.  I continue to enjoy Cake (sometimes.  ok, once a month).  Don't hate me because I'm not trendy.

Anyway, I think that whole self-involved/starvation discussed in the first post is a bit of a red herring.  At any point horrible (and wonderful) things are happening all over the world.  Does that mean that you should never dwell on your own sorrow?  Come on (and I really don't want to start another Descartes thread but . . . .) everyone's at least a little self-involved.  It's part of being human.

Funny thing is, scientific studies by scientists have shown that the best song to listen to after a break up of your own is not a break-up song, but is in fact "Pussy" by The Brazilian Girls.  I can't show you the studies, though, because I left them in my car.

--Moiche
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Skibas_clavicle

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #16 on: 12 Jul 2005, 19:08 »

Only if you're Blake Swartzenbach....and possibley Ben Gibbard.
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I like the way you work it.

Inlander

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #17 on: 12 Jul 2005, 19:18 »

Quote from: Skibas_clavicle
Ben Gibbard.


Which segues nicely into my opinion . . . Basically, if you're going to be all whiny and self-pitying then keep it to yourself.  A break-up song only works with a bit of self-awareness, or even the ability to laugh at yourself.  A good example is "Nothing Better" by the Postal Service.  Sure, Gibbard whines like a champion in it - but he also had the good sense to offset this by having Jen Wood cutting him down to size throughout the song, and at the end of it all the listener's sympathy is definitely with her.  Another classic song in the same mould is "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues.

My favourite, though, is "She Cuts Hair" by Darren Hanlon, about falling in love with a hairdresser.  If you can't write lyrics like this about being shot down in flames by someone you fancy, just don't bother trying:

As the town hall clock struck three
I delivered my soliloquy:
She wouldn't give the time of day to me,
But she gave my pride
A short back and sides
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saturnine1979

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #18 on: 12 Jul 2005, 20:12 »

I just heard "Pussy" by the Brazillian Girls the other day. Fantastic song.

And now to earn the rancor of this entire community:

I actually like Dashboard Confessional.

Obviously, most Dashboard songs are extremely melancholy and sad and boo hoo omgzsheleftme whining. I fully realize that, and I.don't.care. I really like the album The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most. It covers just about every kind of breakup in every whiny way imaginable and I think it's great at what it does. Sure, it's depressing as hell and good for nothing but wallowing in sadness, but with that, I think it accomplishes its objective very well.

The followup, A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar (a more pretentious title than the last) falls short to me because of its variety of moods and topics. It's much more straight up pop than "emo", and I think the electric guitars cause the songs to lose alot of the intimacy and "confessional" style that Carrabba had going with his previous work.

Places may be all tear stained diary entries, but damnit, I like it.

Noonch.
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sp2

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #19 on: 12 Jul 2005, 20:56 »

Quote from: Skibas_clavicle
Only if you're Blake Swartzenbach


Blake Schwarzenbach died in 1995 and was replaced by an alien clone, who proceeded to record Dear You.

I actually liked a few songs on Dear You, I feel ashamed, I know every drumroll.
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Schmendrick

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #20 on: 12 Jul 2005, 20:56 »

I believe that when people whine for the sake of whining or because they think of it as a way to get signed it's very difficult to take them seriously. I think that writing a song should be a reflection on yourself. It's just like when people write novels about places they've never been or don't bother to research it, the novel comes out sounding insincere or nieve. If someone writes a song about having this terrible life when they've never experianced it, than it will appear insincere. I think you can really tell when someone writes a song that means a lot to them. I'm not saying that songs can't be fun, but I think ones about things that are sad, or about breakups or whatever should be heartfelt.
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Merkava

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #21 on: 13 Jul 2005, 16:45 »

Quote from: Inlander
Quote from: Skibas_clavicle
Ben Gibbard.


Which segues nicely into my opinion . . . Basically, if you're going to be all whiny and self-pitying then keep it to yourself.  A break-up song only works with a bit of self-awareness, or even the ability to laugh at yourself.  A good example is "Nothing Better" by the Postal Service.  Sure, Gibbard whines like a champion in it - but he also had the good sense to offset this by having Jen Wood cutting him down to size throughout the song, and at the end of it all the listener's sympathy is definitely with her.  Another classic song in the same mould is "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues.

My favourite, though, is "She Cuts Hair" by Darren Hanlon, about falling in love with a hairdresser.  If you can't write lyrics like this about being shot down in flames by someone you fancy, just don't bother trying:

As the town hall clock struck three
I delivered my soliloquy:
She wouldn't give the time of day to me,
But she gave my pride
A short back and sides


It's not a whine. That's how his voice sounds in and out of sing-song. :P

Really, it's more introspection than wallowing in self-pity. I'm never overwelmed or cheesed off by the lyrics, since they are never that whiney or personal.
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onewheelwizzard

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #22 on: 14 Jul 2005, 15:47 »

I only like breakup songs, for the most part, when they're coming from the phase of a breakup during which you're finally actually over it.  Good example: Mark Lanegan's "Don't Forget Me":

I know you got somebody new, much better than me
But because my love is true, all my best to you, don't forget me dear


The exceptions are songs that simply rock regardless of lyrical content.  "Stabbed in the Back of the Heart" by the Burning Brides could have any lyrics they cared to give it, and it'd still rock.

My advice when it comes to breakup songs is to write them with the post-over-it period in mind, when you can write the song without whining.
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Merkava

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #23 on: 14 Jul 2005, 16:30 »

Quote from: saturnine1979
I just heard "Pussy" by the Brazillian Girls the other day. Fantastic song.

And now to earn the rancor of this entire community:

I actually like Dashboard Confessional.

Obviously, most Dashboard songs are extremely melancholy and sad and boo hoo omgzsheleftme whining. I fully realize that, and I.don't.care. I really like the album The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most. It covers just about every kind of breakup in every whiny way imaginable and I think it's great at what it does. Sure, it's depressing as hell and good for nothing but wallowing in sadness, but with that, I think it accomplishes its objective very well.

The followup, A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar (a more pretentious title than the last) falls short to me because of its variety of moods and topics. It's much more straight up pop than "emo", and I think the electric guitars cause the songs to lose alot of the intimacy and "confessional" style that Carrabba had going with his previous work.

Places may be all tear stained diary entries, but damnit, I like it.

Noonch.


I love moody and sad. That's always awesome, but I think that Dashboard is just annoying. I think I'll need to listen to Places again, since most of my impressions come from the crapfest that is MMBS.
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Cap'n Spoonie

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Is it okay to write sad (subset=breakup) songs?
« Reply #24 on: 15 Jul 2005, 23:48 »

As far as I am concerned you can write about anything you want if you have the talent to back it up.
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