Theme based on One Very Important Thought by nostrich.
So, some part of me has wanted to write a song for a very long time, but I keep getting caught up in the perceived inadequacies of my lyric-writing abilities. But, I’m gradually coming to believe that the path to success largely involves a willingness to suck at something (thoughtfully!), so I’ve decided to take to actually writing some song lyrics. But, where do we get our inspiration? And how do we make the lyrics thoughtful?
For now, I’m going to contrast two songs: “A Whole New World” from Disney’s Aladdin and the song sung by Anthony when he first comes upon Johanna in Sweeney Todd (in the musical version, not the movie). The gist is essentially the same in both songs and stories. The girl, having been largely confined to her living quarters, wishes for the freedom to see the rest of the world, while the wide-eyed wandering lad seeks to woo her. Yet the two present the romance very differently. Even though Anthony’s occupation as a sailor puts him in a good position to provide her with an opportunity to escape, his desire to get involved with Johanna is initially motivated by the fact that SHE is the greatest wonder he’s ever seen, rather than by any belief that she needs someone to fill a gaping hole in her heart. His desire to be “favored” with her glance recognizes her as an independent being, whose preference for him would be determined by her taste, rather than his utility. Aladdin’s offer to show Jasmine the world does the opposite. I can show you the world, so that you can see me as the most beneficial suitor.
We’ll let aside the fact that every other character encourages Aladdin to be more honest, because Jasmine STILL FALLS FOR IT, and it’s still presented as if it’s a super romantic love song.
From a lyrical perspective, I really just dislike “falling in love” songs that present themselves as “always and forever” songs. It’s one thing when they’re the hindsight “we fell in love” songs (a la Strangers in the Night), because it’s accurate for couples to come to see their meeting as something that was amazing and foretelling. Memories become as magical as the emotions we associate with them.
But, perhaps more fundamentally, songs are stories, and stories are our responses to memories.
I’m trying to think of a way to make this into some succinct little rule, but it’s just not really happening. I also intended to write some lyrics at the end of this, but that isn’t really happening either. Ah well. Another time.