How lyrics work,
November 4, 2001 5:53 AM   Subscribe

How lyrics work, offered up by one of my favorite singers and songwriters. No, you won't learn who she was really singing about in "You're So Vain" but it's still a fascinating read about a topic she knows a thing or two about.
posted by MAYORBOB (7 comments total)
Thanks for the link; I've not heard of Doubletake before, but it looks like there are some good articles to read there. I quite like how Carly Simon said that lyrics that rhyme make listeners comfortable - I hadn't thought about it before, but it makes perfect sense.
posted by some chick at 6:37 AM on November 4, 2001

i think i read somewhere that the song was about james taylor, sometime around their breakup. heaven only knows which neuron in my head is occupied with that particular bit of information. or why.
posted by patricking at 9:27 AM on November 4, 2001

"Some emotions are better left unrhymed."

I'm all goosepimply! =)
posted by ZachsMind at 9:28 AM on November 4, 2001

Great article. Not a particular fan of Carly Simon, but it was still quite instructive.

Next week, though, I would like them to get Leonard Cohen to write a similar piece.

"Well, the way I write songs is, I spend a couple years in a monastery, come home, get good and drunk, then think up different metaphors for suicide. Works every time."
posted by Hildago at 10:10 AM on November 4, 2001

It's not an article, but here's LC talking about how he does it. Sort of.
posted by idiolect at 10:48 AM on November 4, 2001

I thought Carly Simon got it exactly right.

I write songs, both lyrics and music.....the process she describes is very similar to what i do. Usually the music comes very easily and it is a pain to get the words the way i want them-but if I am on a roll with the lyrics the melody seems to write itself.....

some good ideas here....
posted by bunnyfire at 12:01 PM on November 4, 2001

Wow - excellent link. I've been writing music for years but have only recently started trying to write lyrics as well. This gave me lots to think about.

Oh, and I'd always heard "You're So Vain" was about Warren Beatty.
posted by dnash at 8:02 AM on November 5, 2001

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