I love to hear the words in songs. It’s just a snapshot of emotion captured and put to music, and it can’t (usually) travel far. Perhaps in opera it can move the story along. In musicals generally, I feel it is a pause in the storyline. It adds emotion. Time for the viewer to empathise with a point of view and feel more engaged. It can work very well. There are some great musicals and I am by no means a knowledgeable expert on the subject but I know what I like, and in some films and plays, musical interludes lift and carry me along very happily. The exception is Mama Mia!
I think Abba are Fab. Good tunes and rhyming lyrics – and English isn’t even their first language! Many of their songs were written from the heart – from their own relationship experiences. How difficult must that have been – to sing about something so personal to their own situation, on stage, and have it recorded for all time.
Most people have experienced the feeling of hearing an old song and being transported, emotionally, to somewhere else. Maybe to where they first heard it – who they were with, how they were feeling. Carried back, just for that moment. The power of music is power indeed. Or is it the lyrics?
Some people “love a good tune” but have no idea what the words are and don’t care. They just like the sound. Or the beat. It’s even possible for some people to love the sound of a particular singer’s voice, and not really care what they are singing about or what language they are singing in. They just “get” the tone. For me, it’s all in the lyrics.
So, here’s the thing. I’ve written three songs. The lyrics for three songs, I mean. And I can hum a bit of a tune for two of them. One was conceived when Linda McCartney died. It’s a passionate empathetic song for Paul (my first love, LOL) but I only finished it about three years ago. One was written in Morrisons car park when I was feeling a bit depressed. The third and most recent was written as images of sand and tumbleweed drifted through a dream! One day I’ll be famous and you heard it here first. How anyone can convert the sound of a tune in their head into a music score is beyond me. And without that, the lyrics are only poems with repetative refrains. Ah!