Songwriting: Oh, How I Loathe Thee

Why is it so hard to write a song?

And not just any song, but a good song.  One that will make you feel good that you wrote it all by yourself.  Why is it that sometimes I sit at my piano for what seems like hours, having come up with nothing original?  Why can’t I simply hum the first thing that comes to my mind, and add beautiful harmonies and unmatched lyrics?  Songwriting is much more than that; a true song must come from the heart.

It has always been, and probably always will be, a mystery to me how certain people can have what seems like an endless amount of original and amazing musical talent, and yet it takes me forever to write one meaningless song that no one likes.  Take John Lennon and Paul McCartney, for example.  They are arguably the greatest songwriting duo in the history of popular contemporary music, and they gained so much fame based on albums and albums of original hit songs (granted, a few of their first albums contained many covers).

The Beatles, not discounting George or Ringo, had an amazing ability to produce chart-topping mega-hits that almost everybody knows and loves.  Their careers as a group spanned nearly a decade, not to mention their solo work.  I believe all four Beatles had at least one Top 40 hit in the few years following their break up.  Although I do enjoy their work, it makes me a little jealous, and at times, I find myself saying, "Why didn’t I think of those lyrics?" or "Why couldn’t I have come up with that melody?"

It’s frustrating to the point of near insanity.

I have always prided myself on being somewhat musically gifted: I can carry a decent tune when I really try, and I can play the piano quite well–as well as someone can I guess, after five years of piano lessons.  But is there a class that teaches songwriting?  Is there a class that teaches chart-topping mega-hits songwriting?  Because if there is, tell me where I can sign up!

Sometimes I will grab my poetry journal and sit next to the radio for a while.  I will try to sing some of my poems to the tune of the songs on the radio.  This helps my mind get into a sing-songy mood.  Other times I will sit at the piano and try to play out some chord progressions that are in my head.  Most of the time when I take this route, I end up picking out a song that sounds familiar, until I realize that it already is a song.

Stupid copyrights.

I don’t hate all good songwriters; I really don’t.  A lot of times I will wish that I wrote the song I heard on the way to work, but then it makes me feel that much more grateful that someone did in fact write that song.  Otherwise I would have nothing to sing along with on my way to work.

Maybe it’s just me.  Maybe I’m not cut out for songwriting.  Maybe I should just stick to writing mediocre poetry and semi-engaging short stories.  Writing what I know is way less frustrating than trying to write chart-topping mega-hits.

Who am I kidding?!

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