It’s time I went back to writing songs

I used to write (very bad) songs long ago. I used to sing them too. I have no intention of singing again (a commitment for which the world should be thankful) but it occurred to me that maybe writing again might not be such a bad idea. I’m talking about the lyrics, please understand, and not the music. I cannot write a note.

This idea came to me whilst I was sitting in the doctor’s surgery today, with all the other geriatrics, each of us waiting for updated information regarding our impending death. The table in front of me had a neatly arranged pile of magazines which one would read only if the other alternative was to slit one’s own wrists. The radio was deliberately tuned to a station which was calculated to cause the least possible offence to the most possible people. Which meant, of course, that it was a little bit offensive to almost all of us. Given the choice of the magazines and the radio, however, I chose the radio. I listened instead of read. I briefly considered slitting my own wrists.

A tune was playing from my youth (why on earth are they still playing them? Most of us are deaf) and I remembered it fairly well. It was from a band called ‘The Doobie Brothers’. I was immediately embarrassed to think that I had ever had any interest in a band with such a completely dumb-arse name, but honesty compels me to admit that I might have, at some point in the past, thought that they were, sort of, ok.

The tune in question was ‘Jesus is Just Alright’. I doubt that there is any implied sarcasm in the title, though I would like to think so. I think they meant every word. Not that there are many words. But they are repeated a lot.

Here they are …

**

Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright 
I don’t care what they may say
I don’t care what they may do
I don’t care what they may say
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus is just alright 
Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright 
I don’t care what they may know
I don’t care where they may go
I don’t care what they may know
Jesus is just alright, oh yeah 
Jesus, he’s my friend; Jesus, he’s my friend
He took me by the hand; Led me far from this land
Jesus, he’s my friend 
Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright 
I don’t care what they may say, I don’t care what they may do
I don’t care what they may say, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah

**

Oh yeah! Far out man!

Admittedly these marvellous lyrics lack some substance in terms of a convincing theistic argument. And, admittedly, they appear to have been written by (or for?) a pre-schooler. But they made millions of bucks. So why do we persist with prose and poetry????

You see, the trouble with writing prose and poetry is that one runs the risk of somebody else actually reading it. And laughing uproariously at all the wrong moments. No such risk exists with songs. Because whilst people might listen they are unlikely to actually hear. Not the lyrics, anyway. There are many other examples of this (successful songs with utterly meaningless lyrics) ‘Stairway to Heaven’ (to continue the religious theme) springs famously to mind …. though I think that Led Zeppelin may have had a sense of humour about it.

So … with what little time I still have left on the planet I think I should reignite my passion for writing lyrics. Here is a quick start.

**

Oh, Baby, Baby

I know it ain’t cool

But I ain’t breakin’

No golden rule

I done been converted

I done seen the light

I be sleepin’

With Jesus tonight.

**

Oh yeah!

15 thoughts on “It’s time I went back to writing songs

  1. I agree that it’s easy to hide horrible poetry when you add music. I think one of the silliest songs I ever heard, lyric-wise, was “Something the Boy Said” by Sting:

    [But our thoughts kept returning
    To something the boy said as we turned to go.
    He said you’ll never see our faces again.
    You’ll be food for a carrion crow.]

    And then later in the song, they get eaten by crows. You had to see that coming:

    [When I awoke this morning
    The sun’s eye was red as blood
    The stench of burning corpses
    Faces in the mud
    Am I dead or am I living?
    I’m too afraid to care, I’m too afraid to know
    I’m too afraid to look behind me
    At the feast of the crow]

    Like, for seriousness?

    Like

    1. Exactly. And the assumption is that …. Hey! This is Sting. It must have a really deep meaning. His genius is obviously going over my head.

      But I think I may have mentioned to you before of a childhood hymn that left me in no doubt as to the nonsensical nature of biblical teaching which went something like

      “Jesus loves me
      Yes I know
      ‘Cause the bible
      Tells me so”

      Like … OK …. that’s good enough for me …. no more questions … case closed.
      Oh, and by the way, Bishop, what is your hand doing down my pants?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, the Catholic scandal is horrible! Makes me glad (really glad) that I grew up Episcopalian. Episcopalians are nice, friendly people.

        Yeah, you know, that “Jesus Loves Me” song just isn’t your tune, is it? 😛 You might like “Jesus, He Knows Me” by Genesis better!

        Like

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