Saturday, December 12, 2009

Lyrics to Start

Here's what I do when I try to write lyrics. I piece it together bit by bit. Rarely do I just sit down and write out a full set of lyrics. It can take weeks, months... even years to finish a set of lyrics, let alone put it to music. I normally find randomly jotted down phrases or subject matters in a sheet music notebook, and try to work with it again... molding it until I feel like I am writing something worth saying.

I am notoriously bad at writing "Christian" songs. If you think about it, it's quite the overwhelming task. I sit down at the piano, read a Psalm or two for inspiration, and then think to myself, "Why would I ever try to write something myself, when David already said it so beautifully?" So, I usually stick with my usual mind-wandering lyrics that sometimes make no sense. I always like to say that it's up to the listener's interpretation. It actually works quite successfully sometimes. Other times people will ask me what the lyrics mean... and then I have to try and remember why, several months ago, I wrote those lyrics.

So why not write lyrics that require no explanation? Is it so bad to be blunt? Metaphors can be very poetic, and lymerics can be very witty. I love being both of those things. But when the point of a song becomes the poetry, or being witty... has it lost all meaning? Can there be meaning in the meaningless? I mean... there is hope for the hopeless. Does the same rule apply?

I started writing some lyrics a month or two ago... haven't gotten very far. But it's one of those attempts I rarely make to write something about my faith. God hasn't gifted me with an incredible ability to write worship songs that churches will want to sing on Sunday morning services. No, I don't posess that gift. But I went to a Josh Garrels concert last weekend and realized that all of his songs overflow with spirituality... yet they would never be sung in a church on a Sunday morning. Not for theological reasons, and not because they aren't wonderful songs... but they are artsy, creative, and well, very different from most stream-lined Christian music you hear today. It was refreshing.

I only have one verse. But you can read it... it's nothing extraordinary. But maybe in a few months or years I will have something more. These are just lyrics to start.

I'm trading my sorrows for victory
Hoping that they will see Christ in me.
You say, "Seek and you will find."
But what happens if I've gone blind?

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