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A Good Song Crying From a Song Gone Bad – Bad Song! Part IV

I hope you’ve enjoyed my thread on the joys of bad song writing. I’ve introduced the bad song exercise, as a solo, co-write, or group exercise; and the Gallery of Horrors pages for your Songwriter Toolkit.

I always like to teach things I’ve tried, and try things I’ve taught. (There’s an example of a rhetorical device called chiasmus, which is another exercise!)

So I thought I’d share one piece of creative work with you, that came out of a self-challenge that came to me for my own writing as I wrestled with the idea of bad song writing. I like to push my writing forward by setting myself challenges, then trying to write them. I sometimes make the challenges fiendishly difficult: failing is fun, when what you set out to do was outlandishly unlikely in the first place.

I love songs about songs (I call them “meta-songs”), particularly songs where a song itself is personified in some way—even the very song being sung. As I was polishing up my bad song exercise, I thought about what it would be like to be a bad song. Would the bad song know it was bad? Would it think it was good? As I played around with the concept, I switched the point of view. How about a good song trapped inside a bad song? How would that song feel about its bad-song “environs” not to mention the lout that cooked up the mess in the first place? I had my concept.

What made this song challenging to write was that I experienced myself moving back and forth in writing it, from trying to be “good”—clever, rhymed, well-formed—to trying to be the kind of bad you are when you don’t know you’re bad. Of course, writing bad is easy—but that kind of easy turned out to be pretty hard!

Here—lyric only for now—for your dining and dancing pleasure, is my current draft of “A Good Song Crying From a Song Gone Bad.”

A Good Song Crying From a Song Gone Bad

©2013 Mark Simos/Devachan Music (BMI). All Rights Reserved.

Written 2/7/13

Help!—I’m a good song trapped inside this bad song

Written by this idiot who’s strumming this guitar

Making lines go by with weird rhythms that last way too long

He can’t find the words

And he can’t find the words

And he’s gonna make you pay for that

 

Tell me: How ya gonna get the last ten seconds of your life back?

Have you ever thought of that?

I thought I would be happy, but now I find I’m sad

I could have been so good, it makes me so damn mad

A good song crying from a song gone bad

 

He caught me unawares as he was walking down the street

Must have been the drumbeat of his two tired flapping feet

A title for a hit song that could make someone’s career

Landing in the lap

Of a fool who needs a nap

And a cure for his tin ear

So where do we go from here?

 

Tell me: How ya gonna get the last two minutes of your life back?

How can something so bumpy fall so flat?

I’m getting kind of grumpy, I lost the chance I had

I could have been so good, it makes me so damn mad

A good song crying from a song gone bad

 

Someday I’ll fly away from all these bad lines

That surround me just like prison bars trap a con

And like a beautiful girl stepping out of a bikini

Careless of her tan lines

I’ll leave these awful metaphors behind

And ride off to the dawn

Wearing my white hat

(He added that part about the hat

Someday I’ll make him pay for that)

 

Tell me: How ya gonna get the last five minutes of your life back?

I wanted to be holy, now I’m just unholy crap

I thought I would be happy, but now I find I’m sad

I could have been so good, it makes me so damn mad

And if this bad song makes other bad songs

I’m gonna be a dad

A good song crying from a song gone bad

A good song crying from a song gone bad

 

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