The Gallery of Horrors – Bad Song! Part III

In Part I of this thread, I introduced a “Bad Song!” exercise you can use as an ice-breaker or warm-up. In Part II, I gave some examples of great bad songs from the media, and pointed out that a talent for bad song writing is not such a bad professional skill to have in your toolkit. Here I return to the theme of using badness as a way of opening up your creative work. I guess you could call this “I’m bad and I’m proud…” or “I wrote it bad, and hey!—that’s good…”

Taking ourselves too damn seriously can definitely get us stuck.

Supposedly, late in his career, the composer Leonard Bernstein became creatively paralyzed. When he sat down at the piano he felt whatever he came up with needed to be “worthy of Leonard Bernstein.”

Now, I’m no Leonard Bernstein. But at times I “Simos freak myself out” in a similar way. I become the victim of my steadily rising standards, if not abilities. So there’s a specific tool I use to counteract the “Bernstein effect. When I come up with a real howler—a spectacularly terrible line—instead of throwing it away and trying to forget I ever wrote it, I collect it in an ongoing list I call my Gallery of Horrors.

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