Lyrics Lyrics Lyrics
I've said it many times before, and I'll say it again now and probably many more times in the future, but when you've written 500 or more songs over the course of lo....these many years I've been making music, it becomes increasingly more difficult to think up things to write about that I haven't already written about a dozen times before. That's why by as early as 1992 the lyrics of my songs had oftentimes already become rather more willfully obscure, abstract, multi-layered, and...well, just odd.
To this day, I have no patience with the cliches that way too many songwriters happily settle for repeating endlessly (modern country music, I'm looking at you) because listeners are in the main far less able these days to process anything but the most basic ideas. Which is not to say all lyricists today are peddlers of mediocrity. One need only listen to Joanna Newsom, Sufjan Stevens, Jack White, and even twenty-first century Bob Dylan to know that great lyrics are being composed every day. Still, with every song I write, it seems more of my time is spent coming up with words than music.
For instance, I spent the better part of the morning coming up with some playful nonsense lyrics for the second track of the seventh single, leaving little time to work on actually recording the arrangement (which I have in my head but which hasn't made it to tape yet). Anyhow, since I probably don't have time to get lost in playing and recording, I'll probably try to finish up the artwork for the insert.
"I open up a big cabinet, and I have a collection of helmets. I put on the different helmets, and I take three bottles of Robitussin and drink them really quickly. Then I set my hands on fire; I have to write whatever comes to mind pretty fast, before my hand burn off. I just let whatever comes out, come out without thinking about it too much. Some of it I keep, some I toss out, some of it I turn into giant cigarettes and smoke 'em. I think everybody should just turn off their TV machines and make up their own songs about whatever comes to mind...their couch, their friends their loaves of bread. Everybody's got their own songs. There should be so many songs out there that it all turns into one big sound and we can put the whole thing into a pickup truck and let it roll off the edge of the Grand Canyon." -- Beck Hansen