“The phrase and the day and the scene harmonized in a chord. Words.”
― James Joyce
. . .
. . .
Music lyrics have always fascinated me.
I used to sit for hours reading through the words while the music played. Sometimes understanding their meaning, sometimes not — but always curious how those words and stories came to be.
Like the intrigue inside . . .
“Listen to the color of your dreams.” — The Beatles
“How many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry?” — Bob Dylan
“We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl. ” — Pink Floyd
“Dying is easy. It’s living that scares me to death.” — Annie Lennox
“It’s sad and it’s sweet and I knew it complete when I wore a younger man’s clothes.” — Billy Joel
“All lies and jest. Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest” — Simon and Garfunkel
And while I’ve been writing for more of my life than I haven’t, I’ve never tried to write music lyrics.
This summer, I talked for hours with my friend and singer-songwriter, Claire Holley, about her process of writing lyrics and melodies. I left our conversation with a commitment to finally try it out, and Claire spurred me on even more with a promise to my lyrics to music.
So I started writing.
And, well, it wasn’t easy. I found it surprisingly difficult to put my story together in this way. Should it rhyme? Should it not? Should it be literal? Metaphorical? Relatable to all or personal to only a few?
But it was also a fun challenge to try out this new art form.
I sent Claire my lyrics this fall and, true to her word, she put my lyrics to music. In exchange, I offered her some photographs of mine to accompany two new music tracks — Blowing Pines and O Come O Come Emmanuel, which comes out today!
You can take a listen to the finished song via the video below. And it’s called Time because I love how a photograph has the power to stop time.