I often get frustrated with myself because I have trouble writing songs of great consequence. I don't usually sit down and try to write songs of social or political importance. I don't say, "Hey, I should write one about freeing Tibet or about spousal abuse." Usually a good string of lyrics will pull me in and I'll just let the song happen. When I do approach a song with a particular agenda, it ends up sounding forced. So I've learned to just let my process flow freely.
That's where the problem is. Apparently my subconscious mind only has thoughts of love--that's the agenda. So even when a song starts out with a different message, love somehow ends up seeping through and coloring the final product.
"Fall Back Samantha" is a song about an abusive relationship. But it's also a love song that reveals the abused woman's perspective.
"American Splendor" is about Harvey Pekar's battle against cancer. But it's also a love song, sung to him from his wife Joyce's perspective.
"Got You By the Memory" is about landmark locations from my life being destroyed or taken away by corporate America. But it's also a love letter to the memory of some places that I've lost.
There are others that aren't love songs in a classic sense that are also somehow flavored with love. And of course, I always joke about 70% of my original tunes being written on the subject of unrequited love.
I know it shouldn't bug me. If you can write love songs, you should write love songs. But sometimes I wish I were more versatile. Right now I'm in the best relationship of my life so it seems every time I pick up a pen something saccharine pours out onto the page. And then I try not to vomit on top of it, telling myself that maybe it's salvageable. Maybe I can pull something bigger out of some of those amorous little nuggets.
For now, here is another love song. At least it's something:
Beneath the bruises
that you left
on my neck
I feel my pulse and know just what it's there for,
what it's there for.
In my room at night
I rifle through
and throw out all the songs that you don't care for
you don't care for.
When you're not here
I hear your footsteps
on the stairs and at my door,
at my door.
And when you are
and realize that I've got
one more cup to pour,
one more cup to pour.
When you leave
you take the color
I paint by numbers
on a calendar where days all lead to you.
In my dictionary
all the synonyms
for need and want are all defined
by one word and that one word is you.
You're the coffee grounds
that I swallow down
get me through the day.
You're the traffic signs that tell me where I'm going to.
You're my tylenol.
You're my Wailing Wall and
when I've gotta fall
you're my favorite kind of parachute.
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