Is there a too dark?

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I got the question a copule of times now if I think peoples lyrics are to dark.
Easuest answer is:
I generally dont.
I belive that music is art and we must make people feel therefor I am not a fraid of dark topics no matter if its war or depression or, suicide or drugs.
I usually like dark becourse I feel more free in the experiment of sounds. I also don't like to be limited in my art.
But I am also a person that work a lot with people with very dark life stories so I am hardly afraid of any topic.

How about you guys?
When it comes to limitations what kind of limits do you guys have?
Would you take on any lyric or are some to dark for you?

Hi Maddie, for me it depends on the actual words so some can be too dark for me although I've created a few dark lyrics and dark music myself and from time to time I specifically look for dark lyrics. Oh, this was a long sentense...

Dark is fine with me. Dark feelings/thoughts add more drama to a song, and many people respond to that. My first inclination is to move somewhat towards the darkness, though I sometimes have both dark and light in a song, because I don't want to be too dark. And then others just want to write positive, happier lyrics. It's their personality - or it actually helps to lift them out of their own darkness.

But it Sounds here like you actually have a to dark [@Corninne54] and Thats what I am really curious about. What is to dark? Do you have any examples?

I definitely don't like it when the whole atmosphere of the song gets too dark - I find it overwhelming. So in a lot of my songs I tend to make the music poppy and lyrics bleak. People always comment on it as if it's a stylistic choice, but I can't write any other way. It's why I like bands like The Smiths et al.

Nothing is too dark for me to read or to listen to. However, if someone writes ONLY dark material, I tend not to go back after the first few times because by then it simply starts to sound whiny and like a rehash. And - as @French Cricket mentions - it can become overwhelming. (Mind you, some people are very good at keeping descriptions interesting.)

I have a dark streak myself, and am capable of writing 'bleak', but I tend not to post pieces that I feel might be overly dark, mainly because I think folks likely wouldn't be interested in reading them.

(Mind you, Stephen Harrod Buhner has some wonderful things to say about giving rein to one's shadow side in his stunning book 'Ensouling Language: On the Art of Non-fiction and the Writer's Life'.)

I tend to think dark is more interesting and to not go back if people write to bleak Or always have happy endings. But I am also raised within the dark Forrest with dark stories as part of it and dark singers of norse folklore where stories always enda with death or brutality or sadness.

Maybe its where one come from.
But I am really curious on what you have written that you considwr to dark @Donna Devine

What gets me to change the Station is, e.g., I was listening to a rocking tune, fairly heavy and "metal" ... then realized the lyric, or chant was that "I was worthless" and "should kill myself". I was actually grooving to the melody and etc., until I realized the literal words. (No, not gonna quote the lyric or name the band, etc. -- plenty out there like that I suspect if one wants a literal example.)

Well, I would hope no one of any age is affected by "that". However, we all seem to agree we are affected by music and lyrics.

So, I guess "Death Metal", or et al., like "that", is off the listening list for me.

And, no, I would not want my "kid" singing they were worthless and should commit suicide asap since, well, why not?

On the other hand, to be "balanced" here, there is too happy music imo, e.g., Lawrence Welk, Liberache, "The Archies", and like that. No, not gonna listen to that either.

Too dark for what?

You didn't specify a goal. Everything is relative. If your goal is to get your music to mainstream radio, then maybe. If the goal is to make whatever you like, no matter who else enjoys it, then nothing is too anything.

the only album that i have heard that i honestly felt tipped into the "too dark" category, though it is brilliant, is the golden palominos' dead inside. it starts with a woman narrating her experience of being bound in the trunk of a car. and it does not let up from there. the spoken word style and foreboding electronic textures add to the feeling. that first song is called "victim," and is on youtube, if anyone wishes to listen and get a feel for the album as a whole. quite different from the same band as heard on such albums as visions of excess and drunk with passion. i used to write dark quite a bit-- "once more, with feeling" featured a female narrator who is murdered 3/5ths of the way through the song, but keeps narrating, for instance. i rarely go to a dark place any more-- maybe i'm just happier as i have aged.

I don't think dark writing/music must have anything to do with How One feel in My daily life @tsunamidaily !
I just always liked dark better Both when in a Happy or in a sad place in life No matter of age.

To dark for you personallt as as musicians


Interesting thread (though I keep wanting to correct the original title to 'too dark' rather then 'to dark', which just makes me think of Shakespeare.. 'to dark or not to dark, that is the question' Smile

One thing that some of my favorite songwriters do (no one better, perhaps, then Loudon Wainwright III) is deal with very serious/dark subjects in a more comic or lighthearted manner.

--shameless plug alert: My most recent song as of now here, actually, tries to do a little of that, it's called 'how do we make happiness viral' and is at

This song I wrote is pretty dark ("Condemned by You") - though I didn't really write the lyrics. It was made on one of those lyric generator sites:

@Acousticmaddie I think of dark songs as those that are pessimistic - When one cannot see a possible way out of a situation. Sad, depressed.

Too dark? I guess murder and disregard for anything alive is too dark.

Thanks @mike skliar I have changed that.

I will check your song and [@corinnes54] s and comment there.

Everyone has their own definition of dark and therefore their own line beyond which something would be too dark (even if they think they have no such line).

I like dark. I once wrote more dark. I like murder ballads. Some people don't. I have a few examples that would probably be too dark for me. On the other hand, I've enjoyed songs before finding out exactly what they were about. A song like "I don't like mondays" seems happy but it ain't.

We all have our own boundaries when it comes to songwriting and performing, I'd say. The key is recognizing your own personal limits and boundaries.

If I get in a dark writing place too many days in a row, I start to get angrier and more irritable in real life. That's not the kind of person I want to be.

I've written my share of dark songs. I sometimes push it to an illogical extreme, "You ignored me, so I'm going to become a zombie and chase after you, so you can't ignore me".

But who wants to hang around the undead? They don't surf, or play at the beach with friends. You don't have to be fake or saccharine to be in a lighter place. The sun is shining, my dog wants to walk,and tonight we're going to a nice place to celebrate my wife's birthday. And we got a new ukulele.

I like any kind of art that provokes an emotion - happy sad shocked awed disturbed unsettling joyful wonder - anything where I have some type of visceral reposnse be it laughing crying getting chills --- I love the variety on 5090 and love ones where I am surprised like when someone who has done a string of disturbing and dark then does something very tender and loving - and some of my very favorite books movies music evoke complex emotions across a spectrum. There is no too dark or too happy - in my opinion.

I don't think there's a 'too dark' to listen, though there's definitely a 'too dark to listen to now', which is reflective of the mood of the listener. Like songs that are highly experimental and 'difficult' to listen to, songs that deal in very dark subject matter need the listener to be in an appropriately receptive mood.

Take Nick Cave's 'Murder Ballads' album - give me any track on shuffle and I'll enjoy it at any time, but the whole album can be a bit relentless to listen to sometimes.

I agree with you on the "To dark to listen to RIGHT now" @atitlan
and @iveg I am sorry to hear that it affects you like that. I thinkl I get out of darkness when I visit it music-vise.
Congrats to your new Uke.
I am still crazy in love with this summers fleemarket finding the Guitalele. Smile

My immediate reaction is - hell no, no such thing as too dark. If it's in the spectrum of human emotion, a song can be written about it and someone will relate with it. I mean musically there are some styles that I don't like as much. Metal would be the first thing to come to mind, but even there I've been surprised. I mean I do prefer gentler genres to listen to regularly, but in exploring here I've found something to appreciate across all genres.

@Acousticmaddie I really enjoy your songs partly because they are quite dark and creepy. As for my own writing I like to experiment across styles, narrators, all sorts of topics. I've written a couple of songs from the perspective of murderers - I quite like this skirmish one about a murder-suicide. I do like to inject some humour into dark songs.

I answered in song

There's too dark to listen to and too dark to write, and for me they're different.

If I try to avoid my own dark words, my songs -- as if all queued up -- wait patiently for me to finish it. I'll get nothing more until I deal with the front of the queue. This has led to me singing about feeling like a sandwich taken to a lynching, (what I still see as one of my most depressing songs to date). And yet, I got it out, and even if I didn't immediately feel better, I immediately wrote different songs.

But, it does depend on what you view as dark. I mean, I once wanted to write a happy song, so I made a song about a woman choking, bleeding, generally butchering a man and -- most importantly -- she got a slap on the wrist because the man deserved it: He had groped her. Like I said, I needed to write a happy song.

I'm not afraid of listening to darker stuff. Some of it might not be something I'd play with my kids in the room. Even my own darker stuff sometimes gets skipped when I'm listening to random music.

That said, I like dark introspective, I like the healing dark. I have little interest in songs that are musicians wallowing in their own effluvium. Are you learning? Are you growing? Or are you just enjoying your own stink with no interest in understanding or change?

I tend to like dark music. My mind tends to turn to the dark side when writing as well. I wrote a song for FAWM this year that is probably the darkest I've ever gone. The lyrics kind of reflect that of an insane person and it features a little chant about digging a hole and throwing the body in. (listen here... )

That being said there is one subject i am not very keen on listening to or writing about... Suicide. But even then there are exceptions. I absolutly love the song Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley and Allison Krause. I guess if it's artfully done well even the darkest songs can be beautiful.

Nothing is too dark imo, but it's important how it's tackled.

I also don't think there is a "too dark". But I do think there is a "too cliché" (I'm looking at you, goth bands).

I think most of what I write/post is probably "too dark" for many people. I post it anyway. My theory is that there are some people out there/here who are fighting some of the same battles I am, so I write for them.

As a survivor or rape and abuse, I have touched upon that darkness with some of my songs, but I try not to drag myself or my listeners into the room of the past with me. I have some songs from last year that I wrote that dealt with these painful subjects, but I made the songs about hope, rebuilding, and creating art from broken shards. I find myself using music to heal and shine light on the darkness.

Darkness requires light and light requires darkness. One of my favorite movies of all time is the Italian film "Life is Beautiful" which deals with a very dark story, but also provides humor and hope.