Week 9 Challenge - Word Salad

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Week 9 Challenge - Word Salad

Write lyrics that go for sound and impression, rather than sense.
Examples: "I Am The Walrus" (Beatles), "Subterranean Homesick Blues" (Bob Dylan), "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" (R.E.M.), "I Zimbra" (Talking Heads).

My usual style of writing lyrics. I will definitely be doing this one!

Just because someone doesn't understand something, it doesn't mean it doesn't make sense. Subterrenean HB is in many ways similar to the very understandable Penny Lane, while End of the World makes perfect sense in the context of apocalyptic chaos (and here comes Trump!). Wink Although I like the challenge, I kind of take offense as a lyricist. I often write lyrics that may seem nonsensical at first glance, but I assure you there is a lot of meaning if you dig deep enough. And whenever you put two words or phrases together, they create some sort of meaning.

I accept the challenge - but unfortunately it's going to make some sort of sense. Coo coo cachoo.

What a great challenge - in fact, just the other night I looked up the words to "It's the End of the World" because I wanted to know once and for all what was being sung. (And I thought it included a Donald Trump reference, but it's just the word "trumped.")
I recall reading an interview years ago with Michael Stipe about his very made-up, often on the spot, lyrics. But "It's the End of the World" took some work, I think.
I was performing Dylan's "Queen Jane Approximately" the other day - I've always liked the sounds of the lines and the interesting rhymes. And as I played it, I realized he's actually telling a story.
And my own lyrics, even when I try to be circumspect (which is not too often), usually wind up telling a story.


Here's mine! I will upload the demo tomorrow (hopefully).

My effort: http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/song/19137 - The Song that Makes Literally no Sense.

I agree entirely with @bithprod. Trying to write words entirely divorced from meaning was both difficult and deeply unfulfilling. What I ended up with was not something that appeared nonsensical at first blush, but was in fact very intelligently designed, but a stream of gibberish with a ham-fisted moral.

However, in the spirit of 50/90, I finished it anyway.

To quote Alice on the poem "The Jabberwocky": "It seems very pretty," [Alice] said when she had finished it, "but it's rather hard to understand! ... Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas--only I don't exactly know what they are!"


I agree wholeheartedly with @bithprod and @Stephen Wordsmith. I'd like to have at least some kind of meaning in mind when writing lyrics, an idea or theme which connects all the dots. How else would I know how to rewrite it? I see this Challenge as a way to loosen your inhibitions and explore some new ground, an exercise it you like. Exercises are helpful but after the first draft I'd try to find the meaning in there an rewrite it as a "real" song. Smile

Very interesting point, @corinne54. One can sense the semblance of meaning, the grammar of meaning, the enthusiasm and deepest intention of meaning, but if there's no basket there to catch them all, is there any meaning by which to string the bits together?

As I recall, in Humpty Dumpty explaining the poem to Alice, there are what he calls "portmanteaus" in the poem - The words are made up of putting two words together, so while we have the syntax of the language to help with the meaning, the portmanteau words tell us the verbs, the nouns the etc....


Generally speaking:
Any song, even word dump, is at least about the author, -- obviously? Where we might develop more depth of enjoyment is look beyond what it means to "me".

So, eg your kid does this, and you say "wow that's crap" ... What the hell is all that about. Then, it turns out to be a "jabber wookie" : ) Or, you simply missed the 150 prior conversations that warmed up to a very specific point, "yes". "yes", yes what? What? What, what?

Communication, music, it's a beautiful, emotion filled thing.

Scary point, (c the 150 prior ones : ) ... a friend here, "got that krappe", (this exercise, I never engage), since was a 180, was concerned for "me" -- No worries, I write, right in the moment, rite?

-- Ink blots in audio, audio ink blots, ... There's a song! ~~~ Audio inkblots, there, full of nots, old farts get the can'ts, while others get the parts..." Hahhh...

-- Gudstuff

Unless you're writing show tunes, well, then I'll just say:
"I shot the sheriff, on a Saturday night, by the dash board light, while she yelled stop right there, when lucy in the sky with diamonds no less, talked about her horse with no name on a stairway to heaven, but then the levee broke, and we're all cry'in now in the muddy waters of the mighty mississipp. But, I rode my pickle, and though loved to kill still got to go to vietnam, right to china grove where jeremiah was the bull frog, shot be the baddest man around. Ole leroy brown said, --do a ditty, ditty dum, ditty do and he just wanna hold your hand, dear, day-tripper man.

One could name any number of early REM songs as making "no sense" lyrically. What is Catapult about? But I would argue that each line of "Subterranean Homesick Blues" makes sense - though not as an entire piece.

Personally I found this exercise quite liberating! Smile Here's my offering: 'Nonsensical Sensical' http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/song/19264

kc5's picture

I hope I did this the way it was supposed to be done-- Its very nonsensicle. I mixed up the words as much as possible. http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/song/19278

Mine: "Rejection". *19304. Turned out WAY better than I expected. Hope some of you listen and/or enjoy!