"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." Edgar Degas

Monday, December 8, 2014

I Know It's Only Rock'n'Roll


I'm not stupid. Not all the time. So I know it's only rock'n'roll. But the very thought of it makes my heart beat faster.


Every art form is unique. What sets writing apart from its sister arts
comes from its solitary nature. Great writing reveals the audience to itself. The inspired reaction is recognition: You feel that, too? I thought I was the only one.

Songwriting - lyrics and their vocal interpretation - straddles the space between writing and music. It's trying to reveal its audience to themselves while it makes them dance. It reveals broader traits than other forms of writing. Like poetry, it's concerned with flow and tempo but, again, it's looking for broad, simple, recognizable traits - make it easy to follow a melody or a beat.



Writing music - composition and arrangement - is the only art that physically moves its audience. No other art inspires the reaction: I can't sit still. Music making is at its best when it's a collaboration. Like great lovemaking, it's a communication of trust, encouragement, experimentation and excitement without using words. Listen to Tchaikovsky or Chuck Berry; Earth, Wind & Fire, B.B. King, Taylor Swift, Kanye, Madonna or Johnny Cash - whatever moves you. For me it starts with Chuck Berry and Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis, through Motown, the British Invasion, the folkies and the psychadelics, right up to punk and the edges of heavy metal. That's the sweet spot for me. It doesn't have to be especially great art for me to love it. And there were days when it was the only thing that got my through. I know, it's only rock'n'roll.





If I could stick my pen in my heart
And spill it all over the stage
Would it satisfy you, would it slide on by you?
Would you think the boy is strange? Ain't he strange?

If I could win you, if I could sing you
A love song so divine
Would it be enough for your cheating heart
If I broke down and cried? If I cried?

I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it
I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it, like it, yes, I do
I like it, I like it, I like it
Can't you see that this old boy has been lonely?

If I could stick a knife in my heart
Suicide right on stage
Would it be enough for your teenage lust
Would it help to ease the pain? Ease your brain?

If I could dig down deep in my heart
Feelings would flood on the page
Would it satisfy you, would it slide on by you
Would you think the boy's insane? He's insane

I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it
I know it's only rock'n roll but I like it, like it, yes, I do
I like it, I like it, I like it
Can't you see that this old boy has been lonely?

Do you think that you're the only girl around?
I bet you think that you're the only woman in town