The story of a song

I’ve always been a lyrics person, the words of a song are really important to me. Charlie’s much more of a melody man but I like to be transported to a place by listening to the story within a song. Music is as powerful a medium to tell stories as books are because, like books, you have to create your own picture from the words. Music videos can be used to tell the story but for all the songs I’m thinking of, I haven’t seen the videos so the stories are my own creation. There are so many songs that transport me to the place I think the singer is describing, the place I imagine they could see in their mind when they wrote the song. I’ve put a few of the songs that do this below:

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Fink, Perfect Darkness. When I listen to this, I am by a campfire on a beach surrounded by total darkness, held by the one I love and letting the sound of the sea wash over me, with no need for words. 

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Joni Mitchell, Chelsea Morning. This song makes me so happy and creates a movie-like scene in my mind. I’m in a lovely light living room with the sun pouring in (like butterscotch) through floral curtains, bright daffodils on the table, a pot of fresh coffee and the smell of coffee and bread in the air, my favourite music on a record player, a feast of a breakfast on the table. It makes me want to be where she is in that moment she describes.

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The Cure, This Twilight Garden. I used to listen to this over and over as a teenager in my room and it always made me cry. It transports me to a magical garden at dusk, kissing someone for the last time. The end of a relationship knowing life will never be like that again. 

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Suzanne Vega, Tom’s Diner. This song not surprisingly takes me to a typical New York style breakfast diner, watching the world go by. But it’s my version of that diner. It’s sunny, I’m sitting at the window, the waitress is wearing an apron over a red and white check dress. 

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Bjork, Hyperballad. I’m on top of that mountain looking out and thinking of what it would be like to fall over the edge. I can picture the landscape and it’s green with lots of hills and valleys and I can see for miles. Interestingly, talking to a friend about this one, he always saw it as a metaphorical mountain in her mind, not a real one. 

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Free, All Right Now. I’m on a sunny road trip in the US but I suspect this could be influenced by the Wrigleys chewing gum advert that this song was used on, so that one probably doesn’t count ;)

I’m sure that where these songs transport me to is a different place than other people and is my own unique version of what each of those musicians had in their minds when they wrote them and that in itself is magical. It’s one of the incredible things about music - we all get something different from it. We lose ourselves in our own idea of the story. 

When I write a song, I don’t pre-plan the story or have an idea I already want to set to music. The story comes from the music itself and when lyrics come to me, they are very visual. The songs I know will be keepers are the ones where the story almost writes itself… the words pour out all in one go. I want our songs to take people to a place, I want them to escape reality for a while when they listen.

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In Weather The Storm, I want people to see themselves walking on that stormy cliff with the waves crashing over the rocks. In Silent Conversations, I want people to be there lying awake as I am, in that magical time when you don’t need words and you want that comfortable silence to envelop you. If our songs enable anyone to escape into a different world for a while, then we’re doing something right.

I would love to know what songs transport you somewhere when you listen to them. Do they take you to the place that you think the artist is talking about or to a place that you’ve created in your own mind?! Let me know over on our Facebook page, as we don’t have comments set up on here. Naomi x

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