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[Write On Wednesday] PostModern Pop Songs

The Prompt: Write A List Of Song Titles You’d Actually Be Interested In Listening To. Write The Story Behind The Song, for one of them.

audience at a concert

After you reach a certain age — or stage — of life, it seems like no one writers songs for you any more. You’ve learned a lot of the lessons pop singers seem to be struggling with. Maybe you’re (gasp!) happily married. Maybe the things you struggle with are things other than love and boys and where to go on a Saturday night.

The Prompt

Write A List Of Song Titles You’d Actually Be Interested In Listening To.

Choose One.

Write The Story Of The Character In That Song.

Tips

    • Country music is probably a slightly better role model here than pop. I know there are lots of songs about a more mature kind of love, or about the kind of lifestyle people wish they were living. You could write a wishlist of how your life would look (similar to the country music odes to God, Guns, Mama, Girls and Trucks)

  • Consider the stage of life you’re in now. What really gets on your wick? What are the things you complain about to your friends and co-workers every day? Start with the moment you wake up and trace your day until bedtime. What did you complain about today? What did you celebrate today?
  • Or maybe you’ll pick a different stage of life and remember (or use someone else as an example) of what matters most at that age. Pick one issue and give it to a character who’ll be fun to write about (and when I say “fun” I don’t necessarily mean funny).
  • You can write this as a song, and ode or a poem if you like. Or you can write a story with a traditional narrative structure. Or why not try a monologue? Or write it in 50 words.
  • Imagine Taylor Swift in a few years, or Brittany Spears right now, or better yet, Amanda Palmer, reading your story and turning it into the basis of a song. What elements of your non-pop-song-y life could you highlight and make compelling (and entertaining) enough to inspire another artist?
  • Here’s an extract from my list:
    • Where are all the odes to homework, and getting up too early, and trying to manage a budget, and not spoil your kids, and fretting about mean kids (as a parent), and sitting in the principal’s office? Where are the laments about how hard it is to lose weight, and trying keep the spark alive, and how you really don’t want to go out to that party you promise to go to because even though it’s Friday night you’d rather just stay in with your family? Or songs that celebrate the shorthand that come with a long marriage, or the surprise you feel when you realize you’re starting to become fond of ‘his music’, or the perils of watching “Downton Abbey” with your husband. Where are the songs about discovering the power of female friendship? Where are the howls of rage about sitting waiting for an oil change, or getting up every morning to a pile of last night’s dishes which nobody ever does even though you’re sure, from the amount of laundry in the house, you’re not the only one living here…

Is it just me? I’d listen to some pop music on those topics. And I’d certainly read an entertaining story based on any of them.

Make your list. Pick your favorite. Give the problem to a character and…

Go!

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