Mudcat Café message #3089734 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #99099   Message #3089734
Posted By: Jeri
06-Feb-11 - 09:04 AM
Thread Name: What makes a person a good songwriter?
Subject: RE: What makes a person a good songwriter?
Anything is good if it's your kind of thing and if you like the introspective 'me' songs well and good.

If your definition of "good songwriter" is "songwriters who write songs I like", then I guess that's what you're limited to. It's ironic how it comes down to your own personalization instead of the songwriter's--somebody's "me" still comes into it somewhere. In the end, if our definition of "good" is only about what we like, we're missing the broader picture.

There are plenty of songwriters whose songs don't particularly care for, and I can still manage to think their songs are good, and sometimes great. Townes van Zandt wrote a few songs lots of people know and sing, and I think they're OK. He wrote a couple I like. Mostly, I'm not crazy about his songs, but he was a great songwriter. I can hear the quality in the songs. It's just that they don't really connect with me, personally. We can, and HAVE talked about what makes a good song. This isn't about songs, it's about songwriters.

Allan, finding an honest, competent critic is very hard. Somebody who's willing to stick their neck out and tell when something works is rare. It's also rare to find someone who doesn't simply say "I like it" or "I don't like it". I give up asking those folks. They mean well, but they can't step outside of themselves long enough to even try to be objective. In the end, I think good songwriters HAVE to be able to critique themselves, and that is hard, hard, HARD. You think your song is the greatest ever because it's yours and you worked hard on it, you think it stinks because it's yours and you worked hard on it, and you know there are still places that could be better, and the tune's a little boring, OR you get so sick of it that you just shove it in a drawer and start another one.