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Old 04-03-2013, 02:21 AM   #1
JablesMB
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Singer writes the right lyrics to the wrong songs?

I'm in a 5-piece thrash metal band, and for the most part our singer writes all of the lyrics. He's been one of my best friends for about to years, and one of the best vocalists in our city (I don't say that out of conceitedness, but because everybody who has ever hummed along to their ipod considers themselves a vocalist and forms a band in this town.) He's generally pretty open to ideas about his vocals as far as how they'll actually sound, but he's super touchy about his lyrics.

For example, the latest song we're writing is super fast, heavy riffing with some blast-beats and the like for good measure. The vocals he came up with for it sound good... but when I read the lyrics themselves, they sound like something out of a cheesy 80's hair band power-ballad about lost love.

That's the only problem I have with him, that he can never seem to come up with a lyrical idea that actually suits the sound of the song. The lyrics would be great if they were used in a different setting, but for this they just don't work and he doesn't seem to get that. The few times I try to point this out to him, he gets really defensive and says that I'm trying to be too controlling. For the most part I try and just let everybody worry about their own parts, but when it gets ridiculous like this I have to say something and he just won't listen. Please somebody who knows how to deal with this type of person, help me out?

tl;dr My singer writes lyrics that don't fit with the song and gets too defensive when I try and tell him that.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:38 AM   #2
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Get him to write the lyrics then write the music to fit.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:26 AM   #3
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So the issue is that you want him to write really angsty teenage stuff and he doesn't.

I don't really see an issue past your own musical preferences. So your singer doesn't have angst. Like you say, you leave people to write their own parts, and that includes the lyrics. If you can't handle it, one of you will have to leave, it's a really simple creative differences issue. Either you like eachother's musical styoe and you keep on playing together or you don't.

Otherwise I don't see an issue with doing something different. It sounds good, you didnt even notice until you read the lyrics. Im sure its a lot better than any fake angst lyrics the singer could pump out.
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:03 AM   #4
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Write the lyrics yourself or stop complaining. If you give him the freedom to write the lyrics he should be able to write what he wants, otherwise you are being controlling.
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Old 04-03-2013, 07:23 AM   #5
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I don't want to say too much without an example of the music and lyrics, but does he do this wih every song? most songs? Is there a reason he might be doing this? For example, Porcupine Tree's 'Drown With Me' is one of their most cheerful songs, but that works perfectly because it just highlights the album's theme of people that are "missing something" i.e. no normal/something abscent in their soul.

Have you thought of writing your own lyrics? Maybe get your other bandmates to choose whoose lyrics they prefer?
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JablesMB
but when I read the lyrics themselves, they sound like something out of a cheesy 80's hair band power-ballad about lost love.


Two points:

First, who cares how the lyrics feel when you read them on their own. Lyrics are not poetry. They do not exist in a vacuum. Maybe of the best rock lyrics in history are trite or silly if you read them on their own. It only matters how they work when sung in the context of the song.

Second, a singer has to connect to their material in a more profound way than other musicians. It's not just words. What the singer is thinking and feeling while singing gets transmitted through their body into the song. To be able to sing effectively regardless of the lyrical content requires a level of professionalism that many good singers never achieve.

(My singing teacher can notice differences in my voice when I sing with my eyes closed, or based on how I'm THINKING about the notes).

What this means is that while you can ask a guitarist or drummer to suck it up and play a part they don't love (assuming you can manage the band politics) asking a singer to do the same is asking for a mediocre performance.

Non-singers like to complain about the diva nature of singers, but it's not just ego. It's grounded in the reality of being a singer. The band needs to be supporting the singer at all times.

So if he likes his lyrics, you're basically s.o.l.

But it also doesn't matter, because you're judging the lyrics as stand-alone things, and they're not.
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotspurJr
Two points:

First, who cares how the lyrics feel when you read them on their own. Lyrics are not poetry. They do not exist in a vacuum. Maybe of the best rock lyrics in history are trite or silly if you read them on their own. It only matters how they work when sung in the context of the song.

Second, a singer has to connect to their material in a more profound way than other musicians. It's not just words. What the singer is thinking and feeling while singing gets transmitted through their body into the song. To be able to sing effectively regardless of the lyrical content requires a level of professionalism that many good singers never achieve.

(My singing teacher can notice differences in my voice when I sing with my eyes closed, or based on how I'm THINKING about the notes).

What this means is that while you can ask a guitarist or drummer to suck it up and play a part they don't love (assuming you can manage the band politics) asking a singer to do the same is asking for a mediocre performance.

Non-singers like to complain about the diva nature of singers, but it's not just ego. It's grounded in the reality of being a singer. The band needs to be supporting the singer at all times.

So if he likes his lyrics, you're basically s.o.l.

But it also doesn't matter, because you're judging the lyrics as stand-alone things, and they're not.


This person^ obviously knows nothing about metal. Metal is about the music, not the vocals. Being a guitarist or drummer in a metal band is exponentially harder than being a vocalist. If your vocalist is writing really stupid lyrics, give him a theme, concept, or idea, instead of giving him free reign. If your ideas have to be relevant to your band mate's, so should your vocalist.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotspurJr
Two points:

Second, a singer has to connect to their material in a more profound way than other musicians. It's not just words. What the singer is thinking and feeling while singing gets transmitted through their body into the song.

What this means is that while you can ask a guitarist or drummer to suck it up and play a part they don't love (assuming you can manage the band politics) asking a singer to do the same is asking for a mediocre performance.


Actually people think singers are divas because of people like you.

Every single instrument is a way to express what you're thinking and feeling at the time. If I'm mad I'm going to play the guitar differently than if I'm sad. Singers are not special in any way.

Anytime you ask someone to suck it up and play something they don't love it's going to be a mediocre performance.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:33 PM   #9
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turn up your volume and drown the singer out, true thrash metal style

if you're giving the singer creative control, you have no choice but to accept his vision.
or else, write your own lyrics OR else write your music to his lyrics

just repeating what the smart people above me have already said but ****ityolo

Last edited by pushkar000 : 04-03-2013 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitnatsnok
Actually people think singers are divas because of people like you.

Every single instrument is a way to express what you're thinking and feeling at the time. If I'm mad I'm going to play the guitar differently than if I'm sad. Singers are not special in any way.

Anytime you ask someone to suck it up and play something they don't love it's going to be a mediocre performance.


Do you do both? Do you sing in public?

Because I do. And I'm telling you there's a difference.

I've sucked it up and played guitar when my heart wasn't in it and no-one was the wiser. You absolutely, positively can do it. The audience doesn't pay attention in the same way.

Do I think that was my best performance ever? No. But do I think the average person listening to me can tell when my heart isn't in it? No way.

It's categorically different. Singing is incredibly sensitive to tiny things. As I said before, my singing teacher, without looking at me, can tell from how I sound whether I'm THINKING about my notes in the right (metaphorical) way. Nothing like that exists with the guitar.

If you're a good guitarist you can play a part you don't connect with and make it sound good. The percentage of singers who can do the same thing is a thousand times smaller.

As for singers not being special in any way, you're acting like musicians have identical requirements, and it's just not true. A drummer, for example, has to be in much better physical shape than a guitarist. A bass player with only so-so time is worthless, which doesn't matter so much for a singer or a guitarist. And furthermore, the spotlight is on the singer - he's the one who the vast majority of the audience will be connecting with emotionally.

Last edited by HotspurJr : 04-03-2013 at 01:06 PM.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitnatsnok
Actually people think singers are divas because of people like you.

Every single instrument is a way to express what you're thinking and feeling at the time. If I'm mad I'm going to play the guitar differently than if I'm sad. Singers are not special in any way.

Anytime you ask someone to suck it up and play something they don't love it's going to be a mediocre performance.


I'm both a singer and guitarist, and there is a huge difference between playing something you don't like and singing something you don't like, and I work in Metal. In my singing lessons, there is as much importance placed on what the lyrics are as what the notes are, the singer must tell a story as they hit notes, which makes it double the job, really. Now, for a Thrash band, I'm really surprised you're rejecting lyrics about lost love, etc, I love hearing extreme metal bands that have lyrical content beyond 'I hate such and such/I do such and such disturbing act with a goat/there is a battle/I disagree with the government'. Really, if it sounds good, go with it, if you want darker lyrics, write them yourself, it's clearly not what the singer wants to write, and really, who could blame them? I think writing uninspired dark for the sake of dark lyrics is just like writing a guitar part that's just various open string chug patterns.
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jihad Jesus
This person^ obviously knows nothing about metal. Metal is about the music, not the vocals. Being a guitarist or drummer in a metal band is exponentially harder than being a vocalist. If your vocalist is writing really stupid lyrics, give him a theme, concept, or idea, instead of giving him free reign. If your ideas have to be relevant to your band mate's, so should your vocalist.


Your stupidity saying vocals aren't important confounds me. Why do people have debates daily about the best singers in metal if they are not important to the music? Why do metal bands have singers at all if they are not as important? In all forms of rock/metal music (apart from bands who are purely instrumental) vocals are an another instrument and do not have less or more priority than other instrument.

Also the actual words don't matter as long as the vocal lines work with the music. Read up on some lyrics of any era of metal and you'll see stupid lyrics everywhere.
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