Since the shooting in Connecticut, I've been thinking about my role and the impact I have as a lyricist. I've written many songs that involve suicide, rape, and other dark topics. I know these stories are really good, however I'm not sure if I should release them.

I understand that art comes in many forms, and many people find inspiration in the darkness and negativity of some of it. And yet, I also know that I have a choice every time I write a lyric. I could choose to write about something negative; I can also choose to write a positive lyric instead. With all of the bleakness in this world, does it really need another sad song? Does it really need another fictional story about a rapist?

Ultimately, it's my decision. The reason I struggle with this, however is because I really, really like my sad, negative lyrics. I think they're masterpieces, and I am afraid that if I choose not to release them, I will be sacrificing some great esteem for myself as a writer.

Has anyone else struggled with this issue?
Our lyrics definitely have an impact on society. It's the old addage of you are what you eat, so to speak.

I applaud you for having the forethought to think about your lyrics and what impact they may have on others. That's what I call being responsible.
Listen to 'Float on' by Modest Mouse - The singer (Brock I think) wrote those lyrics simply because he was fed up of hearing people worry about the serious issues of modern life. I think he did a great job to be honest, it can be difficult to write positive lyrics without sounding cheesy.
Quote by thewoodsterix
Listen to 'Float on' by Modest Mouse - The singer (Brock I think) wrote those lyrics simply because he was fed up of hearing people worry about the serious issues of modern life. I think he did a great job to be honest, it can be difficult to write positive lyrics without sounding cheesy.

I read the lyrics. Taking his point of view, it would seem that negative lyrics are ok because in the end, everything passes on anyway.
try listening to 'These Days' by the Foo Fighters the chorus is a little negative but it's meaningful to some people so think about your target audience and try and see if in theyre eyes its meaningful or not coz sometimes thats what the ong is all about, the meaning
also i very much agree with KG6_Steven it is very responsible
Thank you, FooFanNo.1Livi.

I have come to a conclusion. The choice of words is not the issue, nor is figuring out whether what is right or wrong. Ultimately, it comes down to what I intend to get out of my writing and knowing (as best as I can) the possible consequences. The fact is that people respond in many ways to both positive and negative lyrics. Writing an extremely happy song could depress somebody, just as a sad lyric could inspire someone to do good.

I am now ok with my sad songs because I know that they are more than just pouting over spilled milk. They are excellent depictions of human emotion, and their depth offers much to think about.

Again, rather than looking at this as right vs wrong, I am better off considering the consequences, my intentions, and what that does for me and others.
Well, I do think there is truth that "you are what you eat," but also what is the moral position of some one who sells junk food that gives people heart disease? Can they say, "But it tastes good," or "But people want to eat it?"

I think an argument could be made that you have a moral responsibility NOT to foster unhealthy eating habits or unhealthy emotions in others.

For example, what good comes from a movie like "Saw" or the sequels thereto? Are they really filling a need / desire in the public? I'm not so sure. The fact people buy tickets does NOT mean those people were sitting around thinking, "Gee, I'd like to see a movie where people have to cut off their own limbs to survive." Rather, once the movie came out, then there are those social circles and peer groups where you kind of HAVE to jump on board. There are segments of society that have that kind of innate machoism. You cannot let others think you are weak, or even let yourself think you are weak. Rather than turn away from gruesomeness, you try to play strong by pretending to welcome it, enjoy it. Play at that game long enough, strong enough, and pretty soon you forget it's a lie, and maybe it stops being a lie, because you are now stoking your ego, "I'm brave, I'm tough, I can handle anything those producers want to dish out!" That ego boost compensates for having gross / painful / horrific moments imprinted on your brain. Okay, there may also be some chemical reactions, adrenaline releases, that cause visceral pleasure on an organic level but you could get adrenaline released without subjecting yourself to those sorts of images.

The same thing happens in music. Some very hard / harsh rock / metal stuff is frankly painful to listen to, to an untrained ear. You have to build up a tolerance, get past the wall of off-putting sonics, and once you are numb to the unpleasantness, you can start to appreciate the harmonic elements. And you can feel tough, macho, superior, masculine, whatever stokes your ego compared to those who turn away from sonic screaming noises.

I can remember driving round as a teen with other guys turning up rock on the radio, and even if some one turned the radio up too loud, you sure as hell were not going to be the one to complain. Same with being front row at a rock concert for the first time. You suck it up, to avoid looking weak. Then your ears get used to the noise (or numb to it, whatever), and you don't mind anymore. But that does not change that it was unpleasant / damaging at the start and you just chose to push through that.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Is it inevitable that every generation will follow a similar rite of passage, seeking out the dark, unpleasant side of life in order to feel brave, in order to overcome some inner dread, fear of death or whatever? Or is this a dysfunction we can overcome with effort and thoughtfulness? Can we progress to a point where youth does NOT seek to out-do prior generations' depravities and have to embrace an aire of enjoying misery and harshness?

I worry that it is actually the generational one-up-manship in this regard that causes societal degradation. Movies that 40 years ago, no one would ever imagine could be shown on regular TV, were later seen as appropriate by the next generation to be on late night TV. And the next generation saw them as appropriate to be aired any time of day. To see the sliding scale, you just have to look behind you and it is obvious that if we continue, it's just a matter of time before movies like Saw are going to be seen as appropriate for little kids to watch on Nick Jr. or whatever.

I think everyone needs a ****ing wake up call so we stop following this course, this path of least resistance, which is a path to stagnation and putridness.

Funny, you can be edgy and downright sacriligeous without embracing pain and horror. Take a look at Carnival in Brazil. You can one-up prior generations by being more open to pleasure, rather than being more open to pain.

Okay, time to sober up and see what I've written.