#1
As the thread title implies... My songs are too depressing and dark. I try to write stuff that is folkie. It always comes out sounding dark, scarry, tension filled, etc. So how do I fix this? How do I get off the dark train of thought? and on something up-beat?

Post suggestions and ideas. Thanks.
#3
Elliott Smith wrote a LOT of dark/depressing stuff and all of the music (guitar, piano, even the tempo) for most of them sounded really pretty and still folky.
#5
jeez its not depressing to write dark emotions - we all have them and people are scared to get them out but why? if thats whats coming out when you write then stick with it because a genuine musician should write what they honestly feel not something that is typical of a genre - you should stay true to YOUR feelings not what everybody else says you should or what your chosen genre says - it would certainly be a twist wouldnt it? Listen to The Cure because Robert smith writes some dark lyrics but sometimes points them across in light way...for example in "Lovesong" which is dedicated to his wife - he sings " whenever i'm alone with you...you make me feel like i'm clean again.." the chorus says things like " However faraway...i will always love you..." - usually lovesongs are done jolly but this has a dark driving bassline with a general melodic feeling to it and its ace...
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#6
the words can be dark, just sing it in a happy way or in a major key or something.

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#8
we'd probably need an example. THere's different levels of "dark." If its like a johnny cash, man in black/ reign of fire feel i would encourage it. You can't always write about sunshine and rainbows. If its like "welcome to the black parade", well you need a bit of help. Actually, listen to johnny cash, he wrote some of the best dark lyrics ever.
#9
I wrote a song about how seeing couples happy together makes me sad. I played it for my sister. She was like 'dude, why do you always play sad, depressing stuff?'

Yeah, that did wonders for my confidence.
#12
Try writing a song instead of about seeing other happy couples together, being a happy couple with someone. If you really want to play happier folk type stuff, then think of something that happened to you recently that was good, and write about that. If that doesnt work then idk, you might be stuck with sad, depressing music.

P.S. Its not always the song, it can also be the chords used, the way you sing it, and the tempo, so take those all into account
#13
I am having the same problem. I keep starting with an idea that turns into an attack, or a lovesick whine. Too many REALLY BAD things going on. I write country songs and its hard to express yourself differently when you feel the same way every day. I know that doesnt help, but hell Hank Williams best songs are as sad as can be.
#14
I'd say keep them. I love happy songs that have depressing or twisted lyrics (I.E. pixies songs).

I mean thats what makes them INTERESTING!
#15
I would find something to try and write about. I mostly write dark music because that is the spur of the moment and anger drives me to write it so you should find a time when you are genuinly happy and write something that makes you happy.
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#17
I'd say, either disquise the lyrics in a happier form with the vocal melody to kinda ''shrug it off'' as something that it isn't. OR - - - > just go with it for what it is, obviously the sound you think you want to sound like isn't what is in your heart.
#18
have you tried changing it so that the darkness is still there, but you are able to overcome it?
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#19
have you tried changing it so that the darkness is still there, but you are able to overcome it?
Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead." -Charles Bukowski


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#20
Again, look at playing it in a major key in a happy sounding way.

Lots of reggae musicians such as Bob Marley and Lee Perry played bright sounding songs with dark, political undertones.
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#21
Again, look at playing it in a major key in a happy sounding way.

Lots of reggae musicians such as Bob Marley and Lee Perry played bright sounding songs with dark, political undertones.
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#22
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... you're just doing fine ...


+1

If you're writing what's inside of you and not forcing it you are doing the absolute best thing. Run with it.
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Last edited by Jay Gatsby at Dec 29, 2007,
#23
Unless you're writing songs for someone else or as a job then I don't see the problem?

I mean, if you wanted to write a sad song about couples and your sister said

She was like 'dude, why do you always play sad, depressing stuff?'


then job done, yeah?

If you'd written a song about how the children of the world will save mankind and everyone reaches Buddha-hood and the world is a living paradise and she STILL said it was sad then there'd be a problem.

You see, I learned something today.

If the best songs are written with emotion and you write one when you're sad and it sounds sad, then that's a good song.

EDIT: !!
Last edited by bellerophon at Dec 29, 2007,
#25
For a long time, I used to get down on myself because it seemed that all I ever wrote about was love or death...and most of it was depressing. I decided to just go with the flow and take advantage of what I was feeling at the time. It was just where I was at that point in my life.

It sounds like that's just where you are, right now...or maybe you like playing in the minor key, like I do. Happy $hit just doesn't flow when you're playing stuff with lots of minor notes. I prefer the sound, though.

You can do two things - ride out the wave until happier times or a different sound comes along or try switching up the keys. Think of how it would feel to be happy. Think of what would make YOU happy and then get lost in that world for a while. Imagination is a requirement for this. The biggest question you need to ask yourself is not how depressing it is. The big question is: Are you writing good stuff? Or does it suck? If it's good, then just GO with it. Be like Sylvia Plath or Elliott Smith. Just don't stick your head in an oven or stab yourself.
#26
Try writing the most superficial crap you've ever written, and see if it still sounds depressing. Then get started with some emo music. After the sharp change, you will notice that your music (the original dark stuff) wasn't so dark at all, and you will play it confidently!
#27
Write songs for yourself, don't write songs for someone elses tastes. If bad things are going, of course your lyrics will reflect that, that's just how songwriting is.
#28
Dark feeling aren't bad. However the message may get old if you write about your dark feelings about the same topic often. Don't change your writing style. Just write dark about various topics.
#29
well you might wanna get your own life straightened out. if you have been in the folky feild for a while and written a couple of songs and you want to right now without turning it depressing than you might wanna find somebody who makes your happy. to me i cant write happy thins really. i did a couple of times. and once to my gf. and as a present. then i felt something. you might wanna use personal experience. and if you are already than you need to get your life straightened out

also if you havnt been in this folky stuff than try and go to the darker side. you might like it. we have cookies.
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#30
i have the same problem. all of my lyrics are very dark and somewhat redundant so i refuse to show anyone until i figure out a decent way of going about it.
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#31
What's wrong with dark lyrics? They're much better than happy lyrics.
And if you use a minor key, the atmosphere is darker, use a major key to make the sound happier.
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