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#1161128 - 01/28/20 06:28 PM Done, or Over Cooked?  
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Dayson Offline
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Hey Guys!

So, recently during my re-writing process, I'm finding that I'm a bit conflicted on whether or not the Song is 'Finished," or not. The reason why I'm struggling a bit to decide if they are or not, is I believe in their potential and I want to write them to the best of my ability and make them the best they can be, but there is a fine line in doing so...
I don't want to 'Over-write' or 'Under-write them, anyone else struggling with this issue, and how do you know when your song is 'Done'?
Thanks-Dana

#1161129 - 01/28/20 06:43 PM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Dayson]  
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Fdemetrio Online content
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Originally Posted by Dayson
Hey Guys!

So, recently during my re-writing process, I'm finding that I'm a bit conflicted on whether or not the Song is 'Finished," or not. The reason why I'm struggling a bit to decide if they are or not, is I believe in their potential and I want to write them to the best of my ability and make them the best they can be, but there is a fine line in doing so...
I don't want to 'Over-write' or 'Under-write them, anyone else struggling with this issue, and how do you know when your song is 'Done'?
Thanks-Dana


Well I think as the writer, it's done when you say it is. There's no real definition of a finished song. For me, I ask, did I say what I want to say? If after two verses I cant say I have, then Ill write the dreaded bridge. There are some beautiful, amazing songs that are 1:00 long. I wondered why did the artist stop there? Cause they determined they said enough.

I do know that alot of artists, I dont know as much as about private writers, but alot of artists are constantly changing versions of their songs before it hits the record. They may try out different feels, different tempos, different arrangements, and get the crowds reaction to see what they should do with it.

Most of us dont have big audiences to test our work on, but, if you pitch to a publisher, if they still exist, they will probably tell you what THEY think is finished.

Dont know if a song is every really done, somebody can always change it. But For me, I jump around all over on songs. I get get bored and want to start new ones.

#1161140 - 01/28/20 11:15 PM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Dayson]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Well,
I have had a couple of songs I was not completely happy with so I improved them later. If signing a Publishing Contract there is usually a clause the allows some changes to be made if needed to fit the Artist.


Ray E. Strode
#1161142 - 01/29/20 12:22 AM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Dayson]  
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Hi Dana,
It has to be up to you. When you are happy enough with it to pitch it, then you are done with it, at least for the moment. Then if you are lucky enough, you will either get it placed, or get feedback. If the feedback is professional, then you have to decide if you can fix it or not. If you have a co-writer, then you have to do this together. for me, a song is never finished until someone records it.


Have a goodun,

John W. Selleck BMI Songwriter
A day without learning is a day lost

http://www.soundclick.com/johnsings
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#1161149 - 01/29/20 10:08 AM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Dayson]  
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maccharles Online content
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Never done, only abandoned.

#1161150 - 01/29/20 10:43 AM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Dayson]  
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I used to paint a lot and it's the same problem. I could never leave it alone.

Go back after a couple of days and listen again.

Vic


It's never too late? Yes it is, so do it now.

If, given time, a monkey can write the complete works of Shakespeare maybe there's hope for me.

http://store.cdbaby.com/cd/vicarnold2

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#1161165 - 01/29/20 04:55 PM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Fdemetrio]  
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Originally Posted by Fdemetrio
Originally Posted by Dayson
Hey Guys!

So, recently during my re-writing process, I'm finding that I'm a bit conflicted on whether or not the Song is 'Finished," or not. The reason why I'm struggling a bit to decide if they are or not, is I believe in their potential and I want to write them to the best of my ability and make them the best they can be, but there is a fine line in doing so...
I don't want to 'Over-write' or 'Under-write them, anyone else struggling with this issue, and how do you know when your song is 'Done'?
Thanks-Dana


Well I think as the writer, it's done when you say it is. There's no real definition of a finished song. For me, I ask, did I say what I want to say? If after two verses I cant say I have, then Ill write the dreaded bridge. There are some beautiful, amazing songs that are 1:00 long. I wondered why did the artist stop there? Cause they determined they said enough.

I do know that alot of artists, I dont know as much as about private writers, but alot of artists are constantly changing versions of their songs before it hits the record. They may try out different feels, different tempos, different arrangements, and get the crowds reaction to see what they should do with it.

Most of us dont have big audiences to test our work on, but, if you pitch to a publisher, if they still exist, they will probably tell you what THEY think is finished.

Dont know if a song is every really done, somebody can always change it. But For me, I jump around all over on songs. I get get bored and want to start new ones.





Hey Fd,

Thanks for the input, yeah I think sometimes it's a very subjective thing when deciding if it's done. I think the frustrating part comes because sometimes it's hard to objective about our own songs. I've yet to come across a song that is done in 1:00 that would be a real economy of words but I'm thinking more in ways of commercial releases that tend to be 3 and half minutes or more lol. Although I am see songs getting way shorter than before. Could be to the growing number of people who have such short attention spans...
jumping to another part of the song is a good idea if you get stuck on another section, but of course overall you have to return to it..
Thanks for your input!-Dana

#1161166 - 01/29/20 04:58 PM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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Originally Posted by Ray E. Strode
Well,
I have had a couple of songs I was not completely happy with so I improved them later. If signing a Publishing Contract there is usually a clause the allows some changes to be made if needed to fit the Artist.


Hey Ray,

Yes, I would hope that the changes would allow you to be consulted or have first dibs on any changes being made to your song.
Thanks for chiming in!-Dana

#1161167 - 01/29/20 05:05 PM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: John W. Selleck]  
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Originally Posted by John W. Selleck
Hi Dana,
It has to be up to you. When you are happy enough with it to pitch it, then you are done with it, at least for the moment. Then if you are lucky enough, you will either get it placed, or get feedback. If the feedback is professional, then you have to decide if you can fix it or not. If you have a co-writer, then you have to do this together. for me, a song is never finished until someone records it.


Hey John,

I love the this "The song isn't finished until someone records it" perfect! I agree totally! What one of my fears is getting a professionally done demo and having to go back a rewrite/re-record ect. in the past, I trusted my instincts more about when a song was done, but now I really want to scrutinize my songs before a penny is spent on them being recorded. I spent so much money in the past on songs that I was really passionate about, and I don't regret that, but with money being more scarce, I have to pick my battles...
Thanks for the input!-Dana

#1161168 - 01/29/20 05:06 PM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: maccharles]  
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Originally Posted by maccharles
Never done, only abandoned.


Hey Mac,

Yes, I guess you can say that! -Dana

#1161169 - 01/29/20 05:08 PM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Vicarn]  
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Originally Posted by Vicarn
I used to paint a lot and it's the same problem. I could never leave it alone.

Go back after a couple of days and listen again.

Vic


Hey Vicarn,

I do a lot of that, I find there is always something that can be tightened up, sometimes I'll go back over multiple lyrics at the same time, and just change little things that tend to improve them. Good point!-Thanks!-Dana

#1161170 - 01/29/20 05:23 PM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Dayson]  
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So, last night, I let a friend hear one of the songs that I want to get a demo done on, I was so sure that this song is for a female singer, someone like Mab mentioned on here on another thread Kelsea Ballerini, I thought and still think it would fit her perfectly but my friend, whose judgment I trust says, I hear a male singing this song! As much as I thought it could work for Kelsea, I had to admit a guy singing this to a female would be pretty cool too! He went on to point out all the great advice I have been reading about lately and some that I've gathered over the years. He said, this would be a great BREAKOUT song for a young guy, because it really makes him 'Look Good' He then went on to say "What woman would not want these words to be sung to her" to me that was a great compliment because one of the main 'rules' is to make the Artist LOOK GOOD, it also reminded me, that WOMEN are the main buyers of music and that we need to keep them top of mind when writing songs that you want cuts on. So, as much as I envisioned this song for an Artist like Kelsea, I went and re-wrote a male version of the song, and it turns out my friend had a great valid point.
Ahhh I love this work:) -Dana

#1161183 - 01/29/20 11:01 PM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Dayson]  
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Dayson,
Anything can be negotiated in a Publishing contract and other things as well. I once was issued a Publishing Contract with no Reversion Clause. A Reversion Clause allows the song to Revert to you if it isn't recorded and released in a certain length of time. Usually one to three years. I informed the person issuing the contract and he gave the reversion clause.

Another time I got a contract out of the blue on another of my songs. The contract was a convoluted mess and contained no reversion clause. I informed the guy but he refused to issue the reversion clause so I passed on giving him publishing.

Most people are honest but you have to be careful no one takes advantage of you. And always get a reversion clause in the contract.


Ray E. Strode
#1161186 - 01/30/20 01:11 AM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Dayson]  
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Hi again,
But Dana, you also have to remember that women love female singers too.
And Ray, great point. While most of them are honest, you have to protect your rights, no one else will.


Have a goodun,

John W. Selleck BMI Songwriter
A day without learning is a day lost

http://www.soundclick.com/johnsings
http://www.soundclick.com/johnwselleck
http://www.soundclick.com/johnselleck
#1161195 - 01/30/20 08:27 AM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Dayson]  
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I try to get over the two minute mark in writing a song and stay under the four minute mark. The tempo of a song sometimes makes it harder to stay within those time limits. If you can say what you want to say in two minutes, why take longer, if it takes four minutes, why shorten it. A song is making a statement or a point, take as much time as is needed.

#1161231 - 01/30/20 04:41 PM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: John W. Selleck]  
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Originally Posted by John W. Selleck
Hi again,
But Dana, you also have to remember that women love female singers too.
And Ray, great point. While most of them are honest, you have to protect your rights, no one else will.


Hey John

I agree.

#1161232 - 01/30/20 04:42 PM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Everett Adams]  
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Originally Posted by Everett Adams
I try to get over the two minute mark in writing a song and stay under the four minute mark. The tempo of a song sometimes makes it harder to stay within those time limits. If you can say what you want to say in two minutes, why take longer, if it takes four minutes, why shorten it. A song is making a statement or a point, take as much time as is needed.


Hey Everett

You have valid points, I am always mindful it terms of airplay on Radio or Streaming.:)

#1161357 - 02/04/20 01:36 PM Re: Done, or Over Cooked? [Re: Dayson]  
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I don't know if this can ever be answered. There are too many examples of songs going on for years and years, and even getting recorded and the writers still don't feel they are done. I saw this documentary on Bob Dylan once and one of his friends from the old Greenwich Village days, and he was talking about the song "Blowing in the Wind.' He said "If you think it's long now, you shouldv'e seen it back then. He had like 17 verses on the thing and used to play ALL OF THEM!!!"

Songs kind of take their own pathway. For me, I never write over 3:30 so the time factor is never a problem. Mostly it's pocket on lyrics. Some words just sing better than others, and this will also change due to the artist. I've had several songs that were cut, that the finished version actually ended up far differently than my version. And I kept doing my version. One song I had cut by a major artist, DAVID BALL, was called "TOO MUCH BLOOD IN MY ALCOHOL LEVEL. " My version is very much Southern country rock honkey tonk. His is more Texas Western swing. I also loved the voice of George Jones, so I when I do it live, I will do all three versions. The way we wrote it, David's version, and a George Jones impression at the end.

Sometimes it is different approaches by different writers. I have a song called "THE HARD WAY" which is about my son, Logan. My co-writer, Scott Southworth, and I have actually two completely different versions of the song. His version is for his son, Logan. Our sons are just about the same ages, left handed, and don't listen to a damn thing either of us say. So when we were writing the song, we were doing it long distance and we came up with a long laundry list of things our parents said to us that we both wanted to pass on. We wrote a lot of the song separately, and when we got back together, we had two completely different versions of the song that both worked. But there were certain phrases and inflections that he liked and certain ones that I liked. Things that meant more to each of us than the other. We actually even recorded a different version for each of us. So what we do is do the song each in our own version and just take turns on shows doing it. It's my turn next time, cause he did his on the last show we did together.

They will often change due to the artist, the other writer, etc. and you just sort of have to flow with it. In the old "American songbook" days, you could have one song done a variety of ways. Listen to the Beatles version of "YESTERDAY" and Ray Charles' version of "YESTERDAY." The same song, but vastly different versions. Some can be stylistic, or others can be due to artistic changes. My First cut on Shelby Lynne, was written for a middle age male. Shelby, at the time was a 19 year old female. So changes in the lyrics and tense had to be made.

When Earl Bud Lee and Duwane Blackwell wrote "FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES" there was actually a third verse, that Garth felt couldn't be done because of the word "ASS" in it. So he changed some lyrics. Later, after the song was a hit, he would do that verse live in concert, and after a while replaced the second verse with the original third verse. Same with songs that change over time. When Charlie Daniels had "Long Haired Country Boy" and "Devil Went Down to Georgia" he was a long haired rock and roller. Later on in his career, he became a Born again Christian, so had to change some lyrics in the songs reflecting his newer spirituality.

I'd say, that it's "finished" When the writers of the song and the artist decide on it, but there can always be room for change or adaptation. Probably it is "finished" when it gets accepted by the public and THEY find a version they like. Till then, it's open to interpretation.

MAB


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