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#185342 - 07/12/03 11:56 PM "how do I live" I owe apology  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,513
Kay-lynn Carew Offline
Top 200 Poster
Kay-lynn Carew  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,513
Nashville, TN
I have had a complete "lightbulb" THING regarding this song.

I used to say..

it didn't make sense for the singer to say

"without you... there'd be no sun in my life"

and then go on to say.
"how do I live without you".. Seems to me the lyric should have said.. "how WOULD I live without you".

So why have I changed my mind??

For the same reason I stand behind my lyric of STANDING HERE.

Imagine a woman sitting by her dying husband's bedside.who she knows is not going to survive.. and she's saying..

"without you.. there is no sun in my life".. etc...
so how do I live without you?"

She's literally asking him the question... "how the hell am I gonna live without you".

That is one of the small things.. that people point out in my songs... even though I know I wrote it correctly they give me the grammer thing.. and don't look a little deeper. They would say.. BUT WE DON'T KNOW HER HUSBAND IS DYING etc...
it doesn't frickin matter.
It didn't matter to Diane Warren and it doesn't matter to me.. because I KNOW WHAT SHE MEANS......

which means.. we DON'T HAVE TO FORCE-feed A STORY to country listeners... THEY WILL GET IT!!!

Grammatically...
Without you, there'd be no.. etc.

does not make

"how do I live"

the line should have been

"how WILL I live".

but it wasnt'.
Why wasn't it?

because in a real conversation with someone.. you would literally say to them..

"ok,, what now.. and how do I live without you"??


Only I can decide that I've written it properly, strongly and with emotion.

thanks!



[This message has been edited by redwriter1 (edited 07-13-2003).]


"It Mattered to THAT One"
#185343 - 07/13/03 02:26 AM Re: "how do I live" I owe apology  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Hi, red, how do you do?

"Do" is a more active verb than "would" or "will", they describe a state of anticipated action. Using "do" doesn't bother me here, but I hate "Let's do lunch."

Here's a free hook: Let's Do Love.


All the Best,
Mike

If it were easy...I'd be doing it.


------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#185344 - 07/13/03 12:59 PM Re: "how do I live" I owe apology  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,513
Kay-lynn Carew Offline
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Kay-lynn Carew  Offline
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Posts: 1,513
Nashville, TN
Mike:

Love the hook.. may I steal it???

it sorta fits into a half-finished song I've been saving called..

It's all in a day's love. (smile)


"It Mattered to THAT One"
#185345 - 07/13/03 02:45 PM Re: "how do I live" I owe apology  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
Steal away [Linked Image]

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#185346 - 07/15/03 11:30 AM Re: "how do I live" I owe apology  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 98
RWJames Offline
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RWJames  Offline
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Nevada
Red and Mike,
I've got to jump in here... You brought up something that kind of bothers me. I've had a modest amount of experience writing prose, and while I am by no means an expert on grammar, I know the primary responsibility of any writer is to communicate an idea. If I can achieve that goal, it really doesn't matter about the construct. About the only thing that grammar reveals is the education of the writer.

So when I am writing lyrics, I may pull the words apart, move them around, replace them with synonyms, remove contractions where I can, etc., ad naseum...

But when I sit down with my guitar and actually start to sing it, something completely different may come out. Because we are creating MUSIC, not poetry. This music happens to be a blend of a melody and some lyrics, but they have to work well together. And some words just won't work with some melodies.

I admire people that can just sit and write lyrics and then turn them over to someone to write the music. I could never do that. To me the two parts are too closely entwined.

So, Red, I have to agree with you... if it works in the music, and people understand what you are saying - then great! And you know what, they may not completely understand what you are saying... they may have their own interpretation... that's okay, too, if they like it.

Okay, I feel better now,
Rick

#185347 - 07/15/03 04:03 PM Re: "how do I live" I owe apology  
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,513
Kay-lynn Carew Offline
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Kay-lynn Carew  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,513
Nashville, TN
I totally agree with you Rick that's why it's so frustrating when critiquing or "being critiqued" when all we have to go on is the words on the page.

I normally can tell where someone is gonna cry foul on a grammer situation and I say "don't worry, it fits with the music".. but they still comment anyway.. LOL

What song would David Gates have written if he had not chosen "Baby, I'm a want you"???
I was at a workshop by him years ago in Hollywood, and everyone wanted to know why he used "those" words. Know what he said??? Cus they FIT the music.. hahah

[This message has been edited by redwriter1 (edited 07-15-2003).]


"It Mattered to THAT One"
#185348 - 07/16/03 07:19 AM Re: "how do I live" I owe apology  
Joined: Sep 2001
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Jean Bullock Offline
Jean Bullock  Offline

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Posts: 10,330
Anaheim, CA, USA
The" I'm a want you" thing bugged me when I heard it. I always felt that song was inferior because of it. (I wasn't into songwriting at the time either) I remember thinking, "What's the deal? Is he Italian or something?" It sounded idiotic to me.

I feel that the song didn't rely on the lyrics at all but on the melody and vocal quality of the singer.

So what's the harm in that? No harm I guess. It fit the immediate need. It had marketing to back it up. Voila, the song made money. Was a "hit."

Nothing wrong with making money. But since the melody and vocal quality were really selling the song (IMO) , what would have been the harm in honing the lyrics a bit?

The writer could have said, "Baby, how I want you! and the song would have made sense and still worked with the music.

So instead of being a song which could be viewed as a classic hit with all the elements being equal, it becomes an example of how an audience is willing to overlook nonsensical lyrics for the sake of melody. Is that a thing to be proud of ?

I wonder if anyone has asked "hit" writers if in retrospect, they wished they had worked a little harder on the lyics?
I wonder if after the money is made and the glory enjoyed, there is a little let down in the personal satisfaction area. A pride of workmanship sort of thing.

I remember the melody of the song and that the following line was neat but all I remember about the lyrics really is the part that didn't make sense. That was the part I reacted to most strongly and so it sticks in my mind.

I guess it's good that I still remember the song. But I would have remembered the line had it been correctly phrased too and not because I thought it sounded wierd.

But the guy made money so that's all that's important. Right?

JeanB


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#185349 - 07/16/03 10:30 AM Re: "how do I live" I owe apology  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline


JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee
I really like "Baby I'm-a-Want You" as a song, independant of it's being a Bread song. Sometimes the vernacular is the hook itself. And look at how it sings! It's far more rhythmic and percussive than "Baby how I want you", no offense jean [Linked Image].

Look at the beautiful language of Mark Twain. Afrill with colloquialism, he was savagely criticized for his poor grammar. How about Salvador Dali? That stuff ain't real art! Well, now, we've come to accept abnormal or pedestrian expression as true art. That's why we get things like people blowing there nose as performance art and songwriters mimicing (it's not in my pocket dictionary, but I wonder if it's "mimicking", like "trafficking"?) folk songs with bad grammar and regionalisms.

I'm for any music that sounds good and moves me. The trick is keeping it real, to paraphrase George Burns, "if you can fake that, you've got it made."

Mike

------------------
Mike Dunbar Music


You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.
-niteshift

Mike Dunbar Music

#185350 - 07/16/03 10:41 AM Re: "how do I live" I owe apology  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 98
RWJames Offline
Serious Contributor
RWJames  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 98
Nevada
Nonsense lyrics?

There's a whole pile of celtic folk songs with lyrics like lie-de-lie-la-de-da. They seem to work.

There is a blurred line between the voice as a medium of information and a musical instrument.

Rick

#185351 - 07/16/03 01:18 PM Re: "how do I live" I owe apology  
Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 60
Holly Harden Offline
Serious Contributor
Holly Harden  Offline
Serious Contributor

Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 60
Chillecothe, OH USA
I think you're missing the point a bit with trying to say there's a grammar issue with "How do I live..."

The immediacy of the present is what's being conveyed.

The singer isn't thinking about the future ("How will I live..."), she's thinking about the absolute present (e.g., "How can I live...").

The superiority over "How do I..." over the (perhaps more correct) "How can I..." in this lyrical case is in the added pathos of the singer asking the question as if someone, perhaps even the object of her desire, was (or could be) still around, to give advice or instruction on a situation that has no rational answer, advice, or instruction.

In fact, it's a very poignant rhetorical question, from the listener's point of view.

Think of it like this: you'd ask a teacher for an immediate tip or lesson e.g., "How do I ..." rather than saying "How will I..." or "How could I ...", even if you're not going to try the task until the future.

#185352 - 07/16/03 03:42 PM Re: "how do I live" I owe apology  
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 10,330
Jean Bullock Offline
Jean Bullock  Offline

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Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 10,330
Anaheim, CA, USA
Mike.! [Linked Image] I'm a wantin' you to know that I'm a taking no offense Öa.
What irks one pleases another. To each his own.

JeanB


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