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#791950 - 01/31/10 12:47 PM "I Want You" Songwriting lesson? discuss!  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,905
Colin Ward Offline
Colin Ward  Offline

Top 30 Poster

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,905
Saint Petersburg. FL
Here is a link to a song my friend says is one of the greats. Written by Tom Waits and recorded by Holly Cole. Is it very simple but effective?

What do you think of it? Is it great and why?

[color:#CC0000][size:14pt]I Want You[/size][/color]

I want you, you, you
All I want is you, you, you
All I want is you

Give you stars above
Sun on a brightest day
Give you all my love
If only you would say

That "I want you, you, you
All I want is you, you, you
All I want is you"


I try to critique as if you mean business.....



#791954 - 01/31/10 01:29 PM Re: "I Want You" Songwriting lesson? discuss! [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,463

Top 20 Poster

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,463
Edinburgh, Scotland. UK
Sorry Colin It is not a GREAT song IMO it is not even much good. It has no musical or lyrical hooks and no singalong lines. It has little literary content and not much of a performance or production to speak of. I am sure if it appeared on our MP3 board it would receive a lot of neg critiques. The fact that it was written by a famous star (some of them get away with murder)only speaks for the way the industry looks after its own rather than the quality of material they should produce.
On a positive note it should give heart to those of us who write mediocre songs.....most are at least as good as Tom Waits.

#791955 - 01/31/10 01:44 PM Re: "I Want You" Songwriting lesson? discuss! [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,394
Gary E. Andrews Offline
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Gary E. Andrews  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,394
Portsmouth, Ohio, USA
The melody isn't 'great.' It might be 'good.'

The lyric isn't 'great,' lacking the literary content Jim mentioned. There isn't a storyline, just a profession of desire for the other person, and the over-promising of starry-eyed 'love.'

A bridge could improve both melodic appeal and lyrical content, enabling a 3rd giving of the chorus. At 2:56 there's room.

I don't see this song catching fire and becoming much-covered by other artists.

There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com
#791957 - 01/31/10 01:50 PM Re: "I Want You" Songwriting lesson? discuss! [Re: BIG JIM MERRILEES]  
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,302
Dave Rice Offline
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Dave Rice  Offline
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Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 7,302
Hi Colin:

I believe the melody and vocal delivery make the lyrics work... in the case of this song. Great? Maybe... with all the production bells and whistles... plus a big name to attract an audience of buyers.

My friend Jim writes a fairly scathing but honest review... still, I don't agree because with repitition, the melody and lyrics will be remembered. Simple, straightforward and very pretty. I don't care who wrote it... only that it caught my ear and did not offend it... LOL! The real question is whether or not the song will "be around" for more than one chart cycle? Only time will tell.

Thanks for sharing.


#791959 - 01/31/10 02:00 PM Re: "I Want You" Songwriting lesson? discuss! [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 12,043
Scott Campbell Online content
Scott Campbell  Online Content

Top 10 Poster

Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 12,043
Lakeland, FL, USA
Well, as we know, great is subjective. smile

I don't think this is a great song. Might be a good one - I wouldn't switch channels in the middle of it. Primarily though, it is her vocal that would keep me listening.

My opinion is much the same as Gary's. A lyric like this would need a killer melody to make it great. The melody here isn't killer. It's just pleasant enough.

I'm tempted to compare this to another somewhat simple song, written by Jimmy Webb and sung by Art Garfunkel. It's called "All I Know". The lyric to "All I Know" is simple - but it really hits emotionally:

But the ending always comes at last
Endings always come too fast
They come too fast but they pass too slow
I love you and that's all I know

The lyric to "I Want You", on the other hand, is merely simple.

Also, the melody to "All I Know" gets in your brain and sticks there. It's only been a couple minutes since I listened to "I Want You" and I can't remember the melody.

So no - I don't think it's great. And I really like Tom Waits.


#791962 - 01/31/10 02:10 PM Re: "I Want You" Songwriting lesson? discuss! [Re: Colin Ward]  
Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 705
Sausagelink Offline
Top 500 Poster
Sausagelink  Offline
Top 500 Poster

Joined: Aug 2009
Posts: 705
It has to be great because I've heard more than one person say Waits is the greatest songwriter ever!

I found it an enjoyable listen but once is enough. I sometimes like very simple songs but this one is too simple.

#791973 - 01/31/10 03:28 PM Re: "I Want You" Songwriting lesson? discuss! [Re: Sausagelink]  
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 5,077
Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 5,077
Nashville, Tn.
Doesn't do much for me.


#791994 - 01/31/10 05:08 PM Re: "I Want You" Songwriting lesson? discuss! [Re: Marc Barnette]  
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Mike Dunbar Offline
Mike Dunbar  Offline

JPF Mentor

Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 8,574
Nashville Tennessee

Ask your friend why it's great and not simply good.

In my opinion it's a good cut of an okay song, I wouldn't buy it, but might pitch it for a film or commercial. The performance is better than the song.

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.

Mike Dunbar Music

#791996 - 01/31/10 05:30 PM Re: "I Want You" Songwriting lesson? discuss! [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,905
Colin Ward Offline
Colin Ward  Offline

Top 30 Poster

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 7,905
Saint Petersburg. FL
I will ask my friend to expound on why he thinks it's great. I have no dog in this fight - just pondering why a song that doesn't follow any of the rules of songwriting is perceived as great by someone who is very talented and knowledgeable.


I try to critique as if you mean business.....



#791997 - 01/31/10 05:34 PM Re: "I Want You" Songwriting lesson? discuss! [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 4,505
Moker Jarrett Offline
Top 100 Poster
Moker Jarrett  Offline
Top 100 Poster

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 4,505
jacksonville, fl
simple, understated, nice overall vocal feel. it never moved me to an i gotta hear that again point, but it's pleasant. there isn't a hit quality to it, but i like it. thx for sharing it...mj

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