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Monday, May 09, 2005

This Close to Maybe Thinking About It

My neighbor Bernadette said, gesturing with finger and thumb an inch apart, "I'm this close to maybe thinking about cleaning my house." I love that line. Applied to a relationship situation it can be a corny country song: I'm this close to maybe loving you. Twang twang twang. I think that's the problem with country lyrics. They try too hard for the hook and turn a clever line into a cliche' in about a week and a half of airplay. I fight this tendency in my writing harder every day. It's not easy. It's right there but it's like succumbing to potato chips just because they're sitting there. You could have a beautiful gourmet meal waiting for you and you ruin your pallet and appetite over 500 grams of useless transfats because, well hell, they were sitting right there in front of you. I'm gonna find a way to use that line even if I have to wait for an opportunity to come along.

However, I'm going to attempt to stick it in a lyric fragment now before one of my many nameless lurkers out there steals it. I know you're out there. Sixty to seventy Blog hits a day does not equal under a dozen comments. I will find you and I will sue your ass for plagiarism if you steal this line.

The key to not cliche'-ing the snot out of a good converstional line like this is to stick it in before the rhyme. Don't use it as the punch line. When interesting lines like that are used as lead-ups to a rhyme or a punch line, the lyrics seem more intelligent. They have a certain density that is often lost on the dense. Used as the rhyme or punch line, it's like saying, I know you're not sophisticated enough to get it any other way so here it is out on the end of the line so you don't miss it, twang twang twang.

He said, "I want you to come with me, I want to take you there."
She said, "I'm this close to maybe thinking I could even care."

Then you have to have other lines after it. It's a shiny submerged nugget that way. Not a glaring cliche'-to-be. That's the type of setup I might attempt. Not carved in stone, mind you, but an example of how I'd start to work it.

Remember the free CD contests from yesterday. Go look, if you missed them. And don't even try to slip that Highway 61 of Dylan's past me.

posted by Bud @ 6:56 AM

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