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Writing and Critiquing Politically Charged Songs


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I agree with the former statement that the rape verse doesn't fit. But otherwise I dig it.

 

I have been trying to write a political one for a few weeks/couple months. The problem is that, to do it right, I need to be able to see both sides motivations, rather than just their actions. And I can't figure out what makes right wingers decide to do a lot of the things the do. When I try to ask a right winger what makes them do several of the things they do, it just makes them mad that I asked. So I can''t figue out why they do the things that make sense if they hate their kids, grandkids,  and selves. And they really despise clean air and water. And they get furious if poor people get to have access to medical care. But for the song, I would have to know WHY they do the things that look like those are the reasons.

 

I kind of like the bridge I had for it a while back:

 

Left side wants you to go to college. Right side sends you to war.

Left side wants clean air and water. Right says "Not anymore."

Left side wants you to see a doctor. Right don't care if you die.

Left side might not keep all their promises. Right side don't even try. 

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21 hours ago, bard2dbone said:

Left side wants you to go to college. Right side sends you to war.

Left side wants clean air and water. Right says "Not anymore."

Left side wants you to see a doctor. Right don't care if you die.

Left side might not keep all their promises. Right side don't even try. 

Sounds awfully "Left sided" to me. Trump has been pretty darn good at keeping his promises, despite many working against him. He has made living conditions better in America, especially for all, repeat all, minority citizens. Despite having a first black president, blacks under his administration fared far worse, with unemployment/welfare/food stamp rolls all up, and wages down for blacks? Maybe rethink who you are blaming

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Please, no discussion of the politics in question, just the song. Political discussions are way too volatile for music forums and are against the rules on Songstuff. Every single time we opened up religious or political discussions it caused mass fall outs, and a breakdown in goodwill, trashing critique activity. Views are passionately held and they will not be changed easily if at all.

 

This is a music forum. We are all about the music. There are plenty of sites where politics can be discussed without damaging creative relationships or risking the peace you enjoy here. So please, swallow your indignation and your urgency to defend your views and opinions. You can still critique effectiveness of a song expressing a view without agreeing with the expressed political view!

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Unfortunately, that has been the catch all along. I try to talk with right wingers about why they do the things they do. But in stead of answering, they want to argue with me.

 

Keep in mind,  I'll still be a medium left guy when the song is done and you can still be a right winger when it's done.  I don't want to try to change your mind and I'm not going to change mine. I just want to be able to see your motivations so that I can make the right wing verses make sense. You can see from the bridge where I stand.  I can see where you (Talking to a hypothetical right winger.) stand. But I can't really see WHY you stand there. that's the part I want help with.

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We are getting off-topic from the OP’s topic. @bard2dbone, @John Selleck, I will move this convo to it’s own topic. Bard, perhaps you could repost your first line as a reply in the “first time to write a politically charged song” topic, and maybe add a link to the new topic? I have a few suggestions on your song bard, but before I drill down on that I think it needs to be in it’s own topic :)

 

Once I am sure you have seen this I will remove this reply to tidy the topic.

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16 hours ago, john said:

Please, no discussion of the politics in question, just the song.

Sorry John!

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Ok, before I give an actual comment I just want to say that very recently I left constructive comments on a political song that took a completely opposing political view to my own. My perspective was purely in helping the song achieve the stated aims of the writer. Importantly, the writer had no idea my view differed from their own. I find that a much easier way to critique such songs.

 

True, there are some topics that I would find so difficult not to have an emotional reaction... but in those cases I would not engage or reply.

 

This would make an interesting and useful topic in the songwriting discussion board. :)

 

Yet again, I will delete this once @bard2dbone and @John Selleck see this post. I want to get back to the topic of bard’s song but I just wanted to highlight my approach to such matters.
 

Keep it all about the song. Be constructive and helpful, or skip replying.

 

I would also add that just like a debating club, being constructive with feedback is a great challenge. You can bring a really useful perspective to the song and really help the writer. It also helps ourselves as writers to delve into differing views from our own because it requires us to use our imagination, 

 

If you guys would be interested we can talk it out in a topic of it’s own in the songwriting board?

 

ok, BTT!  :backtotopic:

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10 minutes ago, John W Selleck said:

Sorry John!


No problem John. This can happen with political or religious songs. It’s important to rein it in and get it back on topic. From a mod perspective our approach is to guide it back and clean up where necessary. We only use warnings etc for determined political discussions that ignore the mod’s advice and instead escalate into insults etc.

 

At the same time, it is important that such songs get aired and have the opportunity of feedback. To a degree that comes down to educating members towards a community approach that keeps the peace while progressing the songs. That’s exactly why this could make great topic in the songwriting board.

 

ok, really BTT! Lol

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Actually, this topic, is that topic lmao... bard hadn’t posted his song.... I’ll move it and tidy,

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@bard2dbone @John Selleck if you let me know you have seen this topic I will tidy up and edit replies to get it on topic.

 

@bard2dbone, you should post your work-in-progress song so it can get progressed :)

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15 hours ago, john said:

@bard2dbone @John Selleck if you let me know you have seen this topic I will tidy up and edit replies to get it on topic.

 

@bard2dbone, you should post your work-in-progress song so it can get progressed :)

Seen. I have also posted political songs, but put them in the hidden area so I wouldn't cause too much trouble. LOL!

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12 hours ago, john said:

@bard2dbone @John Selleck if you let me know you have seen this topic I will tidy up and edit replies to get it on topic.

 

@bard2dbone, you should post your work-in-progress song so it can get progressed :)

I've seen it. It's safe to chop now.

 

I keep re-starting this thing so much that I don't have a version I'm real willing to show off.  Basically, that was the source of my question.

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Here's another way of looking at it – "let the politics be the topic!"

 

Consider, for example, Sting's iconic song, "The Russians."  He took neither side but commented on both.

 

 

In essence, this entire thing is Mass Psychology.  Certainly one of the most fascinating disciplines within this study of humanity, if only for the number of people it has killed.  Two well-funded and well-schooled propaganda machines who call themselves "Left™" and "Right™" are steadily churning out two parallel divisive messages whose primary purpose (I think ...) is to sow division, in everything.  Simply because "a house divided against itself cannot stand."

 

A fundamental principle of this form of propaganda is that it is "strictly binary."  It is "Red or Blue, Black or White, Left or Right."  If you are not "X-Polar" then you are either accused of being "Y-Polar" or vilified for not being properly "X-Polar" because in this mass-psychology play "there is no continent, only two coasts."

  • Because this propaganda wants you to move, and is specifically engineered to make you do so.  It wants you to feel that you must.  Wants you to feel that the only "truth" is either on "the correct coast" or "the wrong coast" and that you must be a fool to be anywhere else.

 

(Scary but true:  https://medium.com/@AspieSavant/16-basis-principles-of-mass-indoctrination-8ee8b179cf4a ...)

 

  • "Aww, Mike, that could never happen in my country ..."  Don't Be A Fool! 😡

 

However, the continent is where your audience lives:  that vast middle ground composed of people who daily observe the two über-polarized messages that are being screamed at them, but who do not and will not subscribe to either one.  "These are not, in fact, 'as the polarists describe them.'"  These are the people who, I submit, are your true audience.  No matter what the polarizers scream at them daily, "they are the country, and their country shall not be moved."  And they'd probably love to hear a well-made song that is addressed to them, whether or not it conveys "national solidarity."  Speak to them.  Speak to their homes, their children, their lives ... and their fears.

 

So:  "your true audience, ripe for a song."  Instead of taking a position on either "coast," step back towards the actually-vast "continent" and write from there.  Once again we live in interesting times.  Those times are waiting for the perfect poem.

 

Write a song that helps us to understand the hyper-polarized, propaganda-driven world in which we are now living ... without automatically starting with either of their messages as your starting text.  ("Don't march to their drummer ...")  Just as Sting did with The Russians.

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The "Russians" approach was what I wanted to do originally with the one I was talking about. But because I can't legitimately see the other sides motivations, I can't really come up with decent ways to verbalize their views. Anything I say comes out like I'm picking on them. 

 

I wanted to start with the idea of people claiming "Both sides are the same." and then show a few ways they are different while claiming to agree they are the same. 

 

Basically I was hoping to get the twist like LJ Booth did in a song back in the cold war. I can't remember the name. But it was a father who'd had to take a walk to clear his head after explaining to his daughter That there was a nation full of people on the other side of the world with thousands of nuclear bombs who could at any moment destroy all life on Earth and it was all aimed right here. He gets all the way to the last verse before he says "I hope they love their Kansas like I love my Ukraine."

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