Introducing Songwork: A Popdose Mini-Series

Written by Music

Writing a song is easy. You just bang out a chain of chords, always driving to the chorus as fast and as often as possible. Then you throw on some lyrics; nothing fancy, nothing fluffy. “Oh girl, you are my world, take my heart, but don’t tear it apart,” that sort of thing.

Writing a good song, now that is something else. With that as the intention, you’re presupposing you’ll create something people will want to hear, not once, but often. It is, in part, about the sweat you put into it, the constant scrutiny, the self-editing, the willingness to take a little constructive criticism without feeling like your ego has been run over. That will get you halfway there, but then there’s the rest of the ride where strange things start to happen, an alchemy between the players, the parts and even the times in which the song arrives collude to make something greater than the parts alone. To get to the latter, you have to be ready to accept the former and do the work. The problem is that you can’t fake this muse, you can only coax it out.

We’re going to try. Over the next few months, you will be seeing this column pop up as the Popdose Staff attempts to write and record not just a song, but a good song – one you might actually want to keep on your digital player of choice. Each participant will take the work from the prior participant, write and record their part, offer input involving their colleagues’ work if they feel it needs tightening up, then describe what they did, how they did it and how they feel about it. They’ll also post their recording as a downloadable MP3 here. You’ll get to read about, and hear, the work in progress. At the same time, those who follow along can use our separate parts (also known as “stems”) and create remixes, hopefully providing a true interactive project.

By the end of the project, we hope to have a completed, fully-formed, honest-to-goodness song. We also hope to have a mixtape full of versions rejiggered by our Popdose readership. Your hosts for the events are Michael Fortes, Ben Wiser, Terje Fjelde, Michael Parr, Ted Asregadoo, Jason Hare, Robin Monica Alexander and yours truly… Which reminds me – I have a rough demo track to start scratching out!

As a part of the project, we’ll also be putting up a graphic of a world map to show you where each participant is from. At no other time in recorded music history has collaboration been as far-flung, and as efficient, as it is now in the digital age and we want to document that as well. We’re hoping you’ll be as excited with this project as we are in putting it together. Stay tuned, ‘Dosers!