lyrics

How to write a break-up song

True to form for Song Talk Radio, the day before Valentine’s Day seemed a good day to talk about break-up songs. So Phil brought “Operator (That’s Not the Way It Feels)” by Jim Croce, Neel chose “One More Minute” by “Weird Al” Yankovic, Bruce performed a new original tune “I Don’t Love You Anymore”, and Vanessa selected “White Blank Page” by the band Mumford & Sons. We talked about:

  • conflict in break up songs
  • break up song experts – The Smiths, Jann Arden, Morrissey
  • “Operator” chord progression – 1, 3, 4, 5 (Nashville numbering system), finger-picking, guitar riff
  • “One More Minute” – original song in a doo-wop style, one idea repeated getting more extreme, a bridge might have helped
  • “I Don’t Love You…” – Key of E, lyric tune-up to bring clarity, needs a bridge?, Neel finds the word “hating” too harsh
  • “White Blank Page” – maximum drama through arrangement, a religious song?, abstract songs let the listener interpret
  • remembering phone numbers in the age of the cell phone

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White-Blank-Page

Operator-Jim-Croce-Lyrics

One-More-Minute

Phil, Bruce, Avery, Vanessa, Linda, and Neel

How to manage your own career with Avery Florence

Avery Florence stopped by the studio on the cusp of her first tour. She was excited! “Road trip!” Her songs were a treasure trove of musical delight, and her tips about managing her own career were helpful to anyone trying to make a living as a singer/songwriter.

Here are some of the things we talked about:

  • the music business
  • The Harris Institute
  • touring, booking your own gigs
  • The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron
  • writing when inspired
  • collaboration
  • recording “live off the floor”
  • guitar or piano?
  • breaking up with a band

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Download the song lyrics and follow along

BLEED

FLY

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Neel, Phil, Bruce, Vanessa, and Anthony

Songs from your childhood

We talked about the first songs that resonated with us as kids.

Stuff We Talked About:

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Phil, Neel, Vanessa, and Bruce

The 2017 Year End Wrap-Up Show!

Join the gang as we go over our favourite bits of the last year and lots more stuff!

We talked about:

Listen to the show:

Neel, Bruce, Vanessa, Anthony, and Phil

Holiday Special 2017

Bruce, Neel, Phil and Vanessa each shared a song that meant something to them for the holidays. Bruce featured a song from a series of The Beatles releases from 1964 to 1969 that he and his brothers bought each other for Christmas. Vanessa brought in a ballet number from her childhood as a dancer. Phil showcased a feel-good (well, except for the drunk tank) song from the Pogues. And Neel featured a song from his childhood that may have played a role in his wanting to be a musician.

We also talked about:

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Check out the songs

Bruce, Phil, Vanessa, Robert, Dave, Bob, Neel, and Anthony

Robert Priest, songwriting poet

Multi-talented Toronto poet, novelist, and singer/songwriter Robert Priest brought two great songs to the show. He also brought two talented musicians to back him up – guitarist and vocalist David Hines and guitarist Bob Cohen. We talked about a wide range of things including:

  • the difference between poetry and song lyrics
  • collaboration in song writing
  • song structure
  • work habits
  • breaking down the inner critic
  • “highway” songs
  • writing for children
  • a poem about John Lennon
  • Robert’s website

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Vanessa, Phil, Bruce, Anthony, and Neel

Exploring songs with “talk-singing”

We featured songs on this episode that use the unique “talk singing” technique. For the most part, we agreed that talk-singing meant that the singers were using short notes without too much melodic range, but still consciously in the key of the song.

We talked about:

  • how the ends of talk-singing musical lines work
  • the differences between rap and talk-singing
  • how talk-sung songs have interesting music beds
  • how you have a melody even when you’re speaking
  • how the late 70s and 80s saw a lot of talk-singing songs
  • our theme episode on Unconventional Singers

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Check out the songs

 

Neel, Bruce, Patrick, Phil, Vanessa, and Anthony

Patrick Ballantyne’s Canadian song picks

Popular guest co-host and guest on Song Talk Radio, Patrick Ballantyne dropped by the studio to share two of his favourite Canadian songs. “Help Me” by Joni Mitchell is a great example of her unique combination of melody, structure, and lyrics to evoke a casual conversational tone. Includes a great instrumental hook. Patrick’s other pick was a song by Ian and Sylvia, “The French Girl”, in a very unusual version recorded by Gene Clark. As we discussed the tunes, we talked about:

  • Patrick’s new album – “Calendar”
  • Hearing songs of yearning at the age of 13
  • Joni Mitchell’s unique vocal style
  • adding a 2/4 bar in a 4/4 song
  • When the root chord is a 7, it creates tension
  • Led Zeppelin

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Neel, Bruce, Andy, Vanessa. Phil, and Anthony

Where metal, folk, and soul meet with Andy De Rego

Andy De Rego, also known as Black Suit Devil, is a seductive blend of acoustic soul with thought provoking lyrics and heartfelt, soulful melodies. Andy has been a regular in Toronto’s rock, blues and metal music scenes for over twenty years, writing and performing across North America. Andy joined us to talk about:

  • stealing borrowing from Black Sabbath if you’re going to start a metal band
  • how Andy’s lyrics pull from the political, “fight the man” attitude of metal
  • Andy’s song Blind Man, a song about corporate control and injustice – download the lyrics
  • Short songs vs. long songs (hint: Andy writes long songs with a lot of tension)
  • the daily grind of being a full-time musician, and where to find good paying gigs
  • Andy’s song Fumbledownload the lyrics
  • how to separate the verse from the chorus
  • the great debate of enunciating every word in your vocal performance, or not

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Watch the live performance

Bruce, Ed, Phil, Vanessa, and Neel

Ed Roman a Canadian original

Ed Roman is an award-winning singer/songwriter, performer and multi-instrumentalist from Shelburne, Ontario, Canada.  Blurring the lines between pop, rock, folk, and country music genres, Ed’s uniquely crafted songs have received regular rotation on more than 100 terrestrial radio stations across North America and more than 400 stations, worldwide. On this program we had some lively discussions about:

  • What is “Canadiana”?
  • Being human and the influence of family on songwriting
  • Music as a way to deal with dyslexia
  • Forming a band at the age of 14 and writing original tunes
  • Lyrics have many meanings for the listeners (good!)
  • Emotions in the performance
  • Protest songs – what happens behind the scenes?
  • Holding onto unresolved chords versus fulfilling expectations

Download the lyrics

The Way She Goes

I Told You So

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