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Unexpected Emotions

By Paul White

It doesn't matter what technology you throw at a project, good music will always be about emotion, and that emotion has to come from whoever is writing the song. Of course, such emotion comes from life experiences, which might account for the way in which some artists run out of steam when they are a few years into a successful career, as endless nights gigging and sleeping in hotel rooms doesn't provide much in the way of new song material — although at least Simon and Garfunkel managed to come up with 'Homeward Bound' based on such experiences. It may also be that female singer/songwriters are currently so popular because women appear to be so much better at expressing their emotions, while men tend to bury such things. Well, I have a theory about that, too: men do get very emotional about certain topics, but if they dare express their true emotions they usually get accused of being negative, grumpy whingers!

So what do men get emotional about? Often it is about the absurdities of the way the world works, such as not being able to park the car to shop on the high street when the news tells us our high streets are dying through lack of custom. Sometimes it's about little things, such as not being able to find that screwdriver you swear you put down on the table two minutes ago, or maybe grander issues such as why we're all being forced into poverty when everyone pays at least half of what they earn back to the government via one tax or another. Then there are the corporate jackals living the high life on the back of our dwindling pension funds; the lack of anything to watch on TV when there are 200 channels of tosh to choose from; and if you live in the UK there's always the weather to fall back on.

Yes, these are real-life examples of the frustrations behind the true emotions of men, so instead of suppressing them, why not use them as inspiration for songs? Surely we've had enough of boy meets/loses girl themes, so how about some epics on the frustrations of the Internet dropping out when you're trying to upgrade your DAW, dogs fouling outside your front door, plastic packaging that you can't open without industrial-grade shears, supermarket labels that won't come off the new product you just bought, or computer manufacturers changing things to render all your existing kit obsolete? Trust me, this isn't whinging, it's honest, raw emotion, and if you're not allowed to express it at home, put it into a song. If life really winds you up, you may be sitting on a vein of creative gold and not even know it. And to any women songwriters reading this: just stick to what you're doing, it seems to be working fine!

Finally, if anyone concludes that the above in any way suggests a difference in the mental approaches of the sexes and therefore might be construed as being discriminatory, I must point out that this view is a generalisation, and no generalisation is entirely true, not even this one about generalisations being not entirely true!

Paul White Editor In Chief  

Published March 2013