Wednesday, October 14, 2009

4♣ Take four

4♣ Four of Clubs in The Rock Songwriter’s Deck: 52 Ways to Write a Song

The Four of Clubs invites you to take your song idea and write four completely different songs. Let those four songs fight it out and see which one is best.

Research shows that people are habitually lazy thinkers. Faced with a never-before-seen situation, most people get uncomfortable enough that they start thinking. They typically think about the strange situation just long enough to come up with one plausible explanation. They then stop thinking and assume that that first reasonable explanation is the explanation.

After that point, people not only stop thinking, they actually stop seeing new facts that might lead to a different conclusion.

The Four of Clubs says, keep the brain working a little bit longer. Don't stop with the first possible solution for a songwriting challenge. Try again, and write it a different way. Then try again, and yet again.

After you dispense with the most obvious way to write a song, you have the option to keep your mind working on other possible answers, and you might come up with a clever and completely different approach.

You might ultimately decide that your first answer was the best one. It often is. But your third or fourth attempt might yield something transcendentally brilliant. You never know until you try.

Sure, it's more work to write four songs instead of one. But if you have a lot at stake, it's not too much to ask. A film production can easily go through four storyboards before deciding how to shoot a scene. You might test-drive four cars, or try on four shirts, before buying one.

Songwriting is not hard work, compared to rehearsing, recording, and performing the song. So the Four of Clubs says, maybe this time you can make more than the minimum mental effort, and give four potential songs a chance to audition.

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