Wednesday, April 7, 2010

7♦ Song and Antisong

7♦ Seven of Diamonds in The Rock Songwriter’s Deck: 52 Ways to Write a Song

As cards go, the Seven of Diamonds is very positional. Whatever anyone says or does, the Seven of Diamonds is adamantly opposed to it.

If you drink your coffee black, the Seven of Diamonds will get his with cream and sugar and call you an anarchist. The next day, if you get cream and sugar, 7♦ will drink it black and complain that you've gone soft.

That's why the Seven of Diamonds' songwriting assignment is to pick a song that makes a clear, strong point — and then write a new song that argues for the exact opposite.

For example, you might take the Beatles' "Back in the USSR" and write a song called "Back in the USA." (I'm just joking — read the back story here.) Or you might start with the cheerful 1970s hit "Love Will Keep Us Together" and write a gloomy song that argues "Love Will Tear Us Apart." (Just joking again.) Or perhaps you could write a rebuttal to Paul Simon's "Tenderness," a song that bemoans a relationship built on relentless honesty without any kindness mixed in. (Yep, that's been done too.)

Well, you'll have to come up with your own ideas for a song to start with. But, whatever song you pick, don't go easy on it. Make a strongly-argued, forceful case for the opposite point of view. Even if you actually feel that the truth is somewhere in between, leave those hesitations aside. If you played the two songs back-to-back, you'd want a listener to walk away persuaded that your song made the stronger case.

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