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about rewriting

... and rewriting rewrites ;-)

Once you've completed a song text after struggling with the flow, refining the meter, checking its rhyme structure for consistency, or tweaking it here and there it has become your 'Baby' and you feel responsible for its 'health' and integrity. Smaller adaptions are often needed anyway to fix the flow as soon as the song is actually sung and a particular line or intonation sounds clumsy. But it's hard to change anything substantially.

Yet if you are writing for other people you have to do exactly that all the time. Eventually you get used to it. Sometimes I gave up - namely when I was asked to add another verse in a song that tells a story. I find it next to impossible to add a 'chapter' to a complete story without messing it up. It's easier with 'generic' lyrics that simply descibe some mood or attitude in a general manner. What I call 'episodic lyrics' (each verse dealing with something quite different but somehow covering a common ground) are also easily extendible.

I wrote, adapted, and rewrote "silver stream" for a Canadian partner who never finished the song as far as I know. Since I like its lyrics a lot I decided to set them to music myself which required more adaptions. All minor ones - no harm done.

These days, after finishing a new backing track I browsed my 'unsung' lyrics and discovered "too much" that seemed to fit well. Except that I would need verses (or actually two blocks of two verses) that were twice as long, and a bridge that would have to be 2.5 times as long. The chorus also needed to be adapted, and shortened a bit. Fortunately, "too much" are 'generic' lyrics.

As the new verses are twice as long I could simply join the two original verses. That was a quick one:


in the park, in the zoo
at the bar, on the loo
whatever I do
I keep thinking of you

... (chorus)

on the road, in the street
where I go, where I eat
where my heart beats
I keep feeling the heat


became:

in the park, in the zoo
at the bar, on the loo
wherever I am, whatever I do
I keep thinking of you - thinking of you

on the road, in the street
where I go, where I eat
where I live and my heart beats
I keep feeling the heat - feeling the heat


All I now needed was another block with the same meter and rhyme structure:

sound asleep, wide awake
during work, at my break
when I have a tea and cake
I am feeling the ache - feeling the ache

when stressed out, when at ease
when pissed off, when I'm pleased
if it is "Wow!", if is "Geeze!"
you get me down on my knees - down on my knees


The bridge could be extended in a similar manner:

give me a sign
if I stand a chance
or show me a way
out of my trance


No change so far. Then I just added the following parts:

drop me a note
give me a vote
or make up your mind
to dash my hope

hear my plea
come clean with me
and end my agony


Also the chorus was rather generic and repetitive, which made it easy to shorten.

Original chorus:

I want you
too much
I need you
too much
I love you
too much
you mean much
too much
to me


New chorus:

I want you too much
I need you too much
you mean much too much
to me


I may have to add a little something in the last 'line' making it "too much for me" or so. I will know when I sing it.

Stay tuned, have fun,
Bernd