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September 22nd, 2008:

Some Songwriting Thoughts from Randy Newman

The Boston Globe ran an article featuring an interview with Randy Newman wherein he spoke about the State of the Union and the U.S. presidential election and other “unimportant” things, including some insight into songwriting as follows:

Q. When you sit down to write a pointed song about society’s ills, what are you setting out to accomplish?

A. You know, I’ve been doing it a long time and I think my intention, vaguely, is to save the world. But I doubt I’ve changed one person’s mind about inferior schools or racism.

Q. Is it a fundamental flaw of topical songwriting that you’re perennially preaching to the converted?

A. Yeah. But I don’t want to be booed and hated. I don’t want to be abused. I’m too fragile for that. The Republicans don’t want to hear me. That’s just the way it goes. I mean, have you ever won that argument?

… and

Q. “Harps and Angels” had the biggest opening weeks sales of your career. Did that surprise you?

A. It’s like being a blacksmith in 1909. The business is about to go. I’m not dismissing that this album is a success. It doesn’t mean any less. The fact is it isn’t going to pay the rent nowadays. The better thing is that I have the old catalog. It’s still vital, commercially. It always has been.

Hmmm, comparing songwriting to blacksmithing… and the “business is about to go.” Definitely some insight there from a talented/opinionated songwriter and performer… May the Muse be with you Randy…

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Liam Gallagher’s “Singer vs. Songwriter”

I don’t agree with the philosophy, but it’s interesting to say the least and I think it’s a bit of bravado considering the source and the publicity such statements make. Here’s an article about Liam Gallagher’s take on his brother Noel’s singing/songwriting skills and the latest Oasis album.

Liam Gallagher hates his brother Noel singing on the new Oasis album.

The frontman said his guitarist sibling – who sings three tracks on ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ – should have left him to do all the vocals.

He said: “I’m a better singer than him, so I should sing them.”

However, Liam claims his songwriting talents are not as impressive as his prowess on stage.

He explained: “I don’t count myself as a songwriter. I’m a singer who every now and then stumbles across a few songs that people either like or don’t like.

“I’m into writing songs, but I’m not going to freak out about it and go, ‘Whoa, these songs…’ I know there’s all this spiritual nonsense that people go on about, but I’d be more worried about losing my voice than losing my ability to write a f**king song. I’m a singer man, that’s it.”

The ‘Live Forever’ star – who penned ‘I’m Outta Time’, ‘Soldier On’ and ‘Ain’t Got Nothing’ for the band’s new album – also revealed his biggest songwriting influence is himself.

He added: “I don’t have subjects to write about – I just write about me, because I’m different, a one-off. I don’t draw inspiration from music, I’m already inspired. “

Hmmm, may the Muse be with you… and may Liam stay with Liam…

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