Behind the lyrics

“Song Exploder” is a great podcast for any songwriter or beginning songwriter: in it, a band or songwriter will take apart a successful song and explain how it was written and recorded.

I have always loved the Semisonic song, “Closing time” – but there are whole new depths of meaning behind the lyrics and the times in which it was recorded (1997) – hear the story here.


Right off the bat, I’m impressed that Dan Wilson wrote this song as part of an intense songwriting period – when he wrote a song every day for 2 months.  He’s not surprised that they weren’t all terrific: but “Closing Time” was in the middle of them.

I don’t want to tell the story of his life and the song, because he tells it himself, so bravely and insightfully – don’t miss listening to the podcast.

And when you’ve finished, there are still over a hundred other masterful songwriters, willing to talk through their craft, featuring one particular song.  There are: (and if you hear some loud thuds it’s because of the weight of the names being dropped): U2, Vampire Weekend, The Cranberries, Fleetwood Mac, Jack Johnson, R.E.M., Nine inch nails, Chvrches, Bjork, Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, Mumford and Sons.….

Creative Takeaway

Often on this podcast, there’s something learned or a creative homework, inspired by the main post.  Here, I think there is one obvious one – write many many examples of whatever your craft is, daily, for at least 2 months.  The repetition hones your craft, helps you find what works, what doesn’t – and creates so many examples that there are bound to be some new, unexpected gem, mined and forced out into the open, by the sheer pressure of recurring deadlines.  It’s a fast way to get in your 10,000 hours.



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