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In Today's Real Newsletter

1. Band of the Week: A Perfect Circle

2. Projects: What's in the works?

3. Article: Porcupine Tree Lyric Writing Style

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1. Band of the Week: A Perfect Circle

Like most other APC (A Perfect Circle) listeners, I started listening to the band because of Maynard James Keenan (Singer for other popular bands, the greatest of these being "Tool").

My friend Bomber told me to check them out because he knew I was such a big Tool fan.

I see APC as a lighter, and less angry version of Maynard's previous band. I know, I know, it's terrible for me to say something like that, but it's just how I view them.

I find the lyrics simply incredible, especially songs like "The Noose" where Maynard describes someone who has obviously committed an atrocious murder, but has been reborn spiritually (Most likely through Christianity).

He uses the Metaphor of a Halo to describe his reformation, but then says "And not to pull your halo down, Around your neck and tug you to the ground" to describe it turning into "The Noose".

Essentially he is saying that, just because you have made peace in your own mind for the wrong things you have done, doesn't mean the people you killed will be brought back, nor does it mean you won't have any punishment.

It is a powerful message delivered through metaphor. Exactly what you can expect from A Perfect Circle.

You can check their Page Here and their song, "The Outsider" here.

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2. Projects: What's in the Works?

Articles, Album Reviews, and Song Meanings.

I recently added 2 new sections to the site. 1 for Song Interpretations, and the other for Writing Lyrics.

I realized that I should include those two sections, as I have a lot of knowledge to share in those areas, and figured that you would find it useful.

That has been my main piece of work in the last while, plus the De-loused E-book of course.

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3. Article: Porcupine Tree Lyric Writing Style
http://www.therealmusician.com/porcupine-tree-writing-style

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Porcupine Tree Writing Style

Through all my Lyric Writing Lesson, I plan to help you understand how good lyrics are written by showing you many different, but equally good lyrical styles.

In this lesson, we will examine how Steven Wilson from the band, Porcupine Tree writes some of his lyrics.

The style that I will describe today doesn't apply to every single song that he has ever written, but in my opinion is one of the more powerful techniques that he has used.

What He Does


Steven Wilson takes a situation. He find a feeling, or an idea that he wants to portray.

After he has found what exactly he is trying to portray, he finds a way to paint the picture of this happening.

Now this often happens by him putting a more specific story into his songs.

Steven Wilson
A Picture of Steven Wilson, the front man for the band porcupine tree. He is playing a concert on stage, and is holding an acoustic guitar.

For example, if he was trying to create the feeling of anger or hate, he might write a song from the perspective of someone who's wife had just been murdered.

To the untrained ear, you might just think the song is about Steven Wilson's wife being murdered, but if you look closer, he might put cues in the song to help you realize that the song is a metaphor, and that he is just trying to show his anger.

Now that is just an example that I made up. Now take a look at an actual example of Porcupine Tree's song, "Way Out Of Here".

An Example


Way Out Of Here


Out at the train tracks
I dream of escape
But a song comes onto my iPod
And I realize it's getting late

I can't take the staring
And the sympathy
And I don't like the questions,
"How do you feel?"
"How's it going in school?"
"Do you want to talk about it?"

Way out, way out of here
Fade out, fade out, vanish

And I'm trying to forget you
And I know that I will
In a thousand years
Or maybe a week

Burn all your pictures
Cut out your face
The shutters are down
And the curtains are closed
And I've covered my tracks
Disposed of the car

And I'm trying to forget
Even your name
And the way that you look
When you're sleeping, dreaming of this...

Way out, way out of here
Fade out, fade out, vanish

After reading that, you need to ask yourself, "What is the #1 point that he is trying to make in this song?".

I know what I think it is. I think that he is looking for a way out of his life. I would believe that this is most likely because of a breakup, or having his heart.

He wishes he could just be in someone else's life, so that he doesn't have to deal with the pain that is related with having your heart broken.


What Cues Did Steven Wilson Use?


Lets take a look at the first 2 Verses.


Out at the train tracks
I dream of escape
But a song comes onto my iPod
And I realize it's getting late

I can't take the staring
And the sympathy
And I don't like the questions,
"How do you feel?"
"How's it going in school?"
"Do you want to talk about it?"


Considering that Steven Wilson is in his 40's, we can assume that when he was a child, the "iPod" did not exist.

On top of that, he isn't in school either. Automatically we know that this portion of the song is either:

  1. Not About Him
  2. Is A Metaphor to show the feeling of needing a way out


Now, let's examine Verses 3,4, and 5.

And I'm trying to forget you
And I know that I will
In a thousand years
Or maybe a week

Burn all your pictures
Cut out your face
The shutters are down
And the curtains are closed
And I've covered my tracks
Disposed of the car

And I'm trying to forget
Even your name
And the way that you look
When you're sleeping, dreaming of this...

Now this seems more like it. You can tell that it no longer seems to be a metaphor, or about someone else, but shows a true situation that Wilson may have gone through.

These Verses focus mainly on what happens after you lose someone you love and have your heart broken. You "Burn all their pictures or cut their face out of them".


The Chorus


Now the Chorus is really important. For the Chorus, you want to narrow down as much as you possibly can, and tell the listener what your main idea is.

A Chorus...Get it?
A Picture of a Choir Chorus.

You don't have to tell them plainly, but if you decide that you want to use metaphor, spend some extra time on it to make sure it is a well-thought out Metaphor, so that it will be powerful, rather than a weak attempt at using language.


Bringing the song together.


So in the first section of the song, we saw a fictional story about a young boy who has trouble in school and wants a way out of life.

This part is not a story about Steven Wilson. It is either meant to be a Metaphor, or is about someone else.

Now in the Second part, he tells his own story. His story still has the same purpose...that he needs a way out.

As you can see, this can be a very powerful technique if you decide to incorporate it into your own writing style.



How You Can Do it


This section is super short. I'm just going to give you a checklist of the process of thoughts you will need in order to write in this style.

  1. Find a Main Idea or Feeling you want to get across.
  2. Look for different aspects on the idea. If it is a feeling, make a list of all the different situations that could cause someone to feel this way.
  3. Take your list, and choose 1 or 2 of the situations.
  4. For each situation, try and get in the head of the person the situation would be happening. Your lyrics are your own, but for me, I would just write down the types of things they might think, or feelings that they would have.
  5. Optional: Now take your own, real life situation, and try and write down the feelings that you have, any specific situations you might have had.
  6. Spend Extra time on the Chorus to tell the listener what your main idea is.



If you haven't done so already:

(That's A Clue!)




Andrew Muller, Editor

-Andrew Muller, Editor (Tuesday, September 8th, 2009.)



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