the state of things
Break-Up Songs for The Solo Female Artist
by Douglas Lindsay - 15:19 on 18 January 2013
The UK Songwriting Contest 2012 came in the autumn, the results announced just before Christmas. I've entered it a couple of times before, had the odd decent marking for the odd decent song or two, but never been a finalist or anything like that. In an attempt to have some sort of self-belief, I liked to think that my songs were pretty good, but were just a bit too quirky or individualistic to make the breakthrough in a national, popular contest. The last time I checked, virtually every winning song was about love, blah blah blah, romance blah blah blah, why did you hurt me wah wah wah. And here was me entering my anti-Blair polemic SONG TO THE DEPARTED and the like.
Some time last year, when I was between crime novels - actually, I'm still between crime novels, and may remain that way - I decided a change of scene was needed and so took a few weeks to write some songs. And this time I thought I'd write Break-Up Songs For The Solo Female Artist.
I had no idea what I was going to do with them. Still don't. I don't know any female artists to give them to, and the thought of starting again at the bottom of a profession and trying to work my way up from the shit-pile is even more soul destroying than plugging away from my position marginally above the shit-pile at the bottom of the crime writing ladder.
So I wrote my songs, played one or two of them to people and some of those people said you ought to do something with them - but of course, they were unlikely to say, Holy Shit! That's terrible! Kill yourself rather than make that public! - and I didn't. Then the Songwriting Contest kicked off again, so I entered four of my Break-Up Songs For The Solo Female Artist.
I thought they'd be perfect for the competition. They weren't. Didn't even do as well as THE QUARTERBACK SONG had done previously.
There was one of my Break-Up Songs For The Solo Female Artist on which I was particularly keen. Thought I was in with a shout. It's called HALL OF FAME. (I wrote it before The Script released their Hall of Fame.) Lyrically it has a spunky I Will Survive type vibe, it's no whiny-ass look-at-me-I'm-miserable-without-you paen to lost love. I liked it. Still do.
I put the songs on Soundcloud, didn't tell anyone they were there apart from the competition chaps, and sat back and waited. The other three received a couple of listens and then tanked. Hall of Fame, however, was listened to around twenty times in the ensuing weeks. I sat there genuinely believing that all sorts of judges at the comp. must be listening to it and that within a few weeks I was going to be hanging out in recording studios all around the world, with Solo Female Artists fighting each other for my Break-Up Songs specifically written for them. Not only that, but there'd be video of the Female Artists fighting each other.
It turned out that Hall of Fame didn't do any better than any of my other songs, so whoever was listening to it, it wasn't the judges. And it wasn't Female Artists. Maybe it was folk who stumbled across it thinking they were going to get Will.I.Am. Ye-ah. Maybe it was a higher power taking the piss.
And so my songwriting enthusiasm has been crushed. It lies in ruins, trampled beneath the cataclysm of preposterous expectation.
Here's the song. It's not a great version. It is after all a Break-Up Song For The Solo Female Artist, and I ain't no Female Artist. And there's no Will.I.Am either.
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