About song lyrics
For many people, the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to word art is song lyrics. Combining music, rhythm and writing, that's what art is. I am an active music enthusiast, but not a text-oriented listener. A-wop-bop-a-loom-bop a-lop-bam-boom is as significant a lyric to me as something is happening here but you don't know what it is: I can very conscientiously listen to even Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen just as music. Sensing the atmosphere. That's why I decided to ask someone who writes them about song lyrics. I ended up interviewing The Outer Sonics singer and songwriter Nina Hiironniemi.
Nina Hiironniemi has previously sung in the band Hiidensointi, which combined folk music influences with prog and harsh riff rock. His current orchestra The Outer Sonics performs ambitious and beautiful progressive pop and rock music, its third album Dance a little light will appear shortly.
"I haven't studied music for a day, I've learned the hard way," says Hiironniemi. "I joined my first band at the beginning of the 2000s, in the midst of the crisis of my thirties. I thought that if I don't try now, I'll become a grumpy old battery."
"I wrote my first lyrics back in 1998, when my brother wanted to make a song with me. It was Alanis Morrisette's golden age, and I did a shockingly long litany of lyrics, I think Morrisette Not the doctor in the style of the song. My brother laughed. I was a little traumatized by it, but I'm still on good terms with him."
Hiironniemi started writing texts in Finnish in 2010 at Hiidensoina.
"The accompanying words of the band's drummer, my husband Mika Hiironniemi, were that it's not a lässynlässy girl loves a boy style, but a mystical Kalevala mood. I shed sweat and tears to give birth to lyrics worthy of music. Because of the instructions I received from my husband, I never presented anything unfinished to the band. Nowadays, I'm not afraid to show unfinished texts, even though it's sometimes embarrassing. However, I know that the text will take shape from it."
"I hadn't even written poems before, I went to work cold. I still can't write songs on a desk drawer. I've tried, but almost none of them remain in the finished song. The meaning of the texts is great for me, but not decisive. The songs are a whole, whether they are your own or others."
As an example of Hiidensinn's texts, Hiironniemi takes the song Ode:
Time to stop, shut up.
It's time to forget and let it be.
Whenever the sun shines like fire in my soul,
I'm full and chubby.
Drink to me like drink to the thirsty,
I suck in your warmth and I want more.
Grab me like the wind on a sail and carry a song to the waves.
Would I feel the lines of my body in the warmth of the air,
will my sentences fall apart, will my songs disappear without you.
"At that time I was reading poems, Eino Leino, Saima Harmaja, Uuno Kaila and Kalevala. I tried to absorb influences, to get a feel for the texts of that time. During Hiidensein, I was able to develop myself and my world of thought. I'm an everyday guy, but I can't make songs about going to the store to buy milk and cigarettes. I admire people who make songs about everyday things, but it doesn't come naturally to me, at least not yet."
"Sometimes the shaping of the text depends on the little things. When I was stuck on the new album Stellars-with the text of the song, I studied the texts of Hiidensinning and I waited from the line could I feel the lines of my body in the warmth of the air inspired, I wrote a line you Soothe and draw lines in me. I told my husband that I had finally written a love song. I wrote Stellars thinking of an old man remembering his love: the loved one may no longer be there, but the connection still exists."
"Even though writing everyday texts is not natural to me, I notice our third album Dance a little Light the lyrics deal with ordinary life. The English language brings its own limitations, it was horrible to find out that my language skills are not as good as I thought. I got relief from momentary anxiety attacks when I first wrote the text in Finnish and translated it with a translation machine. It made it easier to continue working."
"Both in Hiidensøina and today in The Outer Sonics, the text usually gets its inspiration from a composition developed by guitarist Ari Niemi or myself. I need a song to write, I let the melody speak and the subconscious floods. Ari can have a piece of text, a verse or a chorus ready. I then edit and add them, make the text look like me. Most of our texts are made by me. We don't jealously hold on to our own doings, we go by the song's terms. I have once said to Ari that 'do something to this song of mine, edit it'. If he says he doesn't need to, I yell at him to play a really hot solo. And it rings!”
When opening the creation of the texts, Hiironniemi takes the songs as examples Fear: forget everything and run, Winter Breeze ja Industry of Fools.
"Fear: forget everything and run in the lyrics I noticed similarities with the text of Steve Hogarth of Marillion, whom I admire FEAR. Our own song, however, deals with the human mind, its fluctuations, longing. How you can blame your bad luck on your own choices, how it feels when the walls come crashing down on you. Do you run away or face your problems. My own life is smooth, without big dramas, there is no personal text about it. The text comes from the subconscious, from childhood experiences, from what is happening around. From what I read and see. Many of my texts are based on real life, but I don't want to open them up any further. A good text gives room for many interpretations, and it's good to leave things open."
"Winter Breeze - while writing the song, I got the idea from Sara Hildén's art book. As I remember, the introductory text of some nice picture read Greywhite sky. That's where it started."
"In those texts where I have started to deal with a certain topic, it often happens that I edit the text so that it does not care about politics, for example. Industry of Fools there is one such. I couldn't understand the result of the last US presidential election and I wrote sacrifice all if you can, consequences no longer exist. I think that is the current core of US politics. Everything is for sale, you are not held accountable no matter what you say and other crazy people turn a blind eye. In the song, I yearn back to a pure and innocent time. You shouldn't respond to anger and stupidity with the same measure, but with joy, and by doing better yourself."
This is how the lyricist himself opened up his way of writing song lyrics. I'm looking forward to The Outer Sonics' new album, the previous two have been really great stuff. Although I said at the beginning that I am not a text-oriented listener, it may be that I will return to this topic of lyrics later with my personal view.
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