|Hi A.T.B: It'sWhatWeDo
I am reviewing "Snow Drifts" for "Gang's Monthly Review Board /TEMP CLOSED" Please understand that these are my own opinions, comments and suggestions and you should by no means feel compelled to accept, adopt, or embrace them. Any changes that you make to your work should be due to the careful considerations of yourself, the writer.
I get where this song is coming from: what it's about, and how it wants to make me feel. That is the challenge for lyricists: finding a moment to write about that can carry through to the listener easily and carry good emotional strength; that allows for catharsis. Generally, songs are either stories, or evocations, and this is the latter. Anyone that has ever curled up by a fire with their baby when it's cold outside, it right there with you.
Some Things to Ponder
I appreciate that this is a song, so it is meant to work with music, and that presents certain challenges for the writer. However, explaining music beyond stating genre, verse, chorus, bridge and possible basic tempo reference, is pointless--the reader of these lyrics cannot hear what is in your head. Trust me on this one, I too am a songwriter, and no one that I have handed a sheet of lyrics to has ever heard the song in my head, no matter how hard I tried to explain it in writing. There are only a few possible solutions for this: I suggest a known song with a familiar structure, melody, or rhythm; pull out my trusty guitar and play it for them so they can hear it, or have lyrics that are so perfectly structured that the melody is impossible to miss (this almost never happens, even with great songs). So when presenting lyrics, keep it to the poetry, and label the song sections, but no more ("layered build" or "soaring chorus break" could mean anything to any one).
You've made a couple of typographical choices that I do not understand: the introduction is italicized, and the whole set of lyrics is centered. The first is unnecessary, the second actually makes it harder both for yourself and the reader to take stock of the flow of the lines; their measure, beats rhythms. These presentation techniques are distracting.
The intro is pretty clear to me, both in lyrical structure and image. I picture each line is two measures with a monosyllabic word held for each measure. My only question surrounds "bare streets." This image does not make sense with a snowy night (yes, you may mean bare of people, but "bare" is not specific in this case and the ambiguity leaves you open to misinterpretation).
The rest of my suggestions will necessarily have to be hit and miss (as I don't know the music), but I feel a lot of extra words in the lines and wonder if you could leave more space for held notes, and the music.
In your first verse:
I know December seemed
Like the year would never end.
And January's moving fast, but the -
Snow's coming back again...
I think the "I know," "and," and the "but the" are not needed. I think there is a better word choice for what December is doing than "seemed" that would transition more effectively into the next line--something like "held on."
The chorus should have a solid hook. My feeling about good hooks is that the best ones don't start with "and." This is because the chorus should be a stand alone section of song that encompasses the theme--not a tacked on piece that needs the verse to give it meaning. The narrator sounds rather like he's pleading with the "maybe we should" and "we could" constructions. Make the narrator a little stronger. Also identify the "bad weather," it's is a stronger lyric for being specific:
It's a long night tonight,
Why not stay awake?
Until the [blizzard] breaks
I think you should shorten up these lines (this could then reflect back on the intro two measure bit):
Or you'll hold me -
In the moonlight -
By the window -
Or the fireside -
The next stanza is a bit confusing--not in message, but in the order of it, and when it is delivered in the song. This is the conclusion (you even reprise it at the end), but it lands smack in the middle of the song, so I'm thinking it should just happen at the close. It starts with another of those pesky unnecessary "Ands," (this may be a bit of a writer's tic that you should watch for), and again uses that optional language ("we can"). You need it to be certain to set up the next lines, so "will" is better than "can." Since the remembering is triggered by the weather, your last lines feel backwards. Perhaps something like this will preserve your title phrase while delivering the idea with strength:
Tomorrow when the sun comes out
We will forget all about it.
Until the wind blows,
And the snow drifts
Remind us once again.
As I said, I think the above should close the song, the two verses that follow should come sooner. Perhaps verse one ("December seemed") and two ("somewhere the sun") should come one after the other prior to hitting the chorus and bridge? There looks to be a problem with verse two's rhyme scheme as "warm" and "shore" are a stretch. Meter may be an issue in lines two and four of verse too as well, as they seem a bit short compared to the same lines in verse one.
Verse three would actually be a nice natural transition following the "hold me/in the moonlight" bridge section as it relates to being a "constancy... everything/in the space between your hands." So you go from holding to the broadened significance of this coming together--very nice.
This is a solid effort, that really does have all the right bits (and bits that work together nicely). However, right now, they are cluttered with some needless words, and feel out of order. Some of this may be because I haven't heard the music (at least in terms of meter), but the ordering will still feel wrong even if all those words are needed.
I see a lot of potential with this song--but only some rewriting and tinkering will max it out.
Have fun with it--that's where the all the pleasure in songwriting is.
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