16 November, 2005

In tune

Some of the greatest songs ever written have been about the business of songwriting itself. This is arguably because it's the sort of challenge that seems to spur songwriters to delve that bit deeper and work that bit harder to fashion something they hope will be of universal class and immediate understanding.

But it's also undoubtedly because most vocations in the world cannot themselves be the source of other people's art and entertainment. I was once fortunate enough to get a chance at it by way of setting to music a batch of lyrics penned by my best friend at school - more of which another time. Even though I guess you could call me a professionally trained musician, I sense my days of performing - in any public capacity - are long gone. Yet I'm still struck and quite often moved by those instances where the very practice of creating great music has also inspired the creation of great music.

I know song lyrics aren't really meant to be reproduced in any other form than in song - if they were intended to be read off a bit of paper or on a computer screen they'd be poems - but when you find yourself spending the day humming phrases and singing lines from such an expertly constructed, beautifully articulate yet effortlessly melodic one as this, it's worth breaking the rules:

'Song For The Asking', by Paul Simon

This is my song for the asking
Ask me and I will play
So sweetly I'll make you smile

This is my tune for the taking
Take it, don't turn away
I've been waiting here, all my life

Thinking it over I've been sad
Thinking it over I'd be more than glad
To change my ways for the asking
Ask me and I will play
All the love that I hold inside.


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