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Social Responsibility of Songwritiers and Performers
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 Posted: Thu Jan 10th, 2019 12:47 pm
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Motorist Sketchbook
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Hopefully this should generate some healthy discussion and a bit of soul-searching.

If you hadn't noticed, listeners look up to us. And not just because we happen to be standing on an elevated platform.

Music has the power to reach into the very soul of the listener. With that in mind, we are given access that requires a level of trust and responsibility to our audience.

In my own songwriting I sometimes wonder if the dark subject matter I cover might effect someone negatively. I try to put a positive spin on it and show a way out. But on some of my songs I fail to do a very good job of that.

I know that writing some of these dark themes helps me to process some real feelings. I hope listeners can relate and not feel alone in their own struggles.

Other songwriters may write about subjects that model poor judgment in relationships and behavior.

So, how do we balance creative freedom with a sense of social responsibility? (Assuming there is any concern for social responsibility.) And if not, perhaps we have already been negatively impacted by those who have gone ahead of us. If so, how should we respond?

- Sketch



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 Posted: Thu Jan 10th, 2019 12:54 pm
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Marty Ray Boone
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We should respond by setting our FARTS on FIRE!!!HA, ha, ha;):P



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 Posted: Thu Jan 10th, 2019 09:49 pm
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RainyDayMan
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It's an important question, and one that affects us here directly. This site was set up to be "family friendly" meaning that songs that advocate violence, drugs, suicide or even containing very strong language will be edited or removed. Mike Frisbee, our founder, wanted a site that would be safe and a positive influence for children and teenagers. That doesn't mean every song has to be sweetness and light, but there are limits. As a moderator, I choose to uphold those policies, though Mike is no longer with us. I think it's part of what makes this site better.

As a songwriter, I put myself in the role of "artist" in that I am trying to explore the human condition and convey something about it. Most of my songs do not contain any moral message. I hope to create enjoyment for the listener or have some positive effect upon them, but few contain a "call to action", directly or implied. Most will implicitly reflect my values unconsciously without being a deliberate act to improve society.



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 Posted: Thu Jan 10th, 2019 10:14 pm
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samiamiamsam
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I feel we have a responsibility. I've been told that most of my music is depressing. I don't know how to feel about that. It's weird because I'm generally a happy person.
But hey, I like sad songs. Some of my favorites songs of all time are harbored in despair.

Last edited on Thu Jan 10th, 2019 11:26 pm by samiamiamsam



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 Posted: Thu Jan 10th, 2019 10:30 pm
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Andrea
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As a music lover, there are songs out there that impact me. As a writer, sometimes my songs are simply stories (like watching a movie) and sometimes I hope to touch people more deeply. I think we hope to make people think and/or to feel, but not in a hurtful way.


Sam, I have spent many days listening to depressing music. Somehow it comforts the hurt. When you aren't ready for other company, music is there. It doesn't judge or say "suck it up". It's like a best friend.



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 Posted: Thu Jan 10th, 2019 11:32 pm
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samiamiamsam
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Andrea wrote:
Sam, I have spent many days listening to depressing music. Somehow it comforts the hurt. When you aren't ready for other company, music is there. It doesn't judge or say "suck it up". It's like a best friend.

I totally agree. Music has got me through some tough times. No other form of art/entertainment generates feelings in me like music does. Can you imagine a world without music?

Last edited on Thu Jan 10th, 2019 11:46 pm by samiamiamsam



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 Posted: Thu Jan 10th, 2019 11:38 pm
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Motorist Sketchbook
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This is a good discussion.
Thanks to everyone who has made a positive contribution here.

Here's a question to carry this a bit further.
Do you have your own defined personal boundaries that keep you in check?
Or do you rely on your conscience to guide you in each situation?
Maybe there are some written guidelines that serve you as a touchstone.

I know I skate right up to the line at times. And there is a risk of being
misunderstood. Someone was concerned that my song: Talk Me Down Off This Ledge,
was promoting suicide. Which it was not. And Burn Your Village, was not
promoting village burning. And listeners seemed to get that right away.
Other songs about death were risky offerings. But seemed to
be understood for what they were.

- Sketch

PS --- I just noticed that my SoundCloud page is at 999 plays.
First one over there for a listen will get the 1,000th play.

Last edited on Fri Jan 11th, 2019 12:14 am by Motorist Sketchbook



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 Posted: Fri Jan 11th, 2019 09:05 pm
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M.P. Dudash
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Responsibility? That's a tough one. I would never suggest someone act on something I've written, I just like to put out how I feel. As others have said, when I'm down I pull out the saddest stuff I can find and probably wallow in it for some time, but that's just me. I write from a heartache standpoint almost exclusively. It's what I like. It's what I can relate to. It's a much more raw/true emotion in my opinion. Sure there are a few songs that are upbeat that can put me in a good mood but knowing someone has experienced the same pain I have, to me is what it's all about. I sometimes miss the mark on what I write but I can guarantee, I always, write with the intent that each person reading, and one day hopefully hearing, my songs can feel what I am writing about. I do sometimes overthink stuff where it should be simplified but that's just me. The responsibility, in my opinion, is offering your soul and letting others realize that you are no different than them. I started out listening to rap, went to some metal, oldies and landed in country where i feel the most comfortable. It's what I know, and what I feel conveys the best message to anyone. It's the only genre that personally speaks to me. The listener must have some common sense of their own as well. Hearing NWA sing bad lyrics about cops, drugs etc never made me think like that but then again I was raised when people still had some common sense and morals. Happy songs give a feeling, sad ones, make you feel

Last edited on Fri Jan 11th, 2019 09:59 pm by M.P. Dudash



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 Posted: Sat Jan 12th, 2019 12:10 am
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Motorist Sketchbook
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M.P. Dudash wrote: ... Happy songs give a feeling, sad ones, make you feel
Words to live by.




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 Posted: Mon Jan 14th, 2019 09:58 pm
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RainyDayMan
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I've been thinking that in creating songs, what I am trying to do is create something of beauty.

Both for selfish reasons - I'd like to be someone who creates things of beauty - and in the hope of adding to the beauty and enjoyment of the world in general.

That's not exactly "social responsibility", but that's where this post took me.



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 Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2019 01:26 am
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Motorist Sketchbook
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Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder.

While I have an eye and ear for things beautiful, I also get a
thrill from things raw and abrasive. The scrape of a guitar string,
the howl of feedback, the gritty crunch of an overdrive pedal,
the bloom of a roaring speaker as the sustained chord decays.

And lyrically, shrunken heads hung on a bamboo pole, my
crematory ashes poured from a bridge, 20 pills a day and counting.
The aftermath of a car accident. (3 last year) Pain and redemption.
Bliss and horror. All the things that make my life what it is.

My ethic and social responsibility is to tell the truth about life.
Broken glass and broken hearts. Love and betrayal.

- Sketch



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 Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2019 04:06 am
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M.P. Dudash
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Sketch, 3 car accidents last year? It might be your social responsibility to stop driving.😂 JK, we don’t know the circumstances.



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 Posted: Tue Jan 15th, 2019 11:41 am
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Motorist Sketchbook
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M.P. Dudash wrote: Sketch, 3 car accidents last year? It might be your social responsibility to stop driving.😂 JK, we don’t know the circumstances.
I have asked myself the same question.
The first one was clearly my fault. The second one my son was driving
and the third one I was hit by another motorist.

I am becoming a professional car buyer. lol

You lose money every time, but I have managed to buy newer cars
with every purchase. Started with an '02, went to '04, then '07, then '11.
Mileage was crazy too. 5,800 on the '02, 12,000 on the '04,
49,000 on the '07, and 80,000 on the '11.
All in about the same price range. $5,500-$6,500.

- Sketch



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 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2019 05:48 pm
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M.P. Dudash
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Well the important thing is everyone was ok. Metal can be replaced.



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 Posted: Wed Jan 16th, 2019 11:59 pm
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Motorist Sketchbook
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M.P. Dudash wrote: Well the important thing is everyone was ok. Metal can be replaced.
That's true.
Also funny is that the location of my last accident was a few blocks away from work.
When I pull out to the highway I can still see debris scattered across the median my car
was pushed across on impact. The guy hit me hard enough to deploy the airbag,
toss my glasses in the back seat, and push me across a 12' median sideways.
Amazing that I did not suffer injuries in either of the accidents I was in.
"Angels watchin' over me..."

- Sketch



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 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2019 12:04 am
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Angels and good safety equipment in cars!



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 Posted: Thu Jan 17th, 2019 01:13 am
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RainyDayMan wrote: Angels and good safety equipment in cars!
It's true.
Car airbags are amazing.
They sit silently waiting for impact.
And if impact happens they open before you can hit the dashboard. Bam!

Same for angels. (amazing)

- Sketch



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 Posted: Wed Feb 13th, 2019 11:32 pm
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Kel
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I don't know if it's social responsibility or just the hope that one day I'll write a song that gets cut and heard by, well more than just me, but i try to write so that the singer is in a good light.

They may have done wrong by somebody, but now they are sorry.

They may have done bad things, and now they are paying the consequences and the list goes on.

I've been told many times that no performer is going to sing a song that makes them look like an a-hole (unless it's comedy), so that sort of imposes a restriction on certain storylines that frankly I don't think need to be told.

A major reason people listen to music is to be entertained, so therefore trying to write music that would entertain others means looking for the widest audience possible rather than a narrow niche, so that also guides my writing toward wholesome songs, whether they be happy, sad or somewhere in between.

Cheers,
Kel



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 Posted: Fri Jun 21st, 2019 09:08 pm
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Marty Ray Boone wrote:
We should respond by setting our FARTS on FIRE!!!HA, ha, ha;):P
I had to wipe the tears off my face and stretch out the muscles in my stomach after laughing so hard. Been a long time. Oh my God.



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 Posted: Fri Jun 21st, 2019 09:27 pm
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Motorist Sketchbook wrote:
Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder.

While I have an eye and ear for things beautiful, I also get a
thrill from things raw and abrasive. The scrape of a guitar string,
the howl of feedback, the gritty crunch of an overdrive pedal,
the bloom of a roaring speaker as the sustained chord decays.

And lyrically, shrunken heads hung on a bamboo pole, my
crematory ashes poured from a bridge, 20 pills a day and counting.
The aftermath of a car accident. (3 last year) Pain and redemption.
Bliss and horror. All the things that make my life what it is.

My ethic and social responsibility is to tell the truth about life.
Broken glass and broken hearts. Love and betrayal.

- Sketch

"Broken glass and broken hearts"....love it!!! I think with writing we have the responsibility to NOT be responsible for negative imprints that could cause a mental danger to someone. To be a good person. Everyone has their own taste. I can't stand the "songs" about drugs and guns and how hard life is while the lyrics are laced with the "f" bomb. Turns my stomach. Unfortunately, there's a big crowd that relates to that, which equals money, which equals promotion, and there it is. But an honest heartache? A loss? Being bitter or free? An experience that would comfort others to hear about? You bet. I'm a ballad writer and struggle to get out of that rut, (I'm terrible at the guitar, so with the keyboard I can't really bust out rock) but some aren't heartache, some are about loving someone so dearly, or personal damage. But there's love, relationships, healing, things that people should experience to grow and also to help others with, written in many ways. Intention defines. And about the titles...yea people that see one color instead of the rainbow will read into that. It's like what they do on the internet with news - display headlines that are misleading and directive, knowing many don't read the articles. There's actually a psychological method of that sort, that I read about, and it's done for that particular purpose. And music is a HUUUGE influence. You can't filter understanding to the world, there's too many nuts out there anyway. Do what's right, and I think that's the bottom line. Just my opinion! Have a wonderful day!! :)



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