Sunday, October 30, 2016
Can’t Stop the Feeling
Why would ripping a song apart help our writing? Most songs don’t have time for much of an arc, if any. They do have time for pathos or an emotion we can identify with. Better songs have a clear meaning as veneer, with undercurrents to satisfy the most intellectual listener. A writer of prose can accomplish this through showing mixed with dialogue and a pinch of dissonance.
There are many great examples of songs that just get to the listeners at a gut level, and they hardly know why. They just know they love the song. One such song, poorly named, Sukiyaki, was a huge hit long ago. It’s lyrics and lyrical quality are matched by the vocalist’s efforts. “Let’s look up as we walk, so that the tears don’t spill.”
Justin Timberlake’s, Can’t Stop the Feeling is more complex but just as elemental. In the song, he sings that his dance partner knows what he’s going through because she is feeling it too. Yet he is not 100% certain she understands what is happening to them so he asks her to break it down. It need not be a dance or a trip to the supermarket. It's everyman anywhere. They’re in love, they know it and they can’t stop their feelings. Why would they want to? Well, herein lies the intrigue. Is it a case of forbidden love? Or is their love too soon for a commitment? Or is it just human nature? We the listener decide how to interpret it. One thing many know of this hit. They can’t stop loving this song. The same applies to our writing, right?
Layer your writing. If you think Justin doesn't realize he's going deep, it's possible. He may be an unconscious competent. That's creative talent, well practiced.
Justin Timberlake, Can't Stop the Feeling, 2016