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My Favorite Songwriters

My Favorite Songwriters

Date: May 01 2001


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

As you all know, I love music. But there’s something I love even more than music, and that’s good songwriting. An artist who can both write and perform his or her own songs is amazing to me. I am very jealous of that kind of talent.


1. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.

There are thousands of great songwriters in the world. However, not all of them can sing. For example, many of the songs you hear on the radio were not written by the artists performing them. Britney Spears doesn’t write any of her own songs, and neither do groups like NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys.
I like singer-songwriters because I feel like I can believe what they’re singing. If a singer is singing a sad song, she was probably feeling sad when she wrote it. If she was happy, she probably wrote happy songs. I like being able to connect with the artist’s emotions.
OK. Without further ado, here are my four favorite singer-songwriters, and the best album they’ve recorded£º
Elliot Smith / Figure 8
On Figure 8, the majority of Elliot’s songs have the same theme£ºGirls! Smith was definitely in love when he was writing the songs for this album, and it shows. Smith sings with gorgeous, soft vocals and acoustic guitar, making his songs sound almost like lullabies.
Fiona Apple / Tidal
Fiona was only 17 when she wrote most of these songs, yet she sings and plays the piano like a much older performer. She uses her husky voice to express the pain and suffering she’s experienced in a variety of different situations.
In one of my favorite songs, entitled “Criminal,” she sings£º
I’ve been a bad, bad girl
I’ve been careless with a delicate man
And it’s a sad world
When a girl will break a boy
Just because she can
Although Fiona has been hurt many times in her life, she also realizes that she is capable of hurting others. She feels guilty about the pain she has caused in someone else’s life.
Aimee Mann / Magnolia Movie Sountrack
Aimee Mann’s songs inspired the script for the movie Magnolia, which is one of my favorite movies of all time. Her lyrics are often very simple, yet Aimee has the wonderful ability to express emotion through slight changes in her voice. Check out these lyrics to “One£º”
one, is the loneliest number
one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do
one is the loneliest number,
much worse than two
Although the idea of the song is not complicated, when you hear Aimee sing it, you’ll realize that there is a lot of emotion contained in those simple words.
Bob Dylan / Blood On the Tracks
Possibly the greatest songwriter in history, Bob Dylan is known for his poignant, timeless and often challenging lyrics. Blood on the Tracks is just one of many albums I could have listed here. If you’re not already familiar with Bob Dylan, I strongly urge you to check out his music.


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It takes a lot of skill to write great songs, and all of these artists have that skill. I hope you can find the time to listen to some of their music.
Do you know any great songwriters? Have you ever tried to write a song? Come to the MUSIC MIX message board and let us know!
I’ll be back next week with more great music!
- Migs


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