"What's this Song About?"..thoughts on ambiguity in lyrics


Ambiguity....Some see it as lazy, others see it as genius. I remember the days of reading through the CD jacket of Nirvana's "Nevermind" wondering what the hell he was talking about. Ambiguous lyrics are hotly debated among both songwriters and fans alike. I thought I would take a moment and share my own opinions on the matter....being the man who writes most of our song lyrics.

I suspect some artists use ambiguity as a form of laziness. If you can't create something amazing, fake it and claim your work is ambiguous so your fans carry you across the finish line. A painter may randomly sling paint from across the room in hopes that an art critic will see the genius in his perfect use of color and composition. Likewise, a songwriter may patch together nonsensical words and ideas with the same hopes that the beholder will see them as genius. Be it genius or laziness, I believe both sides have solid arguments.

Let's take our 4th song "Sand" as an example. Sand seems to have struck a tone with listeners. It seems to resonate. We have been told on numerous occasions that they "feel" the emotion that we are trying to convey in that song. But it often leads to the question "What is sand about"

My answer...."What do YOU think it's about?"

Am I being an ass? Am I being lazy? Am a being a pretentious douche by holding back the information?

I like to think none of the above.

I seldom like writing about events and circumstances. If I wrote Sand about MY journey, MY struggles, MY frustrations...then they are just that..Mine. Sand is about frustration. It is about being in a seemingly impossible situation. It is about being in a pattern that appears to have no resolution. However...it is about refusing to stop fighting. It is about hoping that a solution will present itself even if we can't see it at the moment. Most importantly, it is about the belief that quitting isn't an option. Spiraling isn't an option. Giving up isn't an option. So knowing that quitting isn't an option, we appear to be in a frustrating cycle with no apparent conclusion.

Like most of what I write, Sand is about a feeling, not an event. My personal circumstances don't make Sand any more or less clear to the listener. More importantly, had I shared my personal circumstances, Sand is now MY song. It is my hope and intention that I paint a picture to 90% clarity then step back. It is my hope that the listener will finish it. That just maybe, you the listener will add the final details that make Sand YOUR story.

As our album "Alter Ego" releases August 5th, we would love to hear from you, the listeners. We would love to hear which songs most resonate with you and why. It is my greatest honor as a vocalist and lyricist that our fans have taken our music into their own hearts and lives.

Cheers to this journey that lies before us all!