The Craft of storytelling through songwriting

There are tons of songs that can help you learn the art of story. Nowadays the radio is filled with songs that all talk about how much the artists love their boo. Or how good their significant other looks in jeans. Or some other ill fated assault on our intelligence.

But some songs are the result of excellent story telling woven into a tapestry of sound. Check out these songs and let them help shape how you tell a story.

“A Boy Named Sue” – Johnny Cash

The Man in Black always has a way with words. This Shel Silverstein (yes, it’s the guy you’re thinking of) is a geat work of fiction. Let yourself listen to it as many times as you would like.

“The Lighthouse Tale” – Nickel Creek

I dare you not to cry.

“Please Take Me Home” – Blink 182

Ah. Young love lost. And also friendship. And pop punk. Quite possibly the greatest genre of music ever invented. Maybe not. But still maybe.

“Walls” – Emery

A haunting tale of someone who has completely closed themselves off because of scorn from a lover. And an awesome breakdown. The last line tells it all: “These walls…this place…means everything to me.”

“The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty” – Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard

Who doesn’t love tales of Mexican banditos?!


Got any more? There are plenty. Go find your favorite and see what you can learn.

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What kind of music do people in space listen to?

So we’ve all seen those episodes of Star Trek TOS when Spock is playing that ridiculous instrument right?

By the way, RIP Leonard Nimoy. That guy was awesome. I think my tweet on the day of his death summed up how I took it:

But back to my question: you’ve seen it right? It’s weird. And totally just 60’s music ‘played’ on a weird instrument. There’s even one episode with a whole band of hippies. Look it up.

And I’m sure it was a product of the era that particular Sci Fi was made. Huxley has his ‘Malthusian Blues’, not in a space ship but in a weird future. Riker just plays his trombone. I’ve been told that some of our US Navy ships host bands made of their sailors. Do they do the same thing on starships? And do they have access to current music, or are they stuck with whatever they take with them?

Where’s my Lightsaber?

Why don’t we have lightsabers yet? Seems like almost 40 years (WHOA) is enough time to figure out something from a sci fi medium. I mean we had those flip phones int he 90’s after Star Trek. This is a question that bugs a lot of people, and I think I will let Dr. Michio Kaku give his explanation and timetable for his own design…

Fascinating stuff. I still think there’s room to improve though…

Why are most aliens humanoid?

This week will see a series of short posts that ask a question and give a short, simplified answer. Like the blog series baseball joe at fox sports, too short for a full post yet too long for the twitter…

Why are most aliens humanoid?

In a lot of mediums, aliens are mostly humanoid. (see: Star Trek, Star Wars, Alien, Predator, The Marvel Universe, etc. etc.)

Why is this?

I simply think it’s because we can’t imagine anything else. And don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of stories with wildly different aliens, including some of the ones I mentioned above.

But it’s also this:

It’s hard to imagine anything else and make it work in a story. Even the some of the weirdest aliens are still more or less humanoid.

So what can we do to fix it?