Just to play Devil’s Advocate…
I was listening to Phil Schaap’s radio jazz program “Bird Flight,” yesterday morning, and he had David Frishberg (pianist and composer of the astonishing “Van Lingle Mungo”) as a guest.
Frishberg had some interesting things to say about composing song lyrics…he’s only able to do strightforward stuff, but he admires lyricists who can create a “mood” through meaningless words. He cited a pair of classic jazz/pop standards:
“Star Dust,” words by Mitchell Parish (1929):
Sometimes I wonder why I spend the lonely night
Dreaming of a song?
The melody haunts my reverie,
And I am once again with you.
When our love was new, and each kiss an inspiration.
But that was long ago: now my consolation
is in the stardust of a song.
Beside a garden wall, when stars are bright,
You are in my arms.
The nightengale tells his fairy tale
Of paradise where roses grew.
Tho’ I dream in vain, in my heart it will remain:
My stardust melody, the memory of love’s refrain.
And “The Shadow of Your Smile,” words by Paul Francis Webster (1965):
The shadow of your smile when you are gone
Will color all my dreams and light the dawn.
Look into my eyes, my love, and see
All the lovely things you are to me.
Our wistful little star was far too high,
A teardrop kissed your lips, and so did I.
Now when I remember spring
All the joy that love can bring
I will be remembering
The shadow of your smile.
Now…“Star Dust” is pretty damn awful, but “Shadow”…yow! Sounds like something scribbled in the notebook margin by a 13-year-old schoolgirl.
Nonetheless, a couple of great songs, right?