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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Balancing Fear And Love

Why isn't there even a small percentage of as many songs about fear as there are songs about love? Aside from love, what other emotion do we human beings share as much as fear?

I know why I avoid fear as a topic for my own songs. I'm afraid. How will listeners respond? And yet - despite not being particularly timid or fearful - it's not at all difficult to think of fears I share with many people. Wouldn't it be logical to turn those commonalities into lyrics? But fear gets in my way.

It's possible this odd reflection is connected to seeing "A Delicate Balance" a while back. For some reason, my processing of Edward Albee's penetrating dialogue - which has not stopped since seeing the play - is today tangled up with the balance of fear and love in song. So many gifted lyricists have been such troubled human beings. How did they avoid writing about fear?


  1. Pat, This post has been on my mind. I keep coming back to it. Such as now, at 3:50 a.m.

    I think we don't write about fear to nearly the same extent as love because love is our natural heightened state. It invigorates, energizes, and simultaneously soothes us. It baffles and disarms. It can be elusive and fleeting. We don't understand it, and we tend to mess it up. But we crave it, always, for ourselves and others. It is, essentially and biologically, what we live for.

    Fear, on the other hand, though just as powerful an emotion, and as common and integral to our lives, is not pleasant. We play chicken with it (as in the popularity of horror movies), but generally we don't want it in our lives. It's not our natural, healthy state of being.

    Music is expression of life and life's energy. Songwriting puts music and words to the things that move us. That would be most often love. We deal with fear in songs too - there are certainly some whole songs about it, though rare. More often, there are references to fear or fearful situations. Because, as in life, we seek to resolve the fear. Often into love, I suppose. Because we wouldn't want to stay in a state of fear. But we would want to always have love. So, in our writing, as in life, fear is the dissonance, and love is the resolve. I think that is the simple answer to your question.

    Now that I've thought that through for an hour, I hope to return soon to sleep. Good topic though!

    1. Jimmy; As usual, a thoughtful comment; thanks. Especially like the "...fear is the dissonance, love is the resolve." - nicely put.