Concrete Detail

Erika Hayes, Author – Write like a reader, read like a writer and edit like a beast!


I love music.  Like stupid love music.  When people ask me my favorite music I say “yes”.  I really can learn to love any genera of music.  My son loved when I picked him up from school because many times, I would let him play his music. When Dad was in the car it was a “no-go”.  He listens to a very specific kind of music and if you know who, Fit for an Autopsy, Vanna, (the now retired) Expire, Stick to your Guns and Gideon are then you know some of his favorite bands.  I learned to appreciate the sound.

For this EIO – I challenge you to listen to a song you know, (Don’t worry, you don’t need to choose one of the above bands) and try and isolate what you love about the sound of this music.

I am choosing a song that when I heard it the first time, I was waiting in my car for my daughter to come out of Subway.  I cranked up the volume and when it was over, I went to Google music and purchased it.  That very moment. I didn’t care what it cost, I loved the song.  It’s one of my current favorite songs.  Here is a link to the YouTube version. The song is Bulletproof by Citizen Way

Here were my observations of the sounds that I loved in this song.

Written while Bulletproof was playing on a loop (June 2018)

A hand runs down a guitar string and that scratchy sound escapes.  That sound tells me this song is going to be fun.  Soon after the beat is picked up by an electric sounding clap.  I am sure it is from a drum machine and it confirms my initial thought, upbeat sounds there is a small crescendo than the vocals come in, the beat is quick and the sound staccato.  It sounds like a party has started.  The beat is catchy the underlying beat steady.  Two minutes in the beat doubles as the message of the song is driven home.  It is almost comforting.  Then it comes to another drop and the song explodes into joyous tempo and I can almost picture a party.  I love the happy beat and the message.  I love the change in tempo for this song, the flow builds then drives home the lyrics.  It is a fun song that makes me want to dance every time I hear it. 

How does this help a writer?  Well, this was a free write. I was trying to focus on the sound and not the lyrics.  I can’t completely separate them because, well, that is how music works.  What it does do is it allowed me to focus as I was attempting to isolate the sounds.  This song was difficult for me to find the name of the sounds, that tells me I need to try and do better in my observations of sound.

Isolation of details is pretty important to writers.  I learned one thing for sure, I need to do more of this kind of exercise!

Feel free to share your favorite songs and I will try and listen to them!



One thought on “EIO – Let’s hear it for the…

  1. madlylynsey says:

    What an interesting and helpful exercise, thanks for sharing! Bonus points for Citizen Way 😀

    I’m not sure I could concentrate with songs I love playing in the background while I write – I’d be too tempted to get distracted and start singing along. I tend to keep a lot of Vitamin String Quartet playing during my work sessions 🙂 I’ll have to give your idea a try tonight.

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