In his song “Crazy As a Loon” John Prine sets each verse begins in a different location. The narrative of the song changes with each new location the verses are set in. From Hollywood, to Nashville, New York City, and the Canadian wilderness, each location has an effect on the song’s narrative. For example:
"So, I gathered up my savvy
bought myself a business suit
I headed up to New York City
where a man can make some loot.
I got hired Monday morning,
downsized that afternoon. "
Notice how John Prine uses New York City and associations with NYC—business suit, money, corporate culture (hired, downsizing, etc.)—to tell a story. What images are related to a place? Why is it significant that when he sings about Hollywood that he sings about “waitin’ for a phone call / at the wrong end of a broom”? Why is he “hangin’ at every honky tonkin’ bar” during the verse about Nashville?
Write a song where each verse is set in a different place. How does each location change the narrative? You may want to consider what is unique about each place? How will the things in each place change your characters?
The Sound Connector is an online magazine for songwriters. We feature songwriting challenges, monthly interviews, and the opportunity to discover new songwriters. We are interested in all things related to the craft of songwriting.
Do you want to be featured on The Sound Connector? Send us your songs!