How much do you, any of you, expect truthfulness in songwriting? I’m wondering specifically about songs that purport (or maybe just seem) to be autobiographical. Because I’ll tell you that for my part, while the emotional place they come from is sincere, a song of mine will very seldom resemble the relationship (assuming we’re talking about a love song, because let’s face it, they’re all love songs) that inspired it. Which I think is a probably a good thing. Some of it is artistic license in crafting a more entertaining drama. But more often I suspect it has something to do with actually giving myself emotional distance from the real life events. As Fancy Dan put so well in his anthem “Sing To Survive”, “Some songs will pass judgments / and yell things that you never say”. Of my own songs, I’m thinking specifically of “World’s Oldest Profession” and “This Heart Is Not A Home”, both very angry songs written in the wake of difficult breakups. But while I draw on a real, mostly remembered, feeling of hurt for each, I don’t feel so angry towards the people whom the songs address, and I don’t think I ever did. It’s like the song is a vessel into which I pour the ugliest thoughts and feelings that course through me, so that I’m no longer carrying them around inside of me.
On the other hand, “Chicken Bone” is a completely factual account with no fabrications or embellishments whatsoever.