September 10, 2015

This is a post for the folks who think song lyrics can be a little, you know, interesting. And maybe you've been a beta or had a beta and thought to yourself "huh, what if they bash misinterpret destroy the spirit of beta songs?" If that sounds like you, read on!

I work at a radio station, so I listen to a lot of radio. Every day. Constantly. Some songs stick out, either because they play all the time oh my gosh or because they really help me get through those last few minutes before it's time to leave for the weekend. Other than that, some songs make me tilt my head and wonder exactly what I'm hearing. I sometimes feel there was a step that someone missed in the "huh?" department at the music studios, and I know for a fact that musicians should have betas. Just saying.

In honor of those books I have beta-ed and those folks who've been betas for me (and have remarkably similar styles to me, weird), I have decided to evaluate a popular song as a fiction beta would. Of course, the song had to be Locked Away, by R. City (with Adam Levine). The lyrics were obtained from MetroLyrics, with some help from the Youtubes.

If I got locked away
And we lost it all today
Tell me honestly, would you still love me the same
  •  I get that you want to start at the action, drag the reader in, but we don't have a lot of sympathy or even know you yet, so we aren't rooting for your happy ending despite the odds - I mean, it just sounds like you're a selfish criminal, ya know?
If I showed you my flaws
If I couldn't be strong
Tell me honestly, would you still love me the same? 
  • Are you showing the flaws from behind bars? Is this separate from your criminal behavior?
Right about now
If I judge for life, man, would you stay by my side? 
  • Life? What have you done???
Or is you gonna say goodbye?
  • I should think so!
Can you tell me right now?
If I couldn't buy you the fancy things in life
Shawty, would it be alright? 
  • Being poor does not equal being a felon
Come on show me that you know

If I got locked away
And we lost it all today
Tell me honestly, would you still love me the same
If I showed you my flaws
If I couldn't be strong
Tell me honestly, would you still love me the same?

(skiddly down down down dang)
  •  We all love beautiful prose, but we have to ask ourselves: "Does it drive the plot forward?"

Now tell me would you really ride for me?
Baby tell me would you die for me? 
  • Um... if you've killed people, for example, I gotta wonder if you're only speaking figuratively.
Would you spend your whole life with me? 
  • In jail?
Would you be there to always hold me down? 
  • That's what restraints are for. Straight jacket?
Tell me would you really cry for me?
Baby don't lie to me 
  • Sounds like you're the one with issues. Let's not go pointing fingers.
If I didn't have anything
I wanna know would you stick around?

If I got locked away
And we lost it all today
Tell me honestly, would you still love me the same
If I showed you my flaws
If I couldn't be strong
Tell me honestly, would you still love me the same? 


Lots of issues, just like most new WIPs (you have to admit it). At the same time, lots of authors get off the hook with great writing - grants forgiveness for even the most convoluted of plots. So, since this song is otherwise my absolute favorite on the air right now, I've got to say the music makes up for the above noted "flaws." Music is definitely a different animal, but fun to dissect all the same.

PS: I'm sure the lyrics have meaning to the artists. Betas, however, are an audience and read books based on a different perspective, so I made sure to not go searching for the artist's motivations or thoughts on this before posting. Now, however, I can do so and have a lot of "aha" moments, I'm sure.