“Simple or Impossible”: PW On Songwriting

Paul wrote a piece on songwriting for The New York Time Opinion section, entitled “Simple or Impossible”:

Quick rules of thumb:

-Not from the hippocampus, not gonna fly on campus.
-Aim for the audience’s pockets and you’ll miss their hearts by a mile.
-Even Beethoven plagiarized Handel.

My own creed is “It’s simple or impossible.” To date I’ve written more than 1,000 impossibles. Note that I didn’t say “impossibilities” — incorrect grammar is highly useful. I would never have written a song called “Dis-satisfied.

Allen Ginsberg said, “first thought, best thought.” This has helped innumerable times when my mind is spinning out of control with ideas.

As a bonus, they’ve included Paul’s hand-written lyrics for “Crackle & Drag”.

Crackle & Drag lyrics


The author’s handwritten lyrics for “Crackle & Drag,” from 2003’s “Come Feel Me Tremble,” suggest that he in fact does go in for conventional rhymes sometimes (“willow/pillow”). Credit Courtesy of Paul Westerberg


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.