One of my favorite bands is AC/DC. I love the raw, shrieking, horrible voice of Brian Johnson, the showmanship and guitar licks of Angus Young, and the thunderous backbeat of Phil Rudd. Fans of the group love their powerful metronomic style and suggestive lyrics. These are songs that can make a packed arena or a strip club come alive. Detractors complain that the lyrics are banal, the musicianship is no better than average, and all the songs sound the same. Regardless of your opinion, there is one important thing that AC/DC has that every writer needs – a powerful signature.
According to Webster, one of the definitions of signature is “something (as a tune, style, or logo) that serves to set apart or identify; also, a characteristic mark.”
The music of AC/DC is easily identifiable by it’s style, sound, and lyrics. I know it’s them almost as soon as Angus plays the first chord. Their signature is strong and unique and their music, love it or hate it, is consistent in its instrumental sound, tempo, and voice.
I strive for the same things in my writing: a powerful and consistent voice, proper tempo, and words that will keep readers nailed to their chairs. I want readers to know that whatever stories I write, my voice will remain the same. You’ll know it’s me from the first paragraph…no unwelcome surprises.
It seems to me the relationship between writing and music is almost symbiotic. Both involve creating, writing, re-writing, and, hopefully, a publishing or recording contract. Writers and musicians are both striving for the same thing – creative and commercial success and recognition. We’re traveling the same path. Authors would do well to bear that in mind while listening to their favorite songs.
All right, that’s my music lesson for the day. If you’re interested in adding a little spice to your Sunday afternoon, let me recommend Whole Lotta Rosie. Whatever you do, play it loud.