An Open Letter to All Musicians Who Think It's Cool to have Talking in the Middle of Their Songs

Dear Musicians Who Think it is Cool to have Talking in the Middle of Your Songs,

Why? Why must you insist on this? Do you think it enhances your song? Do you have some sort of amazing message that you need to tell us? Well, here's news for you--it only makes your song freaking creepy.

I've never been a fan of talking in songs, In fact, I've always despised it. I think the Moody Blues Song "Knights in White Satin" is beautiful and lovely...until they start with the "breathe deep, the gathering gloom" crap. It just terrified me as a kid, and as an adult, I always try to change the channel before it gets to that part.  And don't get me started on "Is That All There Is?" the Peggy Lee classic. Ugh! It sends shivers down my spine. The one I am hearing a lot of these days is the Michele Williams version of the Cloud Nothings song "Paradise." In the context of a video, ok sure, have some scenework. But don't play the talky version on the radio.

I think my hatred of talking in songs stems back to being a kid and hearing National Lampoon's "Deteriorata." I know it is a hilarious parody of the "Desiderata," but I think the combo of spoken word and song chorus and such a negative message really imprinted my brain with fear. My heart races whenever I hear even a split second of that song.

And now, downtown, they have these "poetry on the street" things that light up on the sidewalks. They used to play music and the lights would flash in response to the tones. That is lovely! Now it is creepy dead-sounding speaking voices and dimly lit lights trying to respond to the lack of inflection of the readers. When I am downtown, walking to lunch or running errands, do you think that hearing 3 seconds of a dull-sounding poem is going to make me stop and listen? If anything, it makes me feel like I am in some sort of sci-fi movie in which the computers are controlling my actions and movements and informing me of my impending expiration. Not your best move, City of Chicago.

But back to my point--why is this even a thing? Do you artists feel like you are being super creative with having this trope? Or are you masking the fact that maybe your song isn't amazing? We want to listen to MUSIC, so please just play your music. If I wanted a monologue or a poem, I would listen to talk radio.

So to all you musicians out there--please just play your music. Save your spoken word for the poetry slam.