In the event that I’m never able to write (well, finish writing) an Ashlee Simpson book, I’ll post little observations here about it. Please take the Ashlee Simpson Survey if you have THOUGHTS about her.
One thing I like about “Better Off” is that its imagery is very haiku-like.
The sky is falling
(And) it’s early in the morning
(But) it’s OK somehow
I spilled my coffee
It went all over your clothes
(I) gotta wear mine now
(Parentheses added for strict haiku structure.)
Ashlee does this consistently well, concrete images juxtaposed to help the listener “fill in” the scene. Compare to something like:
Chill out, what you yellin’ for?
Lay back, it’s all been done before
And if, you could only let it be
You will see
I like, you the way you are
When we’re drivin’ in your car
And you’re, talkin’ to me one on one
But you become
‘Round everyone else
Your watchin’ your back
Like you can’t relax
You tryin’ to be cool
You look like a fool to me
This is just horrible
songwriting writing [EDIT: should make clear distinctions between songwriting, which can include things like rhythm and melody, and writing, meaning words on the page. I meant the latter, not the former]. Look at how, in Ashlee’s two haikus, we have not only the broadstrokes of her own state of mind (uneasy but optimistic), but we have concrete details about her own life, her routines, the life and intimacy of her relationship, and specific visual details about the scene. She does it in less than a tweet.
In the Avril song (as in most Avril songs) we have words larded on needlessly (what’s all been done before? Do you mean to say something like:”The trouble between me and you is nothing new”?) We have no idea where this yelling is actually taking place — by the second verse we’re in a car (what car?). With some hindsight, we can make the words signify: She’s in a group of his friends (I guess — she uses “everyone else,” so it’s not clear) and he’s yelling at her, which is very different from how he acts when they’re alone together.
THAT TOOK THREE VERSES. Ashlee tells us a whole story in exactly one tweet (exactly 140 characters; I checked!).
Anyway. What other songs use haiku or haikuesque structure?