I am a huge fan of the show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,
the fourth (and final) season of which I’m watching on Netflix right now. The star and creator and producer and writer of the show is the multi-talented (as well as multi-tasking) Rachel Bloom, who plays the title character, Rebecca Bunch.
Each episode of the show features one to two musical numbers (also co-written by Ms. Bloom). They can be about mistakes Rebecca has made in her relationships (which are legion), about the men in her life and their reactions to her, her friends, her family, etc. They vary greatly in style, from
- big, showy musical theater numbers, complete with Broadway-level choreography;
- intimate cabaret-style solo performances
- dance music videos
I just happened upon this video
of an interview Rachel Bloom did with Seth Meyers about a year and a half ago, and in it, he asks her about using songs to tackle some pretty significant issues, particularly regarding mental health. I loved the way that she describes how a song is structured (this comes in nearly 4 minutes in). She refers to them as musical essays, with the thesis statement the chorus, and the supporting paragraphs the verses and bridges. She says, “It’s a great way to distill something down, to be like, ‘this is what we’re trying to say.'”
What are you trying to say in your songs? What is the main point? What is in the supporting material?
Let’s take the song “Someone like you” from Jekyll & Hyde
. It’s very clear what the point is: If I had someone like you in my life, it would be better. That’s the chorus. You sing it three times (and the last time, higher).
The supporting material:
The beginning: I’m an outsider. Nothing has ever worked for me. I’ve never had any hope.
The second verse: I’m feeling things I never felt before and I think there might be a way out. I know what that is now.
Watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix, if you haven’t seen it already (caveat: adult content).