Today I've been listening to and singing 'Protection' by Massive Attack and Tracey Thorn. She has such a beautifully resonant voice - like they managed to get a microphone inside her throat, so thick even when she goes up her range. I'm really tempted to try to make my own cover, because it's in a good key for me and I think I would probably learn a lot from her.
The lyrics are here, and they're so beautiful and heartfelt, but the thing that made me wonder is the complete lack of detail.
The first verse is:
This girl I know needs some shelter
She don't believe anyone can help her
She's doing so much harm, doing so much damage
But you don't want to get involved
You tell her she can manage
And you can't change the way she feels
But you could put your arms around her
No details about the girl. No details on the requirement for shelter. No details on the people that she doesn't think can help her. But it works.
Is the amount of detail that I should put in a song genre-specific? Is 'pure and heartfelt' a special case, like a special effect - is it plenty or nothing with mediocrity in the middle? I remember someone on here making the point that the 'furniture' shouldn't just be thrown into the song unless it's relevant to the plot or used for a rhyme. You want the right detail, the stuff that elaborates about the characters or the setting gracefully and makes the setting feel real, I get that. But how much should I use?