Why do some songs make us feel such rich and powerful emotions?

It’s been my quest to figure this out for many years as a listener and it’s been my quest to make my listeners feel rich and transformative emotions.

As a listener, I love it when a song has a pretty sound that amplifies the meaning in the lyrics. Music has a way to inspire and take us on a journey. How do the greats do it to us? And how do I try to replicate it? Let’s look at a few examples.

Bulat Okudzhava’s Georgian Song In English

Most English-speaking listeners don’t know the music of Bulat Okudzhava. He was a great poet and one of the most popular singer-songwriters in 20th century Russia. I have been translating and performing his songs in English because I feel that his music is both beautiful and enriching.

Here is one of his most powerful and inspirational songs. It’s called Georgian Song. In Russian, it had more Georgian references, but I removed them and replaced them with lyrics about love that I felt closely reflect the feel of the song.

This sound just sounds beautiful. Technically, there isn’t anything amazing about it. But there is a tenderness and a softness to this song’s mood and it builds on a pleasant storyline. In the second part of the song, I added nice imagery and metaphors to make it more dreamy and tender.

Plus, the lyric “…then what else to live for?” keeps repeating throughout the song which adds a level of introspection to the song and makes it even more dreamy.

The song uses many minor chords and is in a minor key which gives it a melancholy feel, which adds to the power of the song.

Magic Dandelion – A Song Against Gun Violence

This is a very different song, but believe it or not it’s inspired by Bulat Okudzhava’s music since so much of his music is about a certain kind of deep and earnest kindness.

This song is sung to a would-be mass-shooter. It’s an original song of mine (Alex Genadinik). As you can imagine, it’s a very difficult subject matter to write about. But I never want to write any ole song. I try to write songs that are truly unique and different.

This song is a song about loneliness, compassion, forgiveness, treating each other better, and there is also a love story in the song.

The song starts with a mass shooting but quickly goes on to focus on the shooter’s frustrations and loneliness. It aims to understand the shooter and extend a hand. All we really want is to be loved and understood. Just like a shooter can shoot bullets, the singer shoots back love petals from a heavenly magic dandelion. At one point of the song, the shooter realizes that one of the people he shot was a girl he would have met and fallen and love with. He asks heavens for forgiveness and gets another chance. The song ends on a happy note with the would-be shooter putting down his gun and everyone around him being kinder too. In his second chance, he gets to meet “his Juliet.”

This song of kindness in a place where you wouldn’t expect it was inspired by another of Bulat Okudzhava’s hits, Blue Trolley.

Blue Trolley In English

I translated and re-wrote a few parts of Bulat’s famous song. If I could describe this song in one sentence, it’s a love song to the people who are riding on public transportation with you. It’s certainly not the first thing that comes to mind of a typical NYC Subway rider. But take a listen to see how caring the song is and how compassionate it is.

Thank you for listening. Now let’s look at some more meaningful love songs.

Oh Michaelangelo – A Love Song With Beautiful Imagery And Metaphors

This song draws parallels between the tenderness of a man who wants to caress his love to the tenderness of the touch depicted by Michaelangelo in his painting “Creation of Adam.”

In the verses, we have a contemporary love song where a man is singing to his beloved about how gently he will touch her and how he will caress her with not only his touch but also his words. And in the chorus, this same man is singing directly to Michaelangelo about how Michaelangelo didn’t paint his painting correctly because the painting should have contained the protagonist and his beloved.

When writing this song, I felt it was imaginative and I was happy with the lyrics. I especially like the lyric “I paint new Sisteeen Chapels along your back” when talking about how beautifully the protagonist will caress his love. One of my other favorite lyrics is “You’re breathing with me, our souls have met” which echoes the meeting of the hands in Michaelangelo’s painting. Take a careful listen to this song. The lyrics took me over a month to write and there are many pretty lines in the lyrics.

Enchanting Lady – Another Meaningful Love Song

This song was also inspired by one of Bulat’s songs and just like I did with the Georgian song, I added more to the love story and took out a few lines that didn’t move the love story along.

The first half of this song talks about a woman who is so enchanting that she inspires all of us and the protagonist to be better people. The second part of the song talks about how the protagonist lost that relationship and lives with the memory of it. There are touching lyrics like “She probably still writes to me love letters in the clouds, but I’ve grown old and can’t read clouds anymore.”

Thank you for listening.

Hannah’s Song – A Song For New Parents

In our journey through meaningful songs, let’s switch gears and look at a meaningful song for parents. This is a song I wrote to my daughter when she was born. As a new parent, you can’t help but wonder how your child will grow up. So I wrote a song that gives a history to the child by connecting the kids grandparents and then imagining how this kid will feel when they themselves grow to become grandparents. This way the song spans centuries.

Thank you for listening.

Road Less Traveled Song

This song is inspired by Robert Frost’s poem The Road Less Traveled. It’s a song that makes you think about life and the decisions you make in life. All your previous decisions shaped your life’s path and led to next decision points. The further you go in life, the more imperfect choices you face. That leads to second-guessing and sometimes not ending up where you tried to go. This song brings up all these issues that all of us face and think about.

Thank you for listening.

The One Who Didn’t

A song inspired by Beethoven’s 5th Symphony that incorporates Beethoven’s famous motif into its lyrics and melody.

Thank you for listening.