Many years ago, there was an Australian song that featured the following lyric:
The water out of the tap is very
hard to drink.
VERY HARD TO DRINK.
Really makes you think, doesn’t it?
What it probably makes you think, mind you, is: “that sounds like a child came up with it”. And you’d be right. The members of the band responsible for it (Silverchair) were all of 14 years old when they wrote it.
So you can see why it might be a bit lacking in the ‘worldly insight’ department.
That didn’t stop it from being a massive hit, though. It reached number 1 in Australia and in the States, and was the highest-selling Australian song that year. Its creators became international stars, practically overnight.
And that’s because it was a cracking tune. Turns out most people didn’t care that the lyrics had all the profundity of a Wiggles number.
There’s a lesson in this, I think.
When we create something, or when we evaluate creative work, we need to bear in mind what really matters. What is it about this work that people will respond to?
It might be the words, of course.
But it might be a guitar riff.
Or even a particularly witty design.
Whatever it is, the important thing is not to get in the way of it. Many potential ‘hits’ are shelved because we worry about all the stuff at the edges.
The depiction of the target audience. Or the hue of the background colour. Or the market research showing that, on a Likert scale, the water out of the tap is only moderately hard to drink.
Creative work is more a matter of inspiration than inquisition.
So if you’ve got a great tune, let it sing.
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