My wife and I recently went to our local library to look for good movies to watch, and I saw City of Angels there. I never actually watched the whole thing when it first came out, but I heard good things about it. So we borrowed and watched it. It features several famous songs, including “Uninvited” by Alanis Morissette.
That song has a hauntingly beautiful melody. But we couldn’t help being disappointed by its lyrics. They’re all about unrequited love. Such a disappointment when it seems like the song should be so much more meaningful. In addition, the lyrics don’t match the cadence of the music. So the singer has to misemphasize every other word to make them all fit. And there’s no consistent rhyming scheme.
Basically, it’s a mess when you look at it too closely. And I thought it would be fun to fix it. Right after we finished the movie, my wife challenged me to come up with better lyrics. So I did.
My Rewriting Process
Over the course of a few minutes, I created my own lyrics for the song. I even overshot the mark and wrote four verses when the original song only has three. To start, I thought of the first word. I don’t know why they used “Like” at the start of two lines in the first verse, but that repetition was the spark of inspiration I needed. I went ahead and changed it to “Life,” and suddenly I had my hook. I was going to write a love song about a journey through life where I invite my wife to join me.
The chorus was easy enough to revise. I changed “not allowed” to “not alone” and “uninvited” to “are invited” to convey a whole new meaning. I enjoyed creating a rhyming scheme that fit the rhythm of the music: ABAB for the verses. And a unique rhyming scheme for the chorus where the middle line rhymes each time, but the lines around it are free-floating.
I don’t demand that every line has to rhyme in music or poetry. But I like some consistency and fluidity. Something that shows real effort. Also, I decided to change up the chorus each time to show progression rather than stagnation.
Of course, what I wrote wasn’t perfect at first. That is true of everything I write, even after a great deal of editing. I finished my initial version and shared it with my wife. She liked it but noted that there were problems with the flow of the words. In the next few days, I made small adjustments to the first three verses. And I completely threw out the fourth verse in favor of what you’ll find below. At first, that verse was too on the nose and clunky. So I softened it, and I hope you like the results.
Here are the two versions of the song lyrics side by side so you can compare them. Mine is on the right. And you can listen to the song to get the tune in your head.
Uninvited Verse 1: Like anyone would be, I am flattered by your fascination with me. Like any hot-blooded woman, I have simply wanted an object to crave. Chorus: But you, you’re not allowed, You’re uninvited. An unfortunate slight. Verse 2: Must be strangely exciting To watch the stoic squirm. Must be somewhat heartening To watch shepherd meet shepherd. Chorus: But you, you’re not allowed, You’re uninvited. An unfortunate slight. Verse 3: Like any uncharted terri- tory, I must seem greatly intriguing. You speak of my love like You have experienced love like mine before. Chorus: But this is not allowed, You’re uninvited. An unfortunate slight. Coda: I don’t think you unworthy, I need a moment to deliberate.
Invited Verse 1: Life is unexpected. We’re on a road that’s twisting and turning. Life must be respected As we seek answers through trial and learning. Chorus: And you, you’re not alone, You are invited To come along with me. Verse 2: Time is always unfolding, Running to oceans and lands unknown. Soft secrets it’s holding Reveal themselves like water on stone. Chorus: And you, you’re not alone, You’re hypnotizing Your way into my heart. Verse 3: You are that one woman I have been praying would enter my life. I’ll move Earth and heaven Till I persuade you of being my wife. Chorus: Now you, you’re not alone, You have decided To share yourself with me. Verse 4: We’ll make something special In spite of challenges, come what may. We’re a crew on a vessel, Our destination’s close and far away. Chorus: And you are never alone. We are united, Our union transcends time. Coda: We’re expected in heaven. Let us approach and see what awaits.
This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.
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