Clichés and well-worn phrases lurk in wait for the unwary writer; like many writers I really try to avoid hackneyed and corny expressions, and yet when I’m editing I find my work is littered with them, as if someone else has sneaked along and quickly written a few lines when I was making a cup of tea or doing the ironing, or having dinner. With so many millions of books out there, it’s hard not to fall into the trap of the weary phrase or the worn out simile. Writing songs must be even more difficult, how can you write in an original way about love? How can you write a romantic ballad which hasn’t been written many times before?
Somehow, Raul Malo always manages it and while listening to his songs on the Mavericks stunning new album, ‘In Time’, I thought how effortlessly his lyrics match his melodies. I was listening to a song which is so sweet, so romantic, but also so clever. It is quite short, and in a way quite simple… But Raul has given it a bitter-sweet twist by a single word change. The song is of lost love and it is entitled ‘In another’s arms’… How easy it would have been to have written ‘In each other’s arms’, but how much more poignant to have the lovers apart, in another’s arms.