Paul Gargiulo - Words and Music defined from an artists perspective



Words and Music

“What happens when both words come together”?

There are over 5,000 quotes on the internet regarding words and music. Some are really crafty and often seem to inspire. You know, there is a deeper meaning to those quotes. If taken out of context, it can seem bland. After all, most people will read a quote and never look for a deeper meaning. The quote “words and music” stuck with me since the mid 80’s when I first heard it in a movie called “Eddie and the Cruisers”. It was the original movie, not the sequel. It seemed that they forgot the definition of that quote “words and music” in the sequel. The movie had both, but it just lacked the excitement and story that the original movie had. We intend to provide clarity to  that quote, through the perspective of our eye’s and ears.



Every songwriter knows, in order to have music there needs to be words or lyrics. Usually, the lyrics will try to convey a story. This is done to connect with the listener. However, there are times when this just doesn’t work. Maybe the writer just becomes emotionally detached from writing. It then becomes just “words with music”. There isn’t an emotional connection with the elements of the song. Now, you’re probably saying, that not every song needs to establish a connection with the listener. That is true. Especially if you don’t plan on having a long career in the music industry. Unfortunately, this happens more often then you expect. I can’t speak on every songwriters reasons for creating a poor consumer experience. This article is not to focus on the mistakes by some songwriters, it is to highlight the remarkable accomplishments, when “Words and Music” come together.



Do you recall a particular song, that made a huge impact on your life? Maybe it’s multiple songs. Maybe, it’s a song outside of the genre that you currently listen too. There are many songs that have had a memorable and emotional influence on my taste in music. There is no doubt that Johnny Cash was the reason why many women and men decided to become musicians. There were also many memorable women artists as well. I can recall Patsy Cline playing on the record player, over and over again. She had “words and music”. She lived every lyric and sang it with heartfelt emotion. She conveyed what was happening in her life, by the use of lyrics. There is no doubt, she applied the concept of “words and music” in her every song that she wrote and sung. She exemplified what it mean to be a professional, an artist, a musician.

How many of us can recall the name of the artist also referred to as “The Boss”? Not one person reading this article will not know, who I am referring too. Back in the 80’s he sang a song that touched the heart of every one of his fans. The song “My Hometown”. The lyrics begin with the “Boss”, singing about the memories of his father instilling pride in the family’s hometown. While it first appears that the song will be a nostalgic look at his childhood, the song then goes on to describe the racial violence and economic depression that the speaker witnessed as an adolescent and a young adult.

The song concludes with a reluctant proclamation that he plans to move his family out of the town, but not without first taking his own son on a drive and expressing the same community pride that was instilled in him by his father.

The “Boss” got it right with the song “My Home Town”. Since then, I have heard many artists try to duplicate story telling through “words and music”. Some can do it, and leaving you gasping for more. Others, eh’ not so much. Getting music right, is by getting the words and the music right the first time. Listen with your heart and emotions before writing a song. Each song or story that you express through music should have lyrics that convey life experience. How is your listener going to believe you, if you don’t believe what you are singing about? Listen to your heart!



I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about those that really stand out when it comes to “words and music”. If you are from New Jersey, you know this independent singer/songwriter. His name is Paul Gargiulo. He is known for his Rockabilly, Americana sound and his is guitar picking is second to none.

I first heard Paul’s music when we invited independent artists to upload music to our ftp server. Only song’s that really had something to say in the lyrics, would make it to our radio station. Yes, we are a predominantly country music station. However, we do allow for some non country music. It all depends on the message. What is the lyrics trying to convey? Is there something that listeners will take away from it? How far from the country music sound is the song? There are quite a number of factors that the producer takes into consideration.

However, Paul Gargiulo floored us when we heard his song “Take me home”. It was exactly what I had been looking for in an artist. I asked Paul about the message behind this song. This is what he had to say: “Take me home, is about not appreciating what opportunities you had when you were young. It takes growing old to come to the realization, that you want to be young again”. The song is an expression of the way all of us view life at some point. We all wish, we could go back to our youth. Those sentiments are echoed clearly, each time I hear “Take me home”.  

Paul Gargiulo is an artist that can convey a story through a progressive performance with emotionally charged vocals. Both wrapped into one talented musician. Am I comparing Paul Gargiulo with the “Boss”? Well, yeah. Just like every artist is compared to someone that came before him or her. There is many characteristics of Paul Gargiulo that you could compare with some of the other great artists as well. Some of the artists are still living, and performing at a high level. Other artists, have passed away, leaving their legendary status in check.

Everyone has a favorite music icon. No, you should never try to duplicate what your favorite icon has done. Maintain your own originality. Paul Gargiulo has his favorite musicians, but he has always maintained his own style of singing and performing. More importantly Paul Gargiulo knows the meaning of “words and music” and implements the definition in  his songwriting. He is a Jersey Boy that really made good, and continues to impress audiences everywhere he performs.  So never forget, how important words and music are, now that the expression has been defined through the perspective of this article.