By Claude Wayne

I went to a songwriters' meeting recently, so, of course, that makes me an expert on the subject. I've observed that there are songwriters, and there are songRIGHTERS. A songRIGHTER is a temporary role that a songwriter assumes to correct someone else's work at a song-critique session.

SongRIGHTERS fall into a variety of categories. For instance, there's the songRIDER. A songRIDER is a person who comes to a critique session for the express purpose of "riding" everyone who is brave enough to present a song for review. SongRIDERS delight in making only negative comments. Then there's the opposite of the songRIDER which is the songRISER. SongRISERS are the kind-hearted people who are afraid to offend anyone so they say only nice uplifting things about someone's song, and you never know what they're really thinking.

In between these extremes are such types as songQUIETERS, who record demos at a level so low you can barely hear the song with the volume wide open. They are not unlike songMISERS -- persons too cheap to pay for a decent demo, who record in their bathroom on a discount store cassette player, while pounding on a cardboard box to keep the beat.

And, of course, you always have your songRHYMERS, those who think if it rhymes it's a good song, regardless of whether or not the lyrics make any sense at all.

I have the most respect for songHIDERS. These people know they only write trash and are intelligent enough to keep their songs out of sight ... or sound for that matter.

And how about those songWIDERS ... those who write only songs about skinny or short people.

Then there are the more common types such as songBITERS, who like to take a bite out of any form of creativity, and songGUIDERS who think they know best how to lead others to write a better song (even though they've never completely written a song by themselves). They contrast with songBRIGHTERS, who think their songs are more brilliant then anyone else's, and songPRIDERS, who take pride in everything they write no matter how lousy it is, and songFIGHTERS, the people who fight any suggestion to change their songs regardless of how poorly they are written.

SongBRIGHTERS, songPRIDERS and songFIGHTERS are always at odds with songRIDERS, songBITERS and songGUIDERS. This tends to make critique sessions much longer than they should be and turns a critique into a session of songRIOTERS ... and everyone just loves it.

I wonder why that is? I'm Andy Tuney. But you can call me "Looney Tuney" -- most of my friends do.