Tuesday, October 20

Songwriting 101: What Are You Saying?

Yesterday we talked about the importance of the chorus and hook for our fellow songwriters. Make sure you have a concrete message to deliver as well.


If you have great music but bad lyrics that doesn't equal a great song. Remember that please. It is evident that lyrics don’t need to be amazing and extremely meaningful in order for a song to be successful. However, if you can write compelling music and pair it with clever or significant lyrics, your song will be ten times stronger. If you can secure a strong connection with your listener through your lyrics, they will be hooked.

When writing your lyrics, it is always important to keep your listener in mind. Do your lyrics make sense from start to end? Are all your lyrics in the same tense - past or present? What is your song about? Is it a story? Does it describe a certain event or feeling? Is the meaning evident? If you worked hard on creating an amazing chorus, you don't want to lose your listener during your verses by not staying focused lyrically on your message or story. The majority of people do not have huge attention spans when it comes to music. Therefore, someone might lose patience waiting for your hooky chorus to come back around and change the radio station during your verse. One way to make sure you remain focused in your lyric writing is to map out your song’s lyrical progression before you actually start writing. Take a piece of paper and write out the general idea you’re going to speak about or describe in verse 1, your chorus, verse 2, your bridge, etc. This way, when you start writing, you can reference back to your map and stay focused on what you want to say for each section. This will create a clear outline for the listener and allow it to progress from start to finish through the song.

Another more subtle consideration for lyric writing is point of view. By experimenting with the point of view in your lyrics, you can take your song to a completely different level and connect with your listener in a different way. For example, say the first line of your first verse is something like, “She was the best thing that ever happened to me, she’s all I think about.” This lyric could easily be changed to, “YOU are the best thing that ever happened to me, YOU are all I think about.” With this change, the listener is much more likely to relate to the ‘you’ in the song instead of the ‘she’. Using the word ‘she’ confines the song’s meaning to a woman, but using ‘you’ allows the listener to insert any person to whom they want that lyric to relate. Moreover, the use of ‘I’ instead of ‘you’ is oftentimes even stronger. Compare the line, “You said you were leaving, and then you shut the door” to “I said I was leaving, and then I shut the door.” If your listener is singing along, they are most likely to identify more with singing ‘I’ instead of ‘you.’
Although these lyrical details are subtle, they can make all the difference in your song. Overall, the most important thing is that your lyrics make sense and your listener can relate to what you’re saying. Many people use lyrics and music to express and reflect emotions in their own lives. If you can create lyrics that will connect with someone instantly, it can do wonders for your career. That person will keep listening to your song, they’ll tell their friends about you, they’ll buy your CD, and they will definitely want to see you live and feel that emotion in a live performance.

Check out Part 3 tomorrow!

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  1. Patchwerk is the place to get everything you can imagine accomplished,i've been riding with them 6-7 years on dulpications,events,knowledge of the industry and have not found a better place that i can call home.Interns you want to learn this is not a better place to be,"indi labels" you want to look professional this is the place to get that quality work done on a industry scale.

  2. wow. thanks so much for this info. it is so important to have great lyrics. I have always said that a lot of people are writing too much about themselves! it is so selfish to the listener. It takes a lot of selflessness to write great music and lyrics. thanks again


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