Writing Lyrics

Writing lyrics can be a challenging process for songwriters of all level, especially newcomers. As daunting as writing lyrics can be, sometimes it’s best to take a step away from its difficulties and focus on just a few things that are within your control. Here are two things to consider any time that you sit down to write lyrics.

Personal Experience
You live your life everyday in the same world that your potential listeners do. It’s a world filled with difficulty and triumphs. When you’re looking for subject matter for your next song, why don’t you utilize this material? Writing lyrics this way can create some really great and personal pieces.

Additionally, even life experiences that you have that you take for granted could make great songs. Every day activities, like eating dinner at a restaurant or going to a high school dance. Take a more recent song called “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore. The song is essentially about buying clothes at a thrift store. Although the song is quite profane, so it’s probably not a song that should be investigated more by younger lyricists. It does demonstrate, however, how a simple place like a thrift store can be the basis for an entire song. Although this song will likely not stand the long test of time, it’s easy to see how original material can be drawn from these experiences. Writing lyrics on these topics will add many topics to our current cannon of music.

Having a firm understanding of poetry will help you with writing lyrics that are meaningful and have staying power. Poetry is naturally full of rhythm and images that translate feelings well. Consider any song by The Band Perry or many of the hits written by Leonard Cohen, including his infamous song “Hallelujah.”

Using The Band Perry’s song “You Lie” as an example to demonstrate how effective poetry can be at aiding with song lyrics.
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In the second verse of this song, “That ain’t my perfume // I bet she had a curfew,” the lyricist is able to open up a whole new path for rhymes by stating things poetically. The first line essentially explains that this man is being caught cheating, with the second line indicating how the girl that this man is cheating with is probably so young that she has a curfew. By describing this in this way, the lines are very visual with meanings that are almost entirely found in the subtext.

Aside from offering visual – and therefore more engaging – solutions for writing lyrics, understanding poetry will allow you to write more concise lyrics that will captivate your audiences. Don’t fall into the trap of writing uninspired lyrics. This can be avoided by simply looking toward other sources of writing inspiration.

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