I'm a huge fan of good lyricists. My favorite is probably John K. Samson (of The Weakerthans), who tends to use more of a poetic story-telling mode to explain a feeling or describe some set of emotions that follow along with the story than actual songwriting technique. This kind of creates a border surrounding the story, letting the listener infer what has happened to cause this outcome. He's just great at defining what makes us human, I guess, and pointing it out in song.
The trick, I think, to writing a good song, lyric-wise, is about the same to writing a good song, music-wise, it just uses a different side of your brain, so to speak. When writing music, you want to pick notes and chords that will evoke emotions, just like how when you write lyrics, you want to use strong word choice that will accurately define what you want to say.
Similarly, a good song will repeat sections to add power; like when you hear the intro of a song and then it comes back in halfway through to act as a bridge: a good amount of repetition in the style and syntax can add power to the original line and compound it on later lines that feel similar to the first.
Most importantly is to just write it out the way that people THINK; there's no need to go out of your way to make it ABOUT something, if you're writing and it means something to you, then it should mean something to other people. You've just got to let your guard down and bare your soul for a minute, and other people will be able to identify with it, as well.
At least, that's how I see things, and that's what I go for when I write lyrics.
I wasn't really looking for any sort of validation, because the truth is that I am a pretty crappy lyricist - the AABBAACC was just an example and is about as tedious as it gets. Rhymes in general should be approached less as a songwriting technique and more as a possible strategy to smooth over other ideas.
Originally Posted by ilovellamas
It was really just an extension of my criticism of lyrical ideas that get forced into something, partly because it isn't possible for lyrics to become disconnected from the music - reading them makes the experience completely different specifically because you're lacking that cadence and context that makes them important in the song. Lyrics have to work in counterpoint to music, otherwise they aren't lyrics. That's not to say that speaking can't be musical - rap remains a form of music based more on that cadence and placement. Disconnect some of that from its music and you might just have an angry essay (lolz rappers r h8rs).
Some lyricists - metal and heavy rock especially - also feel the need to throw big words around as if it makes what they're saying somehow more profound than if they said it without the dictionary weighing down their lyrical content. I don't feel it's necessary to throw in the word "caldera" to showcase a vaguely latin word and make yourself sound more profound, unless you're actually talking about the collapsing of a volcano.
That said, I'd like to mention as an aside that this isn't a criticism of mspunk13's lyrics - just an observation that I wouldn't truly be able to judge their worth without hearing them to music.
Oh I know you were seeking validation - don't worry. I only mentioned it to make sure you didn't think I was slagging your lyrics.
Thanks a lot! But now I'm thinking, my lyrics sound sorta emo. I don't like this fact :/ I will try to write more positive songs in the future.
Yeah, just keep trying to expand your horizons as a writer/lyricist: emo, positive, negative, angry, questioning, etc. My favorite writers and lyricists can explore all different types of ideas and emotions.
I have to say you did an impressive job. Seriously, you made me actually like lyrics about love and I'm a die-hard lovesong hater :) I really like the metaphores.
Thanks, I have always been a big fan of metaphors myself. I think a lot of love songs get boring because they are one dimensional, it's either: I love you but I can't have you, heartbreak, I love you and I am so happy, or I lost you/the one that got away. I think most relationships are more complex, and that people are both victims and villains, in terms of love and relationships. For example, I have had my heartbroken, yet I have broken other people's hearts. I have been treated badly, yet I can be a bit of a bastard myself. I think it's interesting to lyrically explore where these things intersect. Anyways, thanks for the kind feedback.
Thought I'd contribute to this thread for the hell of it... I "wrote" a song almost two months ago, using guitar pro (cause of my lack of instruments), and hope to record it at some point in the future. Like Thi, I don't spend much time on lyrics because they're not very important to me, but I thought it'd be interesting to have you guys give some feedback about them. I don't mind them, except I don't like the last verse. So here you go... please tell me what you think:
The Last of the Girl
Where'd you go?
The time I left home again and no one knows what I'm doing
The time I lost my mind
Time moved so slow
Until I went back and finished up what I began with
So many years ago
I could give so many reasons why
It's so hard to move forward and walk away
Feels like the termination of existence
But I only exist in the terminal
To lay down your cards and not care about all the others'
No matter how sure you are
But you have to show
Cause if you don't, all the anticipation you've built up is worthless
Eventually you'll explode
We hear all their happy cries tonight
Drunk and dancing in their celebrations
While we wonder why they'd celebrate a funeral
Cause we only exist in the terminal
Don't want to go back (but there's nothing pressing ahead)
Can't we pull away? (Both sides so strong)
We've realized a dream and now,
Though I'm starting to believe I can't,
Decide where to aim my gun
Saw myself reflected in you
Thought I could stop my pain
By being your tourniquet
Tried so hard, to keep our cravings
From carving their way into consciousness
But they severed our serenity
And divorced our love from trust
Denial taught me how to lie
Found clever places
To hide from my shadow
And slip into illusion
Enchanted by envy
And enamored with vanity
Hubris led us down the spiral
Shedding skin at sunset
I succumb to my subconscious
And sell my soul to stimulate
Sullen and subdued senses
Savoring sensations, as I spiral
Into a sea of self-loathing
Where the severed serpent speaks of
The gold within my shadow
Starving for control, I slither into
The sanctuary of self-reproach
Safe from the sacrifice required
To heal the schisms
All the ancient awarded alliterations!