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Thread: How to improve at writing song lyrics

  1. #1
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    How to improve at writing song lyrics

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    So I write a ton of music, but one thing I've never been able to master is lyrics. I get an idea in my head but none of it really ever sounds good to me. I mostly write rock/alternative/and metal style music but can never put lyrics to it. Is writing lyrics a gift that you are just born with? Is it a skill that can be developed? Good lyrics is a mystery that eludes me. I can write a beautiful piano bridge melody, or a hard driving guitar chord progression, a blazing intense guitar solo. But putting lyrics to any of my songs never sounds the way I want. It always ends up cheesy

  2. #2
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    start simple.
    be honest.
    think of the nut of the idea like the nucleus of an atom.
    don't stray too far from the center and keep the electrons and protons relative to the center.
    it is a skill and like any other skill it takes practice.

  3. #3
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    Austin, Texas
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    Definitely a skill that can be developed. And to develop that skill, you have to work at it often.

    Start at the crux of the idea, it usually becomes the hook, then work backwards from there. How does your story get to that hook line? Then jot down ideas without any rhyme or reason. Then organize those ideas into prose and lyrics. Work at being efficient with your words.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2005
    Ranelagh Tasmania
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    What Chili says ^^^

    However, when you've jotted down some ideas and start organising them into lyrics, get them into shape using any words you can, even if they are dumb and boring.

    Once you've done that, you can go through and figure out how to say the same thing in ways that are more interesting, and that haven't been used a million times by evryone else.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2013
    Lakeland, Fl.
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    One of my first songs is all nonsense lyrics but audiences always applaud when it's played.

    Have you got a throwaway you don't mind sharing with the public? Post up a set of lyrics with some guitar chords maybe so we can get an idea where you're at. I could fiddle with the chords a bit and get a feel.
    Failure - - the path of least persistence
    And, uh, oh - hire a decorator to come in here quick, 'cause... DAMN.

  6. #6
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    Dec 2005
    Below the Watford gap !
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    The lyrics for me are generally much harder to put together than the music.
    But though I am not very poetic, I can be. What I've found is that developing an "anything can work, everything can work" mindset has paid dividends numerous times. Sometimes, my lyrics are beautiful, they roll smoothly, they're poetic, they read and scan well and they're concise.
    If only all of them were like that !
    The truth is, rather like gekko intimates, much of the time my lyrics are not cute, concise and poetic but they are interesting and unusual. They're not standard or just like anyone else's. I remember that RayC that use to be a stalwart here used to hate false rhymes like shakers/papers, television/intuition, ethical/mythical etc. But if they say what I want to say, I'll use them till Tuesday. I also find that I will bend words into a melody or the other way around, like, one word may make use of several notes. The joy I've found is that no topic or melody is beyond me {only this week I finished off a song about delivering newspapers} and if I've got something to say to music, I can say it. If you listen to some of the songs in my sig {shameless plug ~ not !} you'll get the idea. Just listen to the lyrics. Some of them are funny, some of them are ridiculous ~ but they work for the song.
    A few months ago, in the midst of a dream, I was with a crowd singing a praise song called "Jesus' love is very wonderful" {it's an old kids' song} when we suddenly started singing:
    "The only thing worse than nuclear war is surviving it !"
    I added some words {in the dream} and woke up and remembered it and wrote it down. Went back to sleep and three more verses came while I slept. In the end I wrote a song with 8 verses. The lyrics are daft.....but they work.

  7. #7
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    Writing a lot will defiantly help. Make it a habit. You can find some good ideas on YouTube from experiences songwriters. They share practical advices. I am learning it myself at the moment. Also Berklee has good courses.

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