Saturday, January 7, 2017

6 Tips to write better song lyrics 1/2

Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we will talk about a very sensitive topic in songwriting: lyrics.

Lyrics are the story we are telling with our song, the message we are trying to transmit, therefore we should carefully choose what to say and how to say it, because often they are the most important thing in a song (as Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters once said "white people dance to lyrics"), and while on some music genre they can be also not the focus of the song (for example in certain death metal song like Children of Bodom, which doesn't even write them in the booklet and in an interview the singer was even surprised when someone asked him about them because he consider them completely secundary), more often than not they will decide the difference between a succesful song and one that will be completely overlooked (for example in pop, rock or rap music).

In all honesty there is no way to help you inventing from scratch a lyric, you should dig deep inside your thoughts and find some original idea, something impactful and that would be an interesting subject of discussion, or maybe even some good old commonplace like unrequited love, but seen from a fresh perspective, because there is nothing worse than listening to something boring or heard one thousand times. Another good source of inspiration are films, comics, videogames, books and everything else that can feed our thoughts. I, personally, like to write layered lyrics: I start with a deep concept, some aspect of my life or some message that I consider to be important, and then I build on top of it another layer of science fiction or fantasy or whatever, so that who listens can stop at the surface and enjoy the cinematic images, and if they want they can dig deeper to get to the profound meaning.

What we can help you with is the methodic-technical side, with this list of 6 tips to write lyrics:

1) Take a look at the structure of the song: how many verses? How many choruses? How many bridges or special? And lay down your story distributing it through the song as you are writing a novel: an initial part, a central part, maybe a twist that surprises the listener, a conclusion.
The song doesn't have to be long, you just need to be good in managing the economy of words, getting the message as powerful, fast and efficiently as possible, without watering it down.

2) Metrics. If you want to keep your song flowing and euphonic you must be perfect with the timing and the number of syllables, because otherwise the song will lose the groove. This is fundamental in lyrics intensive songs like rap, but also in pop or rock songs, in which lyrics are much shorter, the vocals must blend with the music and the groove, not kill it, if we don't want to sound amateur.
We can adapt to the rhythm below, using quadruplets, triplets or any other type of quantization required by the song, or adapt the flow to the words, the important is to sit gracefully on the beat. There are surely artists which defy the metrics rules, like the spoken word singers, or those who prefer to sing in a more theatrical way, but our suggestion is, before arriving to that, to master perfectly the art of singing on time.


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