All About Song Lyrics
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Music is an integral part of all our lives. Can you imagine a world where there's no music at parties or weddings, nothing to listen to while traveling to and from work, no supporting soundtrack to announce the start of a movie, and nothing to jam to when sitting with friends and family around a campfire?
Music has become such an essential part of our lives that it is impossible to picture a life without it. The fact is that human beings have never been without music, no matter how far back we go through the history of humanity. It has always been with us at celebrations, launch ceremonies and even when someone dies.
Music appeals to human emotions uniquely and can draw out emotional responses deep within us, both negative and positive. The power of music has been clinically used for various public health interventions. But what if the notes and spaces of music are combined with meaningful and powerful words? Does it amplify the influence music can have on us? That's where the art and the science of writing song lyrics come in.
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- What Are Song Lyrics?
- How Do Lyrics Empower A Song?
- Who Comes Up With Song Lyrics And How?
- How Are Song Lyrics Performed?
- What Makes A Good Song?
- What Makes Good Song Lyrics?
- How Are Song Lyrics Written?
- What Can Song Writers Do After They Are Are Done Writing Song Lyrics?
- What Are Some Tips To Remember When Writing Song Lyrics?
- Where Can I Find Song Lyrics Online?
What Are Song Lyrics?
"Lyrics" is widely used in the poetical and musical context. This terminology refers to the words of a song or verses in a poem. A single line of the entire song/poem is called a lyric, which is the singular form of the word lyrics. To distinguish between a poem's lyrics and a song's lyrics, the latter is often referred to as "song lyrics."
Song lyrics play an integral role in making a song successful, depending on its meaning. They are the songwriter's thoughts, emotions, and experiences poured straight from their hearts, right onto the paper. When the heartfelt words of a song are coupled with the right melody, you get a masterpiece that speaks to people on a whole new level.
This is what a successful song does; it helps people feel connected and uplifts, encourages, inspires, supports, and heals the listener, depending on the song's theme.
How Do Lyrics Empower A Song?
Lyrics are words in a musical form, and it is impossible to separate the lyrics from their melody. Lyrics and music are the two supporting factors that co-create a wonderful musical experience for listeners. This experience wouldn't be the same if one factor were removed from the equation.
Take any largely popular song or maybe one of your favorites for the sake of this instance. Almost all of us have a song that has helped us through the thick and thin of life; what if the keynotes of that song were to be changed or removed? What if the nature of the lyrics was altered to an entirely different genre? Would the song still stay the same?
The melody is not the only factor in a song capable of influencing a person's mood and emotions. The lyrics of a song are found to be equally responsible for appealing to our emotional state. According to research, reading and listening to meaningful words can help enhance your self-awareness while improving your ability to speak about issues of self and being.
Here are four ways your song lyrics can impact the audience:
The meaning behind a song's expressive lyrics is why a songwriter decided to write the song in the first place. The lyrics of a song can evoke images, moods, emotions, memories, and meaningful messages from within the lyricist, which are conveyed to the listener. This is what a genuinely great song does.
Instead of having just danceable beats and catchy tunes, it is made to deliver an inspirational message that informs the audience and forces them to think and reflect.
Remember, not every song has to fit the same status quo— even the simplest romantic love songs can use the extra attention to motivate and empower lyrical meanings to become the inspiration your audience is looking for.
The vocalist's voice is the most helpful instrument that must be kept in view when writing a song. When harnessed correctly, a vocalist's voice can add the right melody and rhythm to the music, thus showing the world what the human voice is truly capable of.
In other words, you can easily narrate meaningful words, provide melodic hooks, and reinforce the song's rhythm in the most powerful and inspirational way. All you have to do is to ensure that the lyrics are in sync with the rhythm of your instruments and melody, and you'll have a hit song on your hands in no time. But as any lyricist or musician will tell you, this is easier said than done.
It is common knowledge that certain words sound way better than others. Sometimes, nonsensical lyrics are used to convey a message just because of how well they fit in the musical context of a song.
When writing song lyrics, always keep in mind that the way your words flow together contributes to the melody of the song. If a certain word or phrase seems to disrupt the tempo of the song and distracts the listener, you may want to consider changing it altogether.
The best way to do that is to use metaphors, which have a way of creating a lyrical impact on the listener, especially if the original lyric was hurting the overall sonics of your song.
How do you stand out in a genre that has been going strong and continuously evolving for many decades? How do you develop something new and unique when countless songs have already been written about the same topics? What can you do to make your song memorable in a sea of newly released songs?
The answer to all these questions is coming up with a truly unforgettable song. Creating such a song doesn't mean you have to move mountains to come up with earth-shattering lyrics. This can be achieved by using simple yet unique words and describing specific experiences/feelings in a way that allows the audience to live the words as they are sung.
Always be on the lookout for better syllables and rhymes for your lyrics. You may find a more suitable lyric that complements your song and helps tell your story the way you want.
Who Comes Up With Song Lyrics And How?
Traditionally, the singer of the lyrics is known as the vocalist, whereas the writer is known as the lyricist. Usually, the members of a band or the song artist write the lyrics themselves. However, in some cases, lyricists are known to enlist the help of other songwriters/composers to contribute to writing a song's lyrics.
Collaborating with other artists helps the lyricist achieve their aim of writing meaningful lyrics and coming up with catchy melodies, which are the key to a great and memorable song.
How Are Song Lyrics Performed?
With the evolution of the music industry, the many ways of performing song lyrics have changed quite a bit. These days, lyrics are performed in several ways other than singing, depending on the song's genre. Here are a few examples:
- In the hip hop and rap genres, the song lyrics are carefully arranged to rhyme and are delivered in a rhythmic speech. A rap song's lyrics are most commonly accented with a street vernacular and are usually accompanied by a catchy backing beat.
- The rock music genre's heavy metal and punk songs involve the song lyrics' delivery in a powerful, loud, and intense form. Vocalists of these genres often yell the song lyrics over aggressive sounds of chainsaws and distorted electric guitars.
What Makes A Good Song?
A good song is easier to remember and pleasing to listen to. There are many reasons for listeners to enjoy a song. It could be that the song is about something they can relate to, that the lyrics simplify complicated emotions and situations, or that the melody, chords, and vocals go well together, ensuring a pleasant experience for listeners.
What Makes Good Song Lyrics?
Writing song lyrics is easy, but writing good lyrics is even easier, especially if you intend to make it about something you are passionate about. This is because the listeners like songs about something they can relate to. It can be a life experience, a feeling, or a situation.
The key to writing a good and appealing song is channeling your raw emotions to develop accurate and powerful song lyrics.
How Are Song Lyrics Written?
Writing song lyrics is a feat that requires a lot of creativity and inspiration. To become a successful lyricist, here are ten steps that will help you write riveting and meaningful song lyrics in no time.
- Step 1: Come up with a meaningful title
- Step 2: Work your way around your song's title
- Step 3: Settle on the structure you want your song to have
- Step 4: Lay the base for the chorus and verses
- Step 5: Add musical expression
- Step 6: Settle on the chords
- Step 7: Writing the verses
- Step 8: Create a smooth transition
- Step 9: Work on the second verse
- Step 10: Time to add a bridge
Step 1: Come up with a meaningful title
Start by jotting down what you want to say. It's better to come up with a title before writing down the lyrics, as this could help you focus on a single idea for your song. Ideally, a song title should sum up the core of your song and can be a phrase of 1-6 words. You can also use an interesting phrase to suggest the situation or emotion you intend to express through your song.
Step 2: Work your way around your song's title
Start by exploring the avenues that you can use to progress your song. Come up with at least 3-4 questions about the things related to the song's title that will interest your listeners. These questions may include: What is the meaning of the title? What led you to write a song about it? What are your feelings towards it? What do you hope to happen next?
Step 3: Settle on the structure you want your song to have
A song's structure may have various components, including the verse, lift, pre-chorus, chorus, and bridge. Most hit songs these days have a song structure somewhat like this: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. Some lyricists tend to add a pre-chorus or a lift between the song's verse and chorus to build the listener's anticipation.
Step 4: Lay the base for the chorus and verses
Since the chorus is the most essential part of the song, let's start with that, and then we'll move on to the verses. The chorus should include the answer to the key question from your list. Next comes the verses. For each verse, you would ideally want to address one sub-question. Write your answers down in the form of a short phrase.
Step 5: Add musical expression
It's time to put some musical expression into your words. Choose one or two phrases from the verses or chorus you have written so far and say them out loud. Now repeat them but this time, try to put as many emotions as you can into them. The key here is to exaggerate the feelings in your words, and when you do, you'll notice a rhythmic flow. This is the melody of your chorus at its extremely initial stage. Play around with the melody until it starts feeling in sync with the words.
Step 6: Settle on the chords
Now that you have your chorus melody, it's time to add some chords into the mix. Ideally, it would help if you followed a simple, repeated chord pattern. However, you can browse the chord progressions available online if you are looking for a more complex pattern. Play around with the melody and the chords until you develop something you like. Be sure to record yourself singing and playing the song, so you don't forget the melody later.
Step 7: Writing the verses
Now that the basics are all laid out let's start working on the song lyrics starting with the first verse. Keeping in mind the question you chose for it earlier in step 4, try to come up with a statement that will interest your listeners. The key here is to intrigue your listeners through either a statement, question, or describing a situation.
The second verse of the song can be a restatement of what you said in the first line. Try to either say the same thing in a different way or by adding a bit more information. Remember not to progress your song too quickly in its earlier stages to allow your listeners to comprehend better what's happening in the music. Just lay out enough information that will help your listeners understand the chorus. Follow steps 5 and 6 to build your verse melody and chord progression.
Step 8: Create a smooth transition
Once you have your verse and chorus, it's time to create a smooth and natural transition between them. This may require you to tinker with your verse melody or the line to make a smooth transition into your chorus.
Step 9: Work on the second verse
Now that you have an idea of your song's direction, you can focus on building up the second verse and bridge of the song. Choose another question from your list for this purpose and follow step 7 to come up with the lyric. Since the lyrics and melody of the chorus will stay the same, you don't have to work on that again. All that's left to add now is the bridge.
Step 10: Time to add a bridge
The bridge is the peak section of a song that adds an emotional climax to the lyrics and the melody. The "aha!" moment gives your listeners the best perception of the experience or emotion that the lyricist is trying to convey. The melody of the bridge is different from the verses and the chorus.
You should use different chords for the bridge of your song and try playing around with the length of the bridge phrases. This could help you develop a bridge that will strengthen your song by giving your listeners a moment of realization that they have been looking for in your song lyrics.
What Can Song Writers Do After They Are Are Done Writing Song Lyrics?
Writing song lyrics is one thing but expressing it the right way with all the emotional feelings is entirely another. Musical instruments can help go a long way to express your words with exactly the right amount of emotion.
Sometimes, vocalizing the song with either a piano or guitar can help you create an effective and emotional statement you are trying to build through your song. You can also go for an unplugged version, primarily if you have written a rock song.
Practice your song's instrumental and vocal parts until you feel comfortable with them. Remember, the more you sync with the song, the more you feel the emotions necessary to make the music come alive. You can also try singing the song while imagining that you are speaking the words to someone. Remember, the key here is to keep the words and emotions as fresh as possible.
What Are Some Tips To Remember When Writing Song Lyrics?
- Tip # 1: Keep the song lyrics emotional and relatable
- Tip # 2: Write the song lyrics with your heart, not with your head
- Tip # 3: Simplicity is the key
- Tip # 4: Length does not matter when writing song lyrics
- Tip # 5: Channel your sources of inspiration
- Tip # 6: Collaborate frequently with good songwriters
Tip # 1: Keep the song lyrics emotional and relatable
Start your song with a phrase that gives your audience enough of the story/concept you are going for. Don't start with a vague phrase because your audiences will not be able to connect to it and will lose their interest soon after. Give them an emotional basis to retain their interest in the song.
Tip # 2: Write the song lyrics with your heart, not with your head
When writing song lyrics, it's better to let your heart take the lead. Polishing your heart skills is just as important as perfecting your craft. Always pay attention to how you feel about a particular concept or situation rather than writing about what you think your audience will want to hear.
Remember, a head without a heart can only come up with a crossword puzzle, not a song. Lead with your heart, and you might give your audience the courage to do the same.
Tip # 3: Simplicity is the key
Listen to some songs you can relate to and notice the repetition in the songs. Also, notice how simple language is used in the chorus to convey a clear central message. When writing song lyrics, It's best to write as you speak. Imagine you are having a meaningful conversation with your friend where you are pouring your heart out. This is what writing song lyrics should be like. You don't need any extra skills and don't have to contort language to force words to rhyme. All you need is authenticity, the essential quality of good song lyrics.
Instead of complicated vocabulary, use simple conversational words that are easily comprehensible to your audience. If you force rarely used words to make your song more appealing, you'll end up making the lyrics writing process more complicated for yourself while also confusing your audience with hard-to-understand words.
Tip # 4: Length does not matter when writing song lyrics
An ideal verse should be of about 4-6 lines, then transition into a chorus that repeats multiple times throughout the song. When writing the song lyrics, focus on keeping your phrases short, simple, and concise. Remember, longer phrases have more potential to confuse listeners rather than make them relatable.
Tip # 5: Channel your sources of inspiration
A good song appeals to the audience's emotions, feelings, and life experiences. But when it comes to searching for that something worth writing a song about, a lyricist can get confused easily. To circumvent this, you must soak up some good and inspirational energy that will eventually lead to several song ideas. Start by listening to some good songs.
Always keep a notebook handy because you don't know when or where the inspiration might strike you. You can also try turning to nature or having some heartfelt conversation with your close friends for some ideas about original and unique song lyrics.
Tip # 6: Collaborate frequently with good songwriters
Collaborating with other songwriters can help you express feelings and help you see things from a new perspective. Not only can this help you smoothen things out, but it can also help you learn a lot from the other person's experiences, not to mention creative and financial benefits. It may be just the experience you need to develop a song that will rule the charts for days to come.
Where Can I Find Song Lyrics Online?
You can find song lyrics online by searching the song lyrics database below:
Lyrics are an essential part of any successful song. While it takes talent and creativity, it also requires practice, so make sure to practice and hone your skills, which is key to becoming a successful lyricist.