Here is an article by Jason Blume, posted on the BMI site, that I think is worth reading: http://www.bmi.com/news/entry/the_top_5_lyric_pitfalls1
Jason says on his website, “There are no Rules, but there are Tools.” Here is a summary of some of the excellent points made. (and just a side note – I have gotten really personally angry at Jason before, after he reviewed one of my songs – in what I felt, wasn’t in a kind manner. However, that was my interpretation. You WILL GET TRIGGERED in this BUSINESS!!! I still really learn alot from him though, consistently. My point….you gotta thicken your skin in this biz. No one is all good or all bad, you just have to keep learning WHILE follow your heart & also take a sip of humble juice every single day! And you will Get Pissed! Just a heads up…..) And, let’s continue on with this insightful article from Jason….
1. Making your song lyrics GOOD, are not GOOD ENOUGH, if you want to rise to the top.
2. You need to write songs that Emotionally Impact your listener. So important!
3. Don’t just barf your pain or experiences all over a song. Make it so the listener can jump into your song, and say Hey Thats Me! Sometimes the barfing works, but often its too exclusionary.
4. Dont write such abstract lyrics and metaphors that your song feels more like some bizarre poem than anything else. Dont get me wrong, some of those songs are the best songs ever as an artist! But you have to do it in a way, that doesnt make your listener say “WTH” and turn off the song. Find a way to bring your audience into understanding of sorts.
5. Going back to #2, you need to make your listener FEEL something.
6. Best to get your listener there, not by TELLING how you feel, but by SHOWING how you feel. Let them watch a story, like watching a movie. The actors dont get on the screen and say, “FEEL THIS!” They bring you into the movie’s unfolding storyline.
7. Jason points out…use this acronym in your lyric writing: (this is most often used in the VERSES , telling the story) A(actionverbs) I(images/nouns) D(detail/adjectives).
8. Make your TITLE make sense in your song. Dont pull it out of nowhere. Have your song lyrics support the Title. Include imagery in your song, that supports the title.
9. Going along with #8, here is something I learned from a course I took from Pat Pattinson, at Berklee College of Music. And Jason mentions in above article as well. When you have a title, build a whole list of words that remind you of that title. Get as descriptive as you can. This is a tool, reference words you can go back to later. So if your Title is called TELEVISION, then you could have words like remote, channels, screen, cords. Anything outside of the box, too. Or if your Title was called CLUBBIN, you could have words like party, dance, outfits, high fashion, make up, pretty girls, loud music, banging bass, all night long, cover charge, bouncer, dj, drama, lights, tossled hair, whatever. These are both strange examples, I was just showing you – dont be afraid to write down every word you can think of , that supports your title in some way. Because at the end of your song, you want to be sure you have Lyrics in your song that support the title all the way through. Just dont over do, splash them in for fun and meaning. Be creative with how you put “obvious” words in.
10. So you have a Great First Verse? (we often do). Well, dont get lazy and make your second verse SUCK. Develop your story from your first verse. For gosh sake, dont repeat it! Jason brings up 2 great questions you can ask yourself. 1. Then what happened? 2. What else happened?
11. Please work on your annoying cliches. Write something new and fresh. This was funny. Jason put in his article above, some phrases that can NEVER be used again. Ok, I shall take note! —-> The moment I looked into your eyes. Sitting on the porch swing. Walking hand in hand down by the river. Painted on jeans and cowboy boots. Until the last star falls from the sky. Additional note : also Love rhyming with The Stars Above.
GOOD TO KNOW!
12. Jason’s final tip is to get used to REWRITING. and REWRITING. and REWRITING. and REWRITING. and REWRITING. still not done. and REWRITING. and REWRITING.
***one thing i must add, jason said something that really sunk in deep. ” One amazing song will take you much farther than fifty perfectly crafted, “pretty good” ones.”
Think on that today, when you are working on your lyrics. Dont flutter around writing 50 ok songs. Make a masterpiece. Set it down and come back to it. Dont drive yourself crazy. But dont give up or settle either.
Jason’s well written Article is HERE , where he explains these lyric issues in detail, including supporting the TITLE with a much better example than my lame TV and CLUBBIN.