Song writing

Cozmik Cowboy

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I would add that everything you can tell about you love your girl, you hate your girl, your car's fast - has been so many times it's almost impossible not to sound trite.
Tell a freakin' story.
If you can, tell it allegorically.
Then decide if it's yours to sing (for example, "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails is silly drivel; "Hurt" by Johnny Cash is pure kick-ass poetry of pain. Shut up, Trent, & let JR take it......)
 

Gibsonian

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Demo your song, sing the words and strum just any ole chord. Then listen back. Then record it again. The chords will tell you where they want to be over time. Record again. Rinse and repeat.
 

EasyAce

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Sometimes I'll be thinking of something and a lyric might start to come. Sometimes I might be reading something or about something
and a lyric idea might start from that.
 

Thumpalumpacus

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IMO, part of songwriting is the ability to be arrogant (or ignorant enough) to power through what you perceive to be cliches or a hackneyed idea.
One of my favorite things to do in writing is take a cliche and put a twist on it that takes it out of the norm. For instance, in one song about alienation and loneliness, I thought about the cliche line "I need space" in a breakup ... and worked it in like this in one verse:

And this Big Bang blowin' us apart --
millions of worlds: millions of hearts -- that's why it
terrifies me when you talk about space.
I don't know where it ends or where it starts...
and who knows where it goes?


Sometimes my lyrics are direct and to the point, but I think there's a place for metaphor and symbolism in lyrics, so long as you don't climb up your own ass about it.

I'm working on another set of lyrics using physics as a metaphor for people -- gravity, electricity, light, and so on. But it's cast into a rap over acoustic guitar to keep it, uh, grounded.

You want to write good lyrics? Read. A lot, if possible, but even if not, read talented writers. You'll learn how to get a grasp on things like metaphor, simile, symbolism, and analogy.
 
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Thumpalumpacus

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Just do it. Don’t agonize about whether or not it’s any good just DO it. Pickup your guitar, start noodling. If you find yourself falling into familiar licks, stop. Redirect yourself.
When I'm writing lyrics, i have a rule: no lining out words or lines in the first pass. My internal critic does not have the right to speak at that point. I'm going to zone in on the feelings that inspired the song, and capture them, and then I'll go back a couple of days later and reread them. That's when I will take out words, lines, or entire verses.

But that first pass, it's all about capturing the vibe of the moment, for me. Revision will hopefully take out the mundane or cliched.
 

Nard

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The first song I ever wrote was about a girl who dumped me and how I felt after. My mate loved it when I played it to him because, as he said, it was from the heart. As time moved on I changed some lyrics as I got over her and it became a bit less hostile. It’s pretty straightforward stuff but most people who have listened to it say it’s good. That’s all that counts really.
 

Cozmik Cowboy

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And please understand that my comments are pretty much those of an interested observer; in my life I have co-written one song (in the time it took to sing it), added one line to a song (the writer of which, i must brag, has a hit single to his credit - but not that song), written an instrumental by accident, have one "in progress" for 8 years now, and have one finished song to my name.
Got a file of great lines that hit me, but none of them has progressed any further.
This stuff isn't something everybody can do, and if you can even write drivel, my hat's off to you.
 

NewDayHappy

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I have the innate ability to create harmonies and melodies, but I am not nor never will be a lead singer. I could probably do backup vocals in the right scenario, but lead singers and songwriters get paid the big bucks for a reason.
 

artis_xe

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I'm working on another set of lyrics using physics as a metaphor for people -- gravity, electricity, light, and so on. But it's cast into a rap over acoustic guitar to keep it, uh, grounded.
I keep journals of my strange thoughts ( that are a result of my " bad brain chemistry " ) , that are often filled with metaphors , and descriptions of misinterpretations

when I moved to NYC at 18 __ there were a lot of drag queens in the area that I could afford to live in . it was an experience :laugh2: . the amount of product that they would have to apply , to even closely resemble a woman __ gave birth to idea of " makeup full of face " . made more sense to me at the time , than a face full of makeup . how could a convex structure be full of anything ?

I have to agree though . there is a place for symbolism and metaphor . leaving ideas open to interpretation means that the song can have different meaning to different people


( edit : oops . I meant to quote your entire post )
 

Thumpalumpacus

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when I moved to NYC at 18 __ there were a lot of drag queens in the area that I could afford to live in . it was an experience :laugh2: . the amount of product that they would have to apply , to even closely resemble a woman __ gave birth to idea of " makeup full of face " . made more sense to me at the time , than a face full of makeup . how could a convex structure be full of anything ?
I love that sort of thing, and that image in particular is rich with implications, mainly that in one sense the makeup is more important than the face? Or that they pour themselves into the appearance? At any rate, it's powerful.
 
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defcrew

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There are all kinds of YT vids by pro song writers that are, frankly, pretty depressing in nature to me as they deconstruct hit songs to the smallest particle....and I do mean smallest....and tell you how they are made. A friend of mine sends them to me from time to time and I'll watch them for a bit until I throw up in my mouth enough that it gets uncomfortable. But one point one of these guys made was that the modern song typically does not tell a story. It is more about flashes and pictures which is kind of in tune with the modern attention span. This isn't new, really, but maybe more prevalent.

Songwriting at the top of the pops level is like the NFL where it is a copycat league. Whatever works for one person soon gets aped by everybody. The first time I heard When Doves Cry by Prince on a pop radio station the intro really jumped out at me with the dissonance. Before you knew it it was standard practice.

There are all kinds of camps out there though. And there are no rules. Ask yourself why you're doing it in the first place. Once you figure that out it can make the path a bit simpler. Want to please a bar room? Write about drinking. People love to talk about themselves.
 

Tim Fezziwig

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Never give up on a great phrase+title. I was in 10th grade=1980. The phrase,

'Momma was a Trapezoid, Daddy was a paranoid"

appeared. This was inspired by Geometry class and Cheap Trick's "Surrender."

2014-decades later I wrote the remaining lines,

"Sister was a little priss.......
Brother loved the Rolling SSSSSSTTTTTTAAAAAAAANNNNNNNEEESSSSS.............

I added a push/pull guitar riff. An open G intro. No more lyrics were needed.

That year I also came up with the title"How Hard is the Heart of a Dead Swan?"

This became the title for an instro I wrote.

10th grade was good to me.
 

realjimjim

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Been working on this for quite a while . . . . "I'm uh D D D I'm uh D student . . sit my ass in the back uh the class . . . "

All I need is a radical guitar band to help me out and finish this.

FEZZZZ + JIMMYO = PURE BLUE FLAMES HOT ROCK!!!!
 

realjimjim

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Never give up on a great phrase+title. I was in 10th grade=1980. The phrase,

'Momma was a Trapezoid, Daddy was a paranoid"

appeared. This was inspired by Geometry class and Cheap Trick's "Surrender."

2014-decades later I wrote the remaining lines,

"Sister was a little priss.......
Brother loved the Rolling SSSSSSTTTTTTAAAAAAAANNNNNNNEEESSSSS.............

I added a push/pull guitar riff. An open G intro. No more lyrics were needed.

That year I also came up with the title"How Hard is the Heart of a Dead Swan?"

This became the title for an instro I wrote.

10th grade was good to me.
 

artis_xe

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Never give up on a great phrase+title. I was in 10th grade=1980. The phrase,

'Momma was a Trapezoid, Daddy was a paranoid"

appeared. This was inspired by Geometry class and Cheap Trick's "Surrender."

wow . did I read into that one ! :laugh2:

I thought the trapezoid was a reference to cognitive theory of consciousness , coupled with the idea that paranoid ( types ) will often explore ideas like this . and get lost in a smoke filled room , drenched with sweat __ while furiously typing away

but I see what you did there . you made the original lyrics into a funny rhyme . I used to get caught up in doing that . anything could be changed into a rhyme . even a simple street sign

one way isn't fun day . it's always the soon to be done way . it's just word play . and a passageway . to another locked up Saturday
 

Tim Fezziwig

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Been working on this for quite a while . . . . "I'm uh D D D I'm uh D student . . sit my ass in the back uh the class . . . "

All I need is a radical guitar band to help me out and finish this.

FEZZZZ + JIMMYO = PURE BLUE FLAMES HOT ROCK!!!!
real-LONG time call me Sun- between 10-3. I have NEW stuff. Best album of the 2000's hands down! You need a cd.
 

Tim Fezziwig

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wow . did I read into that one ! :laugh2:

I thought the trapezoid was a reference to cognitive theory of consciousness , coupled with the idea that paranoid ( types ) will often explore ideas like this . and get lost in a smoke filled room , drenched with sweat __ while furiously typing away

but I see what you did there . you made the original lyrics into a funny rhyme . I used to get caught up in doing that . anything could be changed into a rhyme . even a simple street sign

one way isn't fun day . it's always the soon to be done way . it's just word play . and a passageway . to another locked up Saturday
a, I like your idea better. Yes, Mama was a simple Cheap Trick ripoff.
 

Tone deaf

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You have to pick a style. Then make lists of potential elements that might be good subject matter. Make another list of complimentary or opposite things. Then make a list of verbs. Try to wiggle them around until you get the last word in each row to rhyme with the last one in the next row (or second row) and repeat.

Here, let's do one in the style of AC/DC:

Penis, love, bone, knife, you, cake, dog, put, cut, giving, etc...
 

Kashmir

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I used to write songs a lot when I was young. But the last one I wrote, I did it in it's completion with Guitar Pro software just a couple of years ago. Sheet music and all. I loved doing it, but never really had a chance to since. Guitar Pro is awesome software though, for doing a total song write and production.

Guitar Pro
 




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