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Old 10-17-2013, 11:52 AM   #1
cloud360
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How to write abstract lyrics?

Hi guys,

I have also admired songwriters such as bob dylan, kurt cobain, frank ocean, john mayer song writing style. The thing is, when i write lyrics they just end up appearing very straightforward (with the use of a few metaphors). I was wondering, if anyone could provide me with tips as to how i can make my lyrics more abstract like the artists that i admire? I am just sick of writing straightforward lyrics.

Any tips, guys? Would be much appreciated
p.s. sorry, if there have been a couple threads back in regards to the same issue..I couldn't much on the forum regarding this issue that seemed resolved
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Old 10-17-2013, 12:10 PM   #2
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Think on different things attached to the subject you want to write, and slowly begin to study other peoples work, if inspiration is something you lack. Let your mind wander, and don't be afraid to let out what you really wanna do. If what you say, you keep writing straightforward lyrics. That is because you feel you have to follow particular form. Forget all that, and write about a subject that's really dear to you. Be it a book, movie or whatever. Things that makes you shiver, let that seep into you. Harness that power, and unleash it...lolz
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:08 PM   #3
cloud360
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Thanks for the reply! What do you mean, by think on different things attached to the subject? I have tried to read up lyrics on other people's lyrics but i can't seem to find a way, to use their work as inspiration to lead me into writting more abstract..if you get what i mean..lol
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:19 PM   #4
Tempoe
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The most abstract lyrics I know are by Jon Anderson of Yes, he likes to use the sound of the words when writing.

As the silence of seasons on
We relive abridge sails afloat
As to call light the soul shall sing
Of the velvet sailors course on
Of the velvet sailors course on

Shine or moons send me memories trail
Over days of forgotten tales
Course the compass to offer
Into a time that we've all seen on
Into a time that we've all seen on

High the memory carry on
While the moments start to linger
Sail away among your dreams
The strength regains us in between our time
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:05 AM   #5
cloud360
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any other techniques, guys?
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:27 AM   #6
cloud360
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or are there any books that could provide me with an insight on writing abstract lyrics?
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:42 AM   #7
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sorry, i meant. Any tips to write vague lyrics?
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Old 10-18-2013, 08:49 AM   #8
mattgreen2205
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It's a skill you either have or you don't, but just keep writing and in time you'll likely get better at it.
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Old 10-18-2013, 10:56 AM   #9
cloud360
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so, i'm guessing there are no techniques or specific approaches to it...
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:14 PM   #10
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People have told me to study my favourites artists, songs and go from there. Thing is, how do i study their song lyrics without ending up, writing lyrics of my own which sound the same? I just wanna learn their technique of making vague lyrics
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Old 10-18-2013, 02:26 PM   #11
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When I write lyrics I look at the subject of the song and go into extreme detail. Maybe so much that the reader wouldn't necessarily know what it means - maybe add a few poetic inflexions. My favourite lyrics are those that are more poetic:
Quote:
Ne Obliviscaris - Forget Not
Masquerading, the grey vultures
Coalescing in black swansongs
…Of the dead
…As the dead sigh
Therein the quickening shadows
Kisses upon lifeless fingers
…As the dead sigh
…As the dead sigh
…Of always
…As the dead sigh
Over the frontier of always
In remembrance, they are anthems
…The anthems
…Forget not
…For those gone
…Forget not
Never…
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Tesseract - Concealing Fate
Don’t you know how you’re feeling?
Breathe in (Breathe in) Reach out
The ocean swells, the ocean keeps me safe
Don’t you know how to keep, keep me safe?
Disgrace! Is this how you plan on treating yourself?
Breathe in (Breathe in) Reach out
The ocean swells, the ocean keeps me safe.
You’re in denial.
That might or might not be your preferred style of lyric writing but it's worth looking outside your genre of music as far as lyrics go. Maybe search for songs of the same subject as you want to write about?
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Last edited by Emperor's Child : 10-18-2013 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:48 PM   #12
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Usually I come up with lyrics that hardly make sense to me when I "free style" so to speak, over a chord progression.
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Old 10-25-2013, 03:46 AM   #13
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I think Emperor's Childs advice is pretty good.
You should try to think of unecessery accurat information about your topic.
For instance: I wrote lyrics about a girl killing a guy because she kinda loved him to much and wanted him all on her own. Just write about details (I wrote it from her perspective: seeing the room, describing the place etc. actually describing pictures is pretty helpsome) and not about the topic itself. You can reveal your real topic - what the song is all about - later in the text.
Works out pretty fine.
Or you just use a bunch of metaphores and get lost in it - Don't be afraid to slip of your original topic, most of the time it just becomes better.
Just don't fear writing something pretty ****ed up or stuffed with that much metaphores maybe nobody will get it - Don't care, think less and once you started with a good line write the shit out off it.

(and sorry for my disgusting english-skills - and normaly I don't write my lyrics in englisch)
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:02 AM   #14
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:12 AM   #15
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Drink.


I have to correct myself - This is litteraly the best advice ^^
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Old 10-26-2013, 01:35 AM   #16
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just write what you feel. This is the best experience i ever had for a year of writing songs. Maybe it's one of ways to let go of my emotions to make myself feel better and at the same time, I am producing my own songs.
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Old 11-17-2013, 12:00 AM   #17
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I think the best way to do abstract lyrics is to write them as a sequence of words that may not relate to each other, but when heard together, paint a series of pictures in the listener's head. For example, look at the first verse to Amaranth by Nightwish:

"Baptised with a perfect name
The doubting one by heart
Alone without himself
War between him and the day
Need someone to blame
In the end, little he can do alone."


When you break it up, these lines make very little sense in sequence, at least on the surface. But they form a "train of thought," so to speak. To do that, write a line, then write something completely unrelated in terms of words. To give a random example off the top of my head, something like, "A stray cat walked down the street/yellow glow beneath a velvet sky."

It makes no sense, at all. None of the lines will relate conceptually, but it ties into the same thought. This ends up being very similar to old-school freeform/slam poetry. Just let go and write random junk - chances are, maybe with a little bit of editing later, it'll still end up cohesive.
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Old 11-29-2013, 03:41 AM   #18
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One thing that i noticed Kurt Cobain does (as i also sometimes have the same problem) is that he uses contradictions and slurs his words to find new ways to rhyme words in a very dark way. Like in "Heart-Shaped Box" he says: 'meat-eating orchids forgive no on just yet.'

See how he described orchids, a dainty little flower, as horrible overlord monsters. And the thing is sometimes he didn't really write words to match a certain theme in his songs. Try just writing a couplet with contradictions or dark word play instead of focusing on a whole song. Do this regularly and hopefully you'll find this a good exercise to open up your mind. Use contradiction from nature, or behavior or society. Tell me how you like this advice.
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Old 11-29-2013, 10:48 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinGoetz
"Baptised with a perfect name
The doubting one by heart
Alone without himself
War between him and the day
Need someone to blame
In the end, little he can do alone."


When you break it up, these lines make very little sense in sequence, at least on the surface. But they form a "train of thought," so to speak. To do that, write a line, then write something completely unrelated in terms of words. To give a random example off the top of my head, something like, "A stray cat walked down the street/yellow glow beneath a velvet sky."

That particular one makes perfect sense. The writer is named Tuomas, meaning Thomas in Finnish. He's saying he has the perfect name, because he's a "doubting Thomas" in his heart.
Just thought this would be a good time to get that out.
And the meat-eating orchid thing? Yeah. It's pretty common knowledge what "Heart-Shaped Box" is about. (Hint: the important word is "box".)
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Last edited by Cavalcade : 11-29-2013 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 11-30-2013, 01:15 AM   #20
WhiteAngel20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud360
Hi guys,

I have also admired songwriters such as bob dylan, kurt cobain, frank ocean, john mayer song writing style. The thing is, when i write lyrics they just end up appearing very straightforward (with the use of a few metaphors). I was wondering, if anyone could provide me with tips as to how i can make my lyrics more abstract like the artists that i admire? I am just sick of writing straightforward lyrics.

Any tips, guys? Would be much appreciated
p.s. sorry, if there have been a couple threads back in regards to the same issue..I couldn't much on the forum regarding this issue that seemed resolved


Honestly,why do you want to be something that you are not?
I also admire Kurt Cobain,even if Nirvana is top 3 of my favourite bands I just can't write that music,I'm not Kurt and I really can't do that. Why do you wanna force something that you are not? I think you should be yourself and write things in which you are good at.
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