All my lyrics are too literal and, at times, hard to digest as a listener as it's like hearing a monologue. Any tips of "vague' out my lyrics?
Mind to post any sample?

I find banning myself from using the word "i" diversifies my sentence structures which used to contain mainly first-person pov.
Two bands I'm obsessed about : Coheed and Cambria.
Maybe try and work out what the melody of your vocal track is going to be before you actually write the lyrics. I find the best way to do this is to play the track as an instrumental, and just record yourself making abstract noises over the top (e.g. doo doo doo DAAAAA! da da BAAA!) and when you find a melody that fits then try and put words to that.
I think I know what you're saying, but I'm pretty sure makig your lyrics more vague would make them even harder to digest as a listener. unless we're thinking two different things, which I guess we probably are.

anyway, to answer your question. I'd suggest listening to some lyrics that aren't exactly to the point. a lot of Dylan is like this. also, don't be afraid to get weird. you can still write personal lyrics, but if they're behind a shroud of metaphors and symbols, people won't have any idea they're about you.
Get ****ing wasted, then try to be literal, that way your song seems to have a meaning, whilst being so vague it makes little sense to anybody
Quote by Nofootcanman
Get ****ing wasted, then try to be literal, that way your song seems to have a meaning, whilst being so vague it makes little sense to anybody

The Jonny Craig-way, works though!
Aim for specific ideas. Make the ideas you express in songs shorter.

Thinking "vague" sounds like an unproductive direction.

Look at lyrics from favorite songs. Great songs aren't often very wordy. They hit a few key phrases just right and wring the feeling out of them.
best advice: furiously write 3 pages of lyrics as they come to your head.

then select a few of the best parts from there. you can be as vague as you want in your selection process. using sentence fragments or changing the order of sentences etc.

edit: you can also just keep your topic a secret from the listener and use sentences that would only make sense to you(because you know the topic)
Last edited by conrad burdge at Mar 2, 2012,
I know what you mean. When John Lennon wrote "In My Life," the first draft was terrible, just a list of places he remembered and had been. He described it as "the worst kind of 'what I did this summer' crap." So he took those lyrics and made them vague, which resulted in a great song. I would recommend the same. If you have a line with a specific person of place in it, change it to the relationship or idea, if you see what I mean?
Try using metaphors. Now, be selective with your metaphors and let them fit the song, of course. Don't try to fit your song to a few metaphors. Fit the metaphors to the song, instead. But just mess around with metaphors.

For instance, instead of saying "I feel great being around my girlfriend", I could say "I feel like I'm walking on clouds when I'm with her". Notice how I didn't make up a super vague metaphor there. You still know exactly what I'm talking about; the 2nd phrasing also uses the vague word "her". Things like that.

Edit: What's up with these March '12 trolls up in here?!
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Mar 9, 2012,
What's wrong with literal? I mean, it would be boring if everyone wrote in vagueness...
Hey Aussiepage, I'd like to give you a straight answer (not involving getting drunk, though that's fun too).

It's great that you notice you have this problem; that's the first problem.

The best formula is: Vagueness at the start ---> Specific at the end
This makes the listener wonder what the song is long enough to stick around to hear the ending, and they'll be guessing about what the song is about.

Listen to John Mayer's Continuum album, he does a great job at this:

"Belief is a beautiful armor/but makes for the heaviest sword"

It's vague, but still talking about "real" things, like armor and sword.
There's a balance between using vague words, but still "keeping it real" to avoid losing them.

Hope this helps
Sometimes when I have a complex story to tell, I just limit what I say in the story.

If, for example, you broke the story up into slides/segments of the story: just eliminate some that are in between major parts.

This lets the audience "fill in the blanks" as to your whole song/lyrics/story
*Refer to yourself as "he" or "she" and write your lyrics in the 3rd person rather than always saying "I".
*Use more metaphors, similes, etc.
*Make references to classic literature, movies, or any other media people have commonly heard of, but without directly quoting it or mentioning the author's name. No, this doesn't mean plagiarize.
*Concentrate more on the rhythm, syllable placement (the emphasized syllable in the word should be on the emphasized beat in the music) and sound of the words rather than just on the content. You'll be forced to be less direct.
Maybe try to shift your focus from telling to showing the listener and add more description and imagery.
For example, instead of telling us that "he's a jerk" tell us about how he shoved you on the playground (the stinging sensation of hot asphalt; the taste of your own blood mixed with dirt&asphalt). People will come to their own conclusions.
As already suggested, I'd look for examples in great songs already written and learn from them. How about "Down in a hole" by Alice in Chains, it’s pretty much a summary of the lead singer's final years and feelings caused by years of heroin abuse:

Bury me softly in this womb
I give this part of me for you
Sand rains down and here I sit
Holding rare flowers in a tomb

'Sand rains down' instead of "time goes by"
"Holding rare flowers in a tomb" instead of "waiting for the end"

I would analyse the whole song and learn from it.
Like mzrp said, listen for things like that give examples. Its good to think of things that are relevant to what you're saying rather than explicitly stating them. For instance,

Sorrow was too much for him to handle

The weight of his heart pulled down the rest

Or something.
Quote by AussiePage
All my lyrics are too literal and, at times, hard to digest as a listener as it's like hearing a monologue. Any tips of "vague' out my lyrics?

The way i write my "emotional" songs is to start vague in order to make the listener wonder what the song will be about.

Over the course of the song, you're allowed to give off more and more information.

And then, by the bridge, you have permission to lay it out for everyone to hear. What the song is actually about.

You don't want to give it all away, or else there's no need for the listener to know the meaning of the song.

People like the task "figuring things out", such as a Sudoku puzzle or a 3D puzzle or a 2D puzzle. That's why they exist!d