Wanted to make a thread about what everyone thinks epitomizes poor songwriting. What are things (maybe examples) of elements that make for bad songwriting?

My short list: cliches, poor metaphors/similes ex. John Mayer "like punching underwater, you never get who you're trying for."

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Really cheap rhymes. Like house/mouse,we/be, you know all these overused words that easily go with each other. I mean, only if someone overuses them.
Songs being less than ten minutes long. I mean, "hello, it's been done."
Maybe it isn't poor writing but I really hate the overly cryptic, vague as hell, thesaurus-like vocabulary that are used for songs, particularly rock. You're telling me a story, not giving me a lesson.

And they all look around and wonder why rock is dead and country and pop is kicking its ass.

Just my opinion.
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Nothing wrong with expanding the vocabulary of rock a little. Who knows what words you know or don't know?
Quote by Jehannum
Nothing wrong with expanding the vocabulary of rock a little. Who knows what words you know or don't know?

I hear you for sure. It's not that I am afraid of words or whatever. It is when I get the sense that the songwriter, during the course of a song, refers to a thesaurus to use different words. It is a sense thing I get, almost like they are trying to hard to impress me with their word wizardry.

For some reason I always felt this way about Collective Soul, for example.
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Cliches, forced rhymes, terrible metaphors, shallow words that are easily deciphered by simply reading them.

I prefer music/lyrics that really make me think about what the song is about. I prefer lyrics that don't care much for rhyme but rather meaning. Once the Beatles moved away from their pop sound obsessed with rhyming in their early days, they truly stepped onto the path of greatness as their lyrics became more esoteric and complex. Rhyming limits you.
Sometimes it isn't that you try to rhyme. Sometimes it just comes to ya like that. Rhyming can sound cheap, but sometimes its just an opinion and style of writing people like.
When lyrics arent "obvious", a great sense of "less is more".

A good song is a song that means different things to different people, over different times. Also, don't focus too much on the lyrics. Music is never about a certain part, but as a whole composition and sense of flow in the piece.
When your words are redundant. and your song is hard to sing for its words in meter is excessive
-A really monotone melody
-song inspired by a pop song (songs that sound like Demi Lovato's, OneRepublic's or Coldplay's) you as a writer do not just revise music, you make original music.

+I think it's alright to use shallow words but use them in a way you add the appropriate words that can make it even more colorful than how it is usually used.
Last edited by pgm129 at May 7, 2014,
If it doesn't describe the picture like: watching her bleeding eyes killed me
But says: she cried, I died. It's lame. You have to be creative. Look up Pete pattison. He taught john Meyer to write, it helped me a lot too
limericks. that seems to be a cliche in rock and metal lyrics: it's more often AABB style, and they sound kind of silly
I think a lot of it depends on the intention of the author, and whether or not the songwriting tools they use are effective in conveying their message. I remember listening to this one really heavy band screaming, "everyone deserves to be loved!" and it struck me as a really poor way to say that musically. Not everyone likes screams, but I think they're really effective in conveying feelings of frustration, abuse, and depression.

Also, I think what makes a great song is that the lyrics have a strong unifying theme that shines through in the chorus, and is recolored and given greater depth in the verses.
I think a lot of musicians fall into the trap of thinking and creating a great melody - but forcing a rhyme - as said above
Often I don't have the words to put pen to paper half the time
Using the words "baby" and "honey" to fill in space in lyrics in modern rock might be one of my biggest pet peeves. Oh, and leaning on a catchy chorus too heavily and repeating it 5 times in a three minute song. That smacks hard of laziness and just trying to get on the radio.