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#1
So I used to spend a lot of time on the lyrics/songwriting board, and had this conception that once you write a set of lyrics, you're a good deal of the way done with a song.
This seems to be a pretty common misconception, so I thought we could discuss it.

I don't mean to say that lyrics- good lyrics- are easy to write, exactly, but they're dime a dozen. It's much easier to write good rock music lyrics than good rock music.
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#2
Quote by Mayge
So I used to spend a lot of time on the lyrics/songwriting board, and had this conception that once you write a set of lyrics, you're a good deal of the way done with a song.

Hmm. I think it depends. For myself, the best lyrics I've written come about at the same time or after the music. Ideally, the music tells a story/conveys a thought or emotion just as much as the lyrics imo. Unless you're rapping, you can't just have lyrics without music as lyrics need the context of a melody, although you could have music without words.

Quote by Mayge
I don't mean to say that lyrics- good lyrics- are easy to write, exactly, but they're dime a dozen. It's much easier to write good rock music lyrics than good rock music.

Good point, I reckon that has something to do with the fact most people are exposed to creative writing from an early age but music composition is often a new thing not taught. Also, when the average person listens to a song, they focus primarily on the lyrics/singing, not the chord progressions behind it or whatever. So then if they go learn an instrument, they already know lyrical expectations but may be inexperienced with musical creativity.

Sometimes if you can't understand the words it doesn't matter much anyway One of my fav Muse songs is Micro Cuts - the voice is just another instrument and you don't focus on what he's saying, I listen to the piece as a whole.
#3
I also have never been frustrated or overwhelmed with lyrics the way I have been with composing a song in its entirety.
Quote by mind_meld
Ideally, the music tells a story/conveys a thought or emotion just as much as the lyrics imo.

Yeah I think the music is good for creating a general feeling or theme, and lyrics can be good for quantifying the theme and putting it in context.
Like a bunch of minor piano chords give you the feeling that this song is depressing, but the lyrics tell you why.
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#4
Yeah, dude, you gotta work on your 15 minute space keyboard prog explorations.

Lyrics can suck a dick. They are basic Bitch stuff.
BOOM-SHAKALAKALAKA-BOOM-SHAKALAKUNGA
#5
Quote by snipelfritz
Yeah, dude, you gotta work on your 15 minute space keyboard prog explorations.

Lyrics can suck a dick. They are basic Bitch stuff.

I think we have the beginnings of a song right here.
#6
Quote by slapsymcdougal
I think we have the beginnings of a song right here.

Well I've often said
Lyrics would all be
Better off dead
Without music

And I want to see
Just how far
They go without
Melody


"MAN SONGWRITING IS EASY I JUST WROTE THAT IN FIVE SECONDS" -Jonny The Lyricist
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#7
Lyrics are a difficult exercise in taking possibly abstract ideas and conveying those ideas in an extremely limited form. They're little musical poems.

Unless you've written disc two of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulance, in which case you've written a short story anyway.

It isn't easy to write good rock lyrics. It's easy to write rock music cliches, though.
Last edited by Deliriumbassist at Dec 26, 2014,
#8
Quote by Deliriumbassist
It isn't easy to write good rock lyrics. It's easy to write rock music cliches, though.

Fair point.
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#9
Quote by Deliriumbassist
Lyrics are a difficult exercise in taking possibly abstract ideas and conveying those ideas in an extremely limited form. They're little musical poems.

Unless you've written disc two of Six Degrees of Inner Turbulance, in which case you've written a short story anyway.

It isn't easy to write good rock lyrics. It's easy to write rock music cliches, though.

To-nite!

Wooo-mohn!


We'll be drivin' down Sebulveda

With the t-top down!
#10
I remember a UG article that said the best lyrics and don't always make the best poetry and vice versa. So I reckon it's hard to write something that will sound good and fit the music if you don't have that already. It gave the example of the chorus of Sweet Child O' Mine - it doesn't look great written but sounds awesome when sung with the melody and rhythm it's in.

So, @Mayge, you have trouble with writing music?
#11
Quote by snipelfritz
Yeah, dude, you gotta work on your 15 minute space keyboard prog explorations.

Lyrics can suck a dick. They are basic Bitch stuff.


Exactly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4YRWT_Aldo
Most of the important things


in the world have been accomplished


by people who have kept on


trying when there seemed to be no hope at all
#12
I find myself able to write music easy enough and write lyrics easy enough but always separately for some reason (now whether it's good or not is a different story) but linking the two of them and making the lyrics fit the the music I'm writing is the tough bit for me.
#13
Make it easy on yourself and become a blues musician.

Verse 1
Lately I've been sad
But good thing I have the blues
My woman left me
So I play my guitar and I sing
And I'm not so sad anymore

Chorus
Ooooh the blues
The blues, blues, blues blues
I'm so lonely without you
And without the blues

Write another verse, throw a chorus after that, a guitar solo, another chorus, solo fade out.
#15
Quote by chrismendiola
Make it easy on yourself and become a blues musician.

Verse 1
Lately I've been sad
But good thing I have the blues
My woman left me
So I play my guitar and I sing
And I'm not so sad anymore

Chorus
Ooooh the blues
The blues, blues, blues blues
I'm so lonely without you
And without the blues

Write another verse, throw a chorus after that, a guitar solo, another chorus, solo fade out.

Verse 2
I woke upthis mrnin'
An' my baby had still left me
But i'd got some new socks for Christmas
And they were real ****in' comfy, ooooooooh yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaahhhhh
#16
i write good lyrics

this one is called first date

saw her the that night, couldn't hardly wait
she was out of sight, she was looking great
her momma said "alright, you kids don't stay out too late"
off into to the night, on our very first date

on our first date *guitar lick*
yeah yeah our first date *guitar lick*
on our first date *guitar lick*
wish it would never end

i took her hand, walked her to the door
we sat there and talked under the stars
we went inside and we made out on the floor
wouldn't have guessed that we'd make it that far

on our first date *guitar lick*
yeah yeah our first date *guitar lick*
on our first date *guitar lick*
wish it would never end

she went down the hall, to my living space
she gave me a call, wanted to skip third base
i watched her pants fall, my heart started to race
as i saw her balls, erection just inches from my face

on our first date *guitar lick*
yeah yeah our first date *guitar lick*
on our first date *guitar lick*
it was the first time that it i ever took it in the rear end
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#17
Quote by theogonia777
i write good lyrics

this one is called first date

saw her the that night, couldn't hardly wait
she was out of sight, she was looking great
her momma said "alright, you kids don't stay out too late"
off into to the night, on our very first date

on our first date *guitar lick*
yeah yeah our first date *guitar lick*
on our first date *guitar lick*
wish it would never end

i took her hand, walked her to the door
we sat there and talked under the stars
we went inside and we made out on the floor
wouldn't have guessed that we'd make it that far

on our first date *guitar lick*
yeah yeah our first date *guitar lick*
on our first date *guitar lick*
wish it would never end

she went down the hall, to my living space
she gave me a call, wanted to skip third base
i watched her pants fall, my heart started to race
as i saw her balls, erection just inches from my face

on our first date *guitar lick*
yeah yeah our first date *guitar lick*
on our first date *guitar lick*
it was the first time that it i ever took it in the rear end

That guitar is gonna be quite damp from all the licking.
#18
that's not gonna be the only thing damp

naw mean
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#19
inb4 "the dumb are mostly intrigued by the drum"


Even 'dumb' lyrics are great though. You can have simple words convey powerful ideas, which is why Lady Gaga and Katy Perry are huge in non-English speaking countries (and truthfully amazing songwriters)
.
#20
This song is deep on so many levels that it is truly mind-boggling (but some YouTube commenters just can't understand/appreciate the artistry)

http://youtu.be/7RMQksXpQSk


Not to mention I love this song (and 197 million ppl agree with me so lol off the haters)
.
#22
Quote by Mayge
It's much easier to write good rock music lyrics than good rock music.

#23
Quote by mind_meld
I remember a UG article that said the best lyrics and don't always make the best poetry and vice versa. So I reckon it's hard to write something that will sound good and fit the music if you don't have that already. It gave the example of the chorus of Sweet Child O' Mine - it doesn't look great written but sounds awesome when sung with the melody and rhythm it's in.

So, @Mayge, you have trouble with writing music?

Yeah. I'm sort of the only one in my band pulling weight on the composing end of things, so I've got to write melody, progression and harmonies-- on three different instruments and vocals.
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#24
Quote by theogonia777
that's not gonna be the only thing damp

naw mean

JFC, it's the first date. What kind of heathen are you?
#25
When it comes to both music and lyrics, what's "good" is highly subjective. My favorite lyrics tend to be simple and heartfelt. Not necessarily cliche or "poemy," but portraying raw feelings through words that anyone might use.
#27
Quote by Mayge
Yeah. I'm sort of the only one in my band pulling weight on the composing end of things, so I've got to write melody, progression and harmonies-- on three different instruments and vocals.

*coughs* man that's a lot of work... Well I often start with a concept or a few chords, then play around with that. Sometimes it sounds really basic and boring but then I might add a bass line around the chords. Then a counter melody. Basically what I'm getting at is that complexity and creativity can come from something simple.
#28
Quote by chrismendiola
JFC, it's the first date. What kind of heathen are you?

The kind that apparently doesn't insist on pointless small talk before taking it up the pooper.

At least, if those lyrics are anything to go by, which they may not
#29
Quote by mind_meld
*coughs* man that's a lot of work... Well I often start with a concept or a few chords, then play around with that. Sometimes it sounds really basic and boring but then I might add a bass line around the chords. Then a counter melody. Basically what I'm getting at is that complexity and creativity can come from something simple.

Yeah I get that. The last thing I wrote, I started with a basic bass line and made it more complex, then just took the main bass progression or whatever as roots for the rhythm guitar chords.
I have trouble writing lead parts, but it's coming along.
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#30
Quote by Mayge
Yeah. I'm sort of the only one in my band pulling weight on the composing end of things, so I've got to write melody, progression and harmonies-- on three different instruments and vocals.


by any chance would one of those instruments happen to be the world's smallest violin
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#32
Quote by Deliriumbassist
Doubtful, as I was playing it when reading that post.

Followed by calling the emergency waaaaaahmbulance.


imagine if he had actually had to write for 4 instruments and the vocals

could he handle it
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#34
it would probably involve yakety sax and a mountain full of instruments falling on him
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#35
And then being chased by said instruments in an inexplicable corridor full of doors that apparently have teleportation portals. They eventually get turned around so he's chasing the instruments until they realise their mistake. Shortly after, he sets a trap, only to find that the evil violin is actually old man Withers, trying to scare everyone off the farmland so he can claim it for himself. His fellow trombone in crime then voices it's displeasure with the well known two note downwards legatos.
#36
Quote by Deliriumbassist
And then being chased by said instruments in an inexplicable corridor full of doors that apparently have teleportation portals. They eventually get turned around so he's chasing the instruments until they realise their mistake. Shortly after, he sets a trap, only to find that the evil violin is actually old man Withers, trying to scare everyone off the farmland so he can claim it for himself. His fellow trombone in crime then voices it's displeasure with the well known two note downwards legatos.

Zoiks!
#37
My favourite songs are those in which the lyrics tell and story and also let you feel the emotions that the songwriter is feeling.

Top example of this is All Too Well by my favourite solo artist, Taylor Swift. The lyrics in this song tell a real story and wax and wane in intensity and emotions - metaphors and literal lyrics are used together to paint a picture of the events in a visual sense as well as painting a picture of emotions. This song tells the story of a brilliant relationship went wrong from a retrospective perspective. There's climaxes and peaks in the song and it just gets me feeling teary eyed all of the time. That's effective lyricism in my opinion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gFugRKNrmo

But I think the lyrics and the melody have to be linked together. There's a lot of songs with lyrics that look good on paper but are rubbish because they're just slapped on a crappy piece of music.

longing rusted furnace daybreak seventeen benign nine homecoming one freight car
Last edited by EndTheRapture51 at Dec 28, 2014,
#38
Quote by EndTheRapture51
My favourite songs are those in which the lyrics tell and story and also let you feel the emotions that the songwriter is feeling.

Top example of this is All Too Well by my favourite solo artist, Taylor Swift. The lyrics in this song tell a real story and wax and wane in intensity and emotions - metaphors and literal lyrics are used together to paint a picture of the events in a visual sense as well as painting a picture of emotions. This song tells the story of a brilliant relationship went wrong from a retrospective perspective. There's climaxes and peaks in the song and it just gets me feeling teary eyed all of the time. That's effective lyricism in my opinion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gFugRKNrmo


if you genuinely think Tay Swifty is good at it, have a good delve into Eddie Vedder's writing. His ability to put himself in other people's shoes and write from their perspective is amazing. Off He Goes is a song about him from a friend's point of view, how he comes and goes fleetingly out of this friend's life, and he's worried for Ed, of what he might go and do.

And Adam Duritz of Counting Crows. That man is a storyteller.

Genuine suggestions, by the way.
Last edited by Deliriumbassist at Dec 28, 2014,
#39
Tay's good at expressing her own feelings, but like listening to some of her songs after a break up cut me really deep. I'm obviously sort of projecting myself onto what she's written but her slower stuff is actually pretty masterful. I will check out Eddie Vedder now though.

But this song is quality for just conjuring up really good imagery in my head to the tune of an unforgettable melody

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqukWXviyew

longing rusted furnace daybreak seventeen benign nine homecoming one freight car
#40
Quote by theogonia777
by any chance would one of those instruments happen to be the world's smallest violin

Quote by Deliriumbassist

Doubtful, as I was playing it when reading that post.

Followed by calling the emergency waaaaaahmbulance.

You are free to scroll on by if you'd rather not read my brief expression of frustration at the fact that I am often the sole active person in what is supposed to be a group endeavor instead of being condescending asshats about it.
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