Writing good lyrics is really tough!

telestratosonic

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I've been following all of the posts here on lyric writing. I'm 71. I have been listening to music all of my life. My parents always listened to music. We had a big RCA tube radio and we had electricity so they weren't reliant on batteries. We had a record player as well.

For you younger TDPRIers whose parents didn't grow up during the 1930s Depression or in Newfoundland, they were doing well. 'Success' was pretty much defined as having a job/income that put food on the table, clothes on your back, and a roof over one's family's head. A radio and a record player were icing on the cake.

In the fifties, it was Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, Peggy Lee, Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Perry Como, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Buddy Holly, et cetera. In the sixties it was The Beatles, Bob Dylan and so on.

I've been listening to "music all of my life". (I like my period 'outside' the quotation so apologies if this is not proper.) When I say "music" I mean the instrumental part AND the lyrics. That's what I'm getting at here. I have a real appreciation for a good melody BUT I really have appreciation for songs with 'good lyrics'. Yes, I know it's subjective and that one person's 'good' lyrics'may be another person's 'crap' lyrics.

But the point of this post is that after a lifetime of listening to the best and even the worst lyrics ever written, I should be able to write songs with great lyrics. Not so. I struggle with lyrics. I refuse to use computer-generated lyrics. I've read about such programs but 'no, thanks' - my lyrics have to come out of my pea-sized brain, lol.

Anyhow, that's just my two cents worth on lyric writing.

And while I have you here, have a listen to one of my efforts on my newly-opened SoundClick account.

http://www.soundclick.com/artist/default.cfm?bandiD=1478350
 

Hari Seldon

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Writing lyrics and composing music is a special talent and can only be trained when it's there.
In popular music the ratio between real composers and lyricists to those who do it anyway is 1:100.
Most put only together bits and pieces without ever having an original idea.

Don't be sad, it's normal.
 

chulaivet1966

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Howdy tele....

Ha...."writing good lyrics is really tough".....I hear you and I've said that many times over my years here.
I've been writing songs for a long time (BTW...I'm approaching 74) and still consider myself a work in process regarding my perception of 'good lyrics'.
I work very diligently on lyrics.
As I eluded to in another thread....if I've recorded it....I'm satisfied with my lyrics knowing others may think they suck. :)

Yes...one person's perception 'good lyrics' (subjective as it is) can be someone else's definition of trite drivel.
I really try to be as original in subject/lyrics as possible with my 'pea brain'....it's takes real focus to flesh them out which I try to do faithfully.

I'll check out your song.....later.
 

Martian

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Nothing wrong with the lyrics in your song. No worse than most. “A good day is when I don’t think about her” is the line that sticks and it’s a good one. Write about what you know, whether it’s true or could be true. (I’d avoid references to wagon wheels unless you were writing from a, say, 19th century perspective.) OR, wildly make things up. But to do that well you gotta like to write, have fun writing and write a lot. Bottom line, your lyrics in that song were okay and you managed to write a great hook with that one line; “A good day is when I don’t think about her.” Nice.
 

Henley

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But the point of this post is that after a lifetime of listening to the best and even the worst lyrics ever written, I should be able to write songs with great lyrics. Not so.

Join the club, while lyrics come easy to me,. it's so much more than that today. Context is harder than rhyming words...especially relevant content. I'm not so sure certain kinds of music, the kind I write for example, are not "Dust in the Wind". I just hope it comes back around while I am still around.
I'd agree with all that's been said...writing is hard... if it wasn't, everyone would do it.
 

telestratosonic

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Thanks to all who have commented thus far. chulavet1966, I've been following you here for some time and your comments have been closely followed.
 

telestratosonic

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Nothing wrong with the lyrics in your song. No worse than most. “A good day is when I don’t think about her” is the line that sticks and it’s a good one. Write about what you know, whether it’s true or could be true. (I’d avoid references to wagon wheels unless you were writing from a, say, 19th century perspective.) OR, wildly make things up. But to do that well you gotta like to write, have fun writing and write a lot. Bottom line, your lyrics in that song were okay and you managed to write a great hook with that one line; “A good day is when I don’t think about her.” Nice.
Thanks for your thoughts, Martian! Greatly appreciated. I belong to the country music association here in Alberta. I've put myself out there as a songwriter - not as a performing artist.

I nominated myself with the above song as Country Music Alberta's 2020 Songwriter Of The Year but didn't make it past the first round. No shame or what, lol! I wrote the song with the hope that an established artist might cover it as a Country & Western song, hence the reference to a 'broken wagon wheel'.
Jim

http://www.countrymusicalberta.com
 

chulaivet1966

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Thanks to all who have commented thus far. chulavet1966, I've been following you here for some time and your comments have been closely followed.

Thank you Jim....I hope any comments I've made are always received as I always intend them to be....candid, respectful.

Your song: I like it very much.
Why?
It has an intimate vibe to it which does work well.
Verse structure is also well done and repeated lines fit just fine.
Your vocal is up front and all lyrics are understood clearly.
'Sometimes I feel like a broken wagon wheel"....excellent line with good imagery.
Of course....in all my subjectivity :)....in the back of my "pea-sized brain"....I do hear a simple bass line and a trap kit using only a kick and some brush work....no snare.

(EDIT:...what!..."computer generated lyrics!".
Say it isn't so...never knew that darling app was available....I need to get our more....or not.)

You should be very pleased with this effort....I am, anyway. :)
 
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chulaivet1966

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Join the club, while lyrics come easy to me,. it's so much more than that today. Context is harder than rhyming words...especially relevant content. I'd agree with all that's been said...writing is hard... if it wasn't, everyone would do it.

I agree....rhyming doesn't always have to be exact.
They can be close enough in the lyrical sense as long as the 'context' and verse/story continuity is well expressed.

Did someone here mention 'song writing is hard"....I certainly agree.

Carry on....
 

24 track

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for every gram of gold there is a ton of crap, when the words move you get them down on paper you can always go back to adjust /change at a different point, but you relayed the jist of where you are going, genres dont matter you can always put a feel to any song , but the message must be consistant to have feeling
I use a rhyming dictionary , that puppy rocks, I havent looked at your lyrics yet , but i will ....
carry a note book with you to get the ideas down ,that way you wont lose them when they hit

just a suggestion!
 

24 track

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the song os well focussed and the lyrics are consistent , these are good things , I like the playing ( well done)

some times I get hit with about 5 sets of lyrics at once and I struggle just to get them dowm before they fly away on me and i loose them
 

telestratosonic

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Thank you Jim....I hope any comments I've made are always received as I always intend them to be....candid, respectful.

Your song: I like it very much.
Why?
It has an intimate vibe to it which does work well.
Verse structure is also well done and repeated lines fit just fine.
Your vocal is up front and all lyrics are understood clearly.
'Sometimes I feel like a broken wagon wheel"....excellent line with good imagery.
Of course....in all my subjectivity :)....in the back of my "pea-sized brain"....I do hear a simple bass line and a trap kit using only a kick and some brush work....no snare.

(EDIT:...what!..."computer generated lyrics!".
Say it isn't so...never knew that darling app was available....I need to get our more....or not.)

You should be very pleased with this effort....I am, anyway. :)
Thanks, chulavet1966. Sadly, there's no bass or trap kit. Yes, I should have put in a bass line. My recording skills are rudimentary. I used Garageband. I did make a couple of attempts at a drum track but gave up. As I said in another post elsewhere, I've been shopping the song around hoping that an artist would be interested. I also felt that by keeping the song sparse (mainly because of my dearth of recording skills), a prospective artist upon hearing it, might interpret it differently. Oooh, if wishes were horses.....
Thanks again for your honest critique.
Jim
 

24 track

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Thanks, chulavet1966. Sadly, there's no bass or trap kit. Yes, I should have put in a bass line. My recording skills are rudimentary. I used Garageband. I did make a couple of attempts at a drum track but gave up. As I said in another post elsewhere, I've been shopping the song around hoping that an artist would be interested. I also felt that by keeping the song sparse (mainly because of my dearth of recording skills), a prospective artist upon hearing it, might interpret it differently. Oooh, if wishes were horses.....
Thanks again for your honest critique.
Jim


listen to the roughs for these songs , nothing like the finished product only through developing the ideas do you get past your self imposed limitations



 

chulaivet1966

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Thanks, chulavet1966. Sadly, there's no bass or trap kit. Yes, I should have put in a bass line. My recording skills are rudimentary. I used Garageband. I did make a couple of attempts at a drum track but gave up. As I said in another post elsewhere, I've been shopping the song around hoping that an artist would be interested. I also felt that by keeping the song sparse (mainly because of my dearth of recording skills), a prospective artist upon hearing it, might interpret it differently. Oooh, if wishes were horses.....
Thanks again for your honest critique.
Jim

Jim....
My comment was meant as a bit humorous. :)
As in...."shut up chulaivet1966....don't be creating more work for me."

What you have here stands on it own and I'm glad I listened to it.
What's next amigo?

Carry on....
 

telestratosonic

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listen to the roughs for these songs , nothing like the finished product only through developing the ideas do you get past your self imposed limitations




Hey, 24 track. I know the finished versions of these songs very, very well. It's interesting to see how they started out and what one can make out of the "rough" song if one has the will(?)/dedication(?)/stubbornness(?) to really dig in and make it bloom, so to speak. Thanks.
 

telestratosonic

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Jim....
My comment was meant as a bit humorous. :)
As in...."shut up chulaivet1966....don't be creating more work for me."

What you have here stands on it own and I'm glad I listened to it.
What's next amigo?

Carry on....
Well, old dogs can learn new tricks it seems - if they want to it seems, lol.

I have a couple more 'rough' tunes that I've recorded. I'll try to put them up here in the next few days.

Actually, I was very self-conscious about putting my songs 'out there'. However, I started following this forum. Members were sharing their songs and lyrics with other members here. I said to myself 'what the hell", joined Country Music Alberta, the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) and put 'A Good Day's...' up on iTunes, Spotify, et cetera. The Songwriters Association of Canada has regional songwriters' get-togethers. A year ago, I would have shuddered at the thought of getting together with others and sharing my songs. That has changed. Since I started following The Writer's Block and participating, albeit in a limited way, my hesitancy over sharing my work has gone out the window.

There you go!
 




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