Lyrics are the main way you communicate with your audience, but it’s not the only way. What we do with chord progressions, melodic shape, rhythm, and the basic mood we convey with all of those elements, all work together to communicate something to the listener. But lyrics probably stand as the most important way we have of expressing the basic details and narrative of a song’s topic.
For many songwriters, there seems to be a perceived need, almost an urge, to have the lyrics rhyme. But it’s better to focus on the primary goal of a good lyric: to convey a dual message to the listener. Whether the lyric rhymes should be secondary.
So what is the dual message? The first part of that message is the narrative: in other words, you need to tell the listener what’s going on. That’s the job of the verse lyric. A song’s verse will spend most of its time describing events, people, places, and things. It gives the audience the background, the very reason for the song’s existence.
The second part of the message is the emotional reaction: how you, as the songwriter (singer, actually) feel about these events, people, places and things. And it needs to do so with words that are emotion-laden, not necessarily clever.
Secondary to these structural concerns is the question of whether or not a lyric rhymes. Rhyming schemes can be predictable AABB formats, where each line is followed by a lyric that rhymes, or something more creative:
Of every head he’s had the pleasure to know.
And all the people that come and go
Stop and say hello.
The danger of rhyming lyrics is when the rhyming seems forced. If you find yourself giving up on a more natural way of saying something in favour of a rhyming but forced lyric, you can make your song seem a bit corny.
So the advice here is that if you use rhyming words in your lyric, be sure to look it over carefully and make sure that the rhyming appears instinctive on some level, and allows the song to flow naturally.
-Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website.