What To Do With Verse 2 Lyrics

If your song isn’t telling a story as such, what should a verse 2 lyric look like?

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Writing song lyricsBecause songs represent a musical journey, every moment along the 4-5 minute timeline needs to represent something new. Since verse 1 and 2 will usually use the same melody and chord progression, the duty falls to the lyric to be the aspect that changes, that “progresses”. But many songwriters find that once they’ve finished verse 1 lyrics, it’s hard to know what to do with verse 2.

If your song is describing a story, then verse 2 becomes rather easy: keep telling the story. But if your song is describing an emotional event, such as a break-up with a lover, a tribute to a fallen soldier, an appreciation for family, and so on, verse 2 becomes tricky.

How do you create a verse 2 lyric that feels like a natural follower to verse 1?

You will find that with songs that don’t fall into the storyline format, verse 2 is often simply a rewording of verse 1.

A great model for this kind of rewording technique can be found in the song “Titanium” by David Guetta, featuring Sia. In a sense, both verse 1 and verse 2 are conveying the same sentiment: It doesn’t matter what you try to do to me, your negativity has no impact on me:

Verse 1:

You shout it loud, but I can’t hear a word you say
I’m talking loud, not saying much
I’m criticized, but all your bullets ricochet
you shoot me down, but I get up…

Verse 2:

Cut me down, but it’s you who’ll have further to fall
Ghost town and haunted love
Raise your voice, sticks and stones may break my bones
I’m talking loud, not saying much…

So why does it work to do a simple rewording of verse 1? Generally because it’s a lyrical representation of stress and release. Verse 1 builds stress through the description of a negative situation, the chorus releases it; verse 2 rebuilds the stress, released again by the next chorus, and so on.

I’ve always advocated making word lists when writing song lyrics, and you’ll find that that technique works well here. If you want to see how creating word lists works, read this blog posting.

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Written by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website.
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