Here’s a quick tip for writing a lyric that helps to ensure that your verses are descriptive in nature, while your choruses mainly express an emotional response to those descriptions:
- Choose a topic for your song.
- Make a list of words that pertain to your song’s topic.
- Circle the words that seem to be mainly emotional in nature.
- Now create two lists. Write “Verse” above one and “Chorus” above the other.
- Under the “Chorus” list, write the words that you circled in Step 3 above.
- Under the “Verse” list”, write the words that you didn’t circle in Step 3.
You’ve now got some basic vocabulary that you can use as you create your verse and chorus lyrics. Don’t feel the need to stick overly-rigidly to these lists. It is possible to make observations in a chorus, and it is quite possible to have emotional lines in your verse. This particularly happens in Verse 2 of a song.
A good example of a lyric that deliberately blurs the line between emotive and observational lyrics is Morrisey’s “Let Me Kiss You“. The chorus lyric starts with two lines that really don’t rise to great heights in the emotion factor, but are quickly followed by two lines that do:
So, close your eyes
And think of someone you physically admire
And let me kiss you, oh
Let me kiss you, oh
The good thing about making word lists to help with lyrics is that they give you easy access to a basic vocabulary for your song, already organized into the kinds of words you’d likely use in two different sections of your song.
The more you can add to those lists, the better. And you’ll also find an added benefit to writing lists: a slightly different storyline can emerge from those words, an angle you weren’t contemplating before. Words lists have a way of stimulating your creative imagination.
Written by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.
The how-and-why of song lyrics… It’s part of Chapter 5 in “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting”, 3rd. edition. READ MORE..