Even if a song is about something emotional (love, deep friendship, death of a loved one, etc.), it doesn’t work so well to have that lyric be deeply emotional all the time. If all the audience hears is heart-wrenching feelings from beginning to end, it starts to dull its own effect.
It’s far better to have emotion arrive in waves, alternating with lyrics that describe situations, circumstances and people:
This up-and-down pattern for emotional intensity does far more to pull an audience in, and make them feel emotions more keenly. At moments of lower emotional intensity, the lyric should be doing more to offer a background to where the lyrics with more intense emotions are coming from.
If you’re an experienced songwriter, you already know that the parts of the lyric that are less emotional but more descriptive are usually verses; the more intense emotions happen in the choruses.
And there is one other thing you should notice: emotions in general become more intense as a song progresses. That’s why in the diagram above, even though the line moves up and down, it’s also all moving gradually upward. In other words, Verse 2 is a section with less emotional intensity, but is often more emotional than Verse 1.
The moments of lower emotion are crucial to a song lyric’s success, because it ensures that the emotions the listeners hear from the vocalist have a reason for existing.
There is an important difference between a song that describes feelings and one that creates feelings; you want the latter to be the case. By making sure that your lyrics alternate between describing situations and then emoting, you make it more likely that that will be the case.
Excellence happens when you practice your technique. Gary’s 9-Lesson Course takes you through the fundamentals of writing good lyrics, melodies and chords, and helps you understand the concepts of great songwriting structure. It’s part of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle.”