Peter Gabriel - My Body is a Cage

Making Imagery An Important Part of Your Lyrics

At its heart, imagery is a simple concept. When you write something that causes images in the mind of the listener, you’ve just made use of imagery. You could argue that imagery, therefore, happens all the time. I could say “I went to a baseball game this afternoon,” and you likely will get images in your […]

Songwriter - Lyricist

What’s Going Wrong With Your Lyrics? Use This Checklist

More songs are valued or rejected over the longterm because of the quality of their lyrics than any other song element. Take a look at practically any “worst of” list, and you’re usually looking at a list of songs where the lyrics are corny, stilted, or otherwise missing the mark. If you like starting songs […]

Piano - Songwriter

Lyrics Easy, Melody Hard?

If you find it hard to create a melody that works with your lyric, it might be that you find the entire package of the musical side of things (melody, chords, rhythms, etc.) to be difficult. Some lyricists are good at creating images, and saying much with few words, but when it comes time to […]

Do Your Own Lyrics Speak To You?

When you write lyrics, do you hope that they speak loudly enough to someone else that they sit up and listen — that they can get something positive from your song’s message? There is an interview online with singer-songwriter Jason Mraz, and he was asked this: TT: You seem like a very positive person. What […]

Lorde - Liability

The Laser Focus of Good Song Lyrics

Good lyrics have a strong sense of focus — of purpose and direction. It might help to make that statement the opposite way: bad lyrics wander about without being overly clear about what’s even being said. To say that a song lyric has focus means that it points toward a specific topic and doesn’t stray needlessly. […]

Paul Simon

Creating an Emotional Response With Song Lyrics

It’s an observation about lyrics that I’ve become aware of only recently: I tend to think of good lyricists as people who either a) make me think, or b) make me feel. Sometimes both simultaneously, (like you might experience with a song like, say, “Crying Lightning” – Arctic Monkeys (Alex Turner) but often one or the other. […]