guitar, pencil and notepad

Honing Your Lyric-Writing Skills

If you find lyrics are the hardest part of songwriting, the best way forward is to try to emulate the greats. Whenever I hear songwriters describing the difficulties they have with lyrics, it’s almost always that they feel that they’re “lame.” In other words, it’s not so much that they don’t know what to write […]

Foster the People

Identifying Your Song’s Climactic Moment

Most songs have a moment that can be identified as being its climactic moment. More often than not, it’s somewhere toward the end. Climactic moments are sometimes easy to identify: “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Paul Simon): You can hear the song constantly building, and, like many songs, is really a series of climactic moments, each […]

Singer in a recording studio

What Word Lists Can Do For Your Lyrics

If you write your own lyrics, I hope you know the value of creating word lists. One benefit is obvious: once you have a general topic, lists of pertinent words will give you the basic vocabulary from which you can pull together a lyric. But there is another benefit that you may not be thinking […]

Guitarist - Songwriter - Lyricist

How Much of a Lyric Needs to be Understood?

Some lyrics are stories, and so there’s a simple answer to the question of how much of a lyric needs to be understood: darn near all of it. The beauty of story lyrics is in the way you say things, and the imagery you use. There’s more to a song hook than meets the ear… a […]

Paul Simon

If You Aren’t Creating Images…

A good lyric might use clever rhymes. And it might use no rhymes. You might write a lyric that’s long and involved, or you might write one that uses very few words. Your lyric might be a story. Or the story might be only vaguely implied. You may write about love, or you might write […]

Sam Cooke

Coming Up With Fresh Song Topics When You’re Out of Ideas

Deciding what your next song could or should be about can stop your creative process in its tracks if you let it. You’ll be happy to know that great songs don’t need to be profound. True, some of the songs we acknowledge as being the greatest ones are about deep, philosophical/social issues: “Like a Rolling […]