Songwriter

Five Steps to Making Words Singable

Do you find it reasonably easy to write words (lyrics, poetry, etc.), but when you try to create songs with those words, everything sounds corny, random, and just plain bad? You read the words, and they sound just fine; you try singing them, and they sound a bit lame. The best songwriters are best because of […]

Songwriter - lyrics

Forced Rhymes: the Ever-Present Danger of Rhyming Dictionaries

Apparently Bruce Springsteen used a rhyming dictionary to come up with the lyrics to “Blinded By the Light.” That cleared up a long-held puzzlement for me: I was finding it hard to understand how in the world his musical mind was coming up with those lyrical images: Madman drummers bummers and indians in the summer […]

Joni Mitchell

With Good Lyrics, Subtlety Can Be Important

All the basic components of a song — especially the chords, melodies, lyrics — act as partners. Nothing happens in isolation. A good melody will sound even better if the chords support it. Lyrics sound better if the melody they’re delivered with matches the rhythm and basic contour of the words. Trying to get a […]

Paul Simon

Weaving Lyrics Together With a Simple Metaphor: Paul Simon’s “Kathy’s Song”

The best lyrics are the ones that sound conversational when you read them. By sounding conversational, the ideas you’re conveying are going to have the best chance for touching the heart of the listener. Conversational lyrics touch the heart because they’re more likely to use simple, everyday words, the kind that are usually the most […]

Guitarist - Songwriter - Lyricist

A Lyric/Melody Checklist for Songwriters

All elements of a song need to support each other in order for it to be successful. There is no one aspect of a song that doesn’t need the others to reinforce what they’re trying to do. Lyrics and melodies represent an especially vital pairing. The notes a songwriter chooses for the melody can reinforce […]

Guitar, Pencil & Paper

Summarizing as a Technique for Improving Lyrics

One of the most common problems songwriters mention with regard to lyrics is that they can sound muddled and aimless. And that can be a tough problem to solve. When you write lyrics, you’re usually trying to be at least somewhat poetic. And things can sound confusing and disorganized pretty quickly when you’re trying to […]