Lyric Writing

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Jaded Rescue
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Lyric Writing

Postby Jaded Rescue » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:56 pm

Hey Lyricists,
How do you go about writing? Do you find that you tend to write from a certain point of view or perspective?

Lately I've been realizing that I tend to write the majority of my lyrics from the perspective of the singer/narrator communicating to someone (like the kind of perspective in which a lot of love songs are written). Then I find myself listening to the latest Weezer album, noticing that Rivers Cuomo writes some songs as if he's telling a story (the song Mexican Fender is a good example of this).

I don't feel like my writing style has become stale just yet, but I want to keep things fresh. How do you shake things up?

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TenaciousBe
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Re: Lyric Writing

Postby TenaciousBe » Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:04 pm

I almost always write from my own point of view, usually exaggerating feelings a bit for dramatic effect but generally, autobiographical. I do have one song, though, that I wrote more from the point of view of some of my various friends who had gone through different depressions and addictions and such, but it still came out as "I" and "me" lyrically. I've pretty much been stuck there and haven't written anything new in about 2 years, though.
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Re: Lyric Writing

Postby Jaded Rescue » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:26 pm

TenaciousBe wrote:I almost always write from my own point of view, usually exaggerating feelings a bit for dramatic effect but generally, autobiographical. I do have one song, though, that I wrote more from the point of view of some of my various friends who had gone through different depressions and addictions and such, but it still came out as "I" and "me" lyrically. I've pretty much been stuck there and haven't written anything new in about 2 years, though.

I feel you there. I've been writing consistently with my band as of late, but acoustically I had a pretty big gap of writer's block which I think was also about 2 years until I wrote a song that I finished this past August. I was really happy with it, but I really hope I don't go that long without getting something new finished again.

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TenaciousBe
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Re: Lyric Writing

Postby TenaciousBe » Wed Mar 14, 2018 11:01 pm

I think my problem is, my life got too awesome. I used to write as a way to deal with the loneliness of singlehood and all that jazz, but then I met someone and got married and had a baby and life got all kinds of good. And I'd love to try writing some love songs or something more upbeat and happy, but I can never seem to get anything out that doesn't sound like a cheesy monster ballad or a Backstreet Boys throwback. Then I feel bad that I'm still doing all these mopey sad songs when I don't feel that way anymore, but.. meh... it's part of my history so I still love those songs. Maybe someday something new will come to me.

The other part of it is just having time to sit and tinker and practice and write stuff. Now that life is more busy, I don't really just sit around and noodle in my spare time. Maybe I just need to make time for that kind of stuff.
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Re: Lyric Writing

Postby Jaded Rescue » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:07 pm

TenaciousBe wrote:I think my problem is, my life got too awesome. I used to write as a way to deal with the loneliness of singlehood and all that jazz, but then I met someone and got married and had a baby and life got all kinds of good. And I'd love to try writing some love songs or something more upbeat and happy, but I can never seem to get anything out that doesn't sound like a cheesy monster ballad or a Backstreet Boys throwback. Then I feel bad that I'm still doing all these mopey sad songs when I don't feel that way anymore, but.. meh... it's part of my history so I still love those songs. Maybe someday something new will come to me.

The other part of it is just having time to sit and tinker and practice and write stuff. Now that life is more busy, I don't really just sit around and noodle in my spare time. Maybe I just need to make time for that kind of stuff.

Late response on my part, but this is a good point. When I finished grad school, got a job, etc. things really picked up. So I haven't needed to use song writing as much for the catharsis/therapy that I used to.

I would say though, don't let preconceived notions restrict your writing too much. If you write something, and it happens to come out like a bit of a Backstreet Boys tune, but you like it, keep it! There's no reason to cut a song simply because of how a boy band from the 90s were perceived.

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Re: Lyric Writing

Postby TenaciousBe » Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:25 am

Jaded Rescue wrote:
TenaciousBe wrote:I think my problem is, my life got too awesome. I used to write as a way to deal with the loneliness of singlehood and all that jazz, but then I met someone and got married and had a baby and life got all kinds of good. And I'd love to try writing some love songs or something more upbeat and happy, but I can never seem to get anything out that doesn't sound like a cheesy monster ballad or a Backstreet Boys throwback. Then I feel bad that I'm still doing all these mopey sad songs when I don't feel that way anymore, but.. meh... it's part of my history so I still love those songs. Maybe someday something new will come to me.

The other part of it is just having time to sit and tinker and practice and write stuff. Now that life is more busy, I don't really just sit around and noodle in my spare time. Maybe I just need to make time for that kind of stuff.

Late response on my part, but this is a good point. When I finished grad school, got a job, etc. things really picked up. So I haven't needed to use song writing as much for the catharsis/therapy that I used to.

I would say though, don't let preconceived notions restrict your writing too much. If you write something, and it happens to come out like a bit of a Backstreet Boys tune, but you like it, keep it! There's no reason to cut a song simply because of how a boy band from the 90s were perceived.


That's true, and it's not so much how it's perceived by others, just that I feel cheesy. I've thought about covering some Ed Sheeran to make my wife happy but I don't know, I just feel like a tool for some reason. Haha. But I do love Stone Sour's Song #3 and that's a bit of a love song, so maybe I just need that kind of edge to it.
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Re: Lyric Writing

Postby Jaded Rescue » Mon Jul 30, 2018 5:09 pm

TenaciousBe wrote:
Jaded Rescue wrote:
TenaciousBe wrote:I think my problem is, my life got too awesome. I used to write as a way to deal with the loneliness of singlehood and all that jazz, but then I met someone and got married and had a baby and life got all kinds of good. And I'd love to try writing some love songs or something more upbeat and happy, but I can never seem to get anything out that doesn't sound like a cheesy monster ballad or a Backstreet Boys throwback. Then I feel bad that I'm still doing all these mopey sad songs when I don't feel that way anymore, but.. meh... it's part of my history so I still love those songs. Maybe someday something new will come to me.

The other part of it is just having time to sit and tinker and practice and write stuff. Now that life is more busy, I don't really just sit around and noodle in my spare time. Maybe I just need to make time for that kind of stuff.

Late response on my part, but this is a good point. When I finished grad school, got a job, etc. things really picked up. So I haven't needed to use song writing as much for the catharsis/therapy that I used to.

I would say though, don't let preconceived notions restrict your writing too much. If you write something, and it happens to come out like a bit of a Backstreet Boys tune, but you like it, keep it! There's no reason to cut a song simply because of how a boy band from the 90s were perceived.


That's true, and it's not so much how it's perceived by others, just that I feel cheesy. I've thought about covering some Ed Sheeran to make my wife happy but I don't know, I just feel like a tool for some reason. Haha. But I do love Stone Sour's Song #3 and that's a bit of a love song, so maybe I just need that kind of edge to it.

I feel you dude. There are some songs I hear on the radio or some things I write where I'm just like seriously? Did that just come out of me? :lol

It's the constant struggle of being a lyricist, I guess. I think the most important part is that we pay attention at all in the first place, though, instead of just running with whatever we write down first.

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Re: Lyric Writing

Postby Crumbso » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:28 am

I turned my focus outward with lyric writing once my own turmoil was lessened. Putting myself in the position of others and/or imagining stories. I still keep it personal from the perspective of narration but there's so much inspiration from events outside myself. I could never write a love song or party song but I certainly don't want to manufacture false emotions.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xv5umxob52gdykf/Disollution%20Revolver.mp3?dl=0

The above song, for example is about being pushed to bitterness by feeling powerless in a larger system. I guess you could say it's political (though no conclusions are drawn about political systems) but the focus is entirely on the personal feelings and experience of a narrator.

I don't know if it works but it's how I've chosen to break out of lyric cycles.
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TenaciousBe
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Re: Lyric Writing

Postby TenaciousBe » Thu Aug 02, 2018 2:11 am

Crumbso wrote:I turned my focus outward with lyric writing once my own turmoil was lessened. Putting myself in the position of others and/or imagining stories. I still keep it personal from the perspective of narration but there's so much inspiration from events outside myself. I could never write a love song or party song but I certainly don't want to manufacture false emotions.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xv5umxob52gdykf/Disollution%20Revolver.mp3?dl=0

The above song, for example is about being pushed to bitterness by feeling powerless in a larger system. I guess you could say it's political (though no conclusions are drawn about political systems) but the focus is entirely on the personal feelings and experience of a narrator.

I don't know if it works but it's how I've chosen to break out of lyric cycles.


I do have one song where I did that, wrote from the perspective of some friends of mine rather than myself, seeing how they went through various losses and addictions and so forth. I suppose it's still something I was sort of involved with, just not writing from my side of it, but still.

The funny part is, back in the day, I wrote tons of lyrics to random songs that never actually had music because it was long before I ever picked up a guitar. Now that I want to write songs, just nothing really comes out. Ah well. I'm sure when my soul has something to say, it'll find its way out. :)
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Re: Lyric Writing

Postby Crumbso » Thu Aug 02, 2018 4:07 am

I quite often give demo instrumental songs a name based on what feelings the song gives me and then work backward from there. Try and uncover what the underlying theme is purely from the music. I rarely write lyrics and then fit a song around it these days, it's almost always the other way round.
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Re: Lyric Writing

Postby Timotheus » Thu Aug 02, 2018 5:17 am

Because I was not getting songs finished I started limiting myself. I used to spend weeks on a song and then dismiss it because I couldn't find the right words or wasn't happy with the way it turned out. Now I give myself one hour to write the actual song, one hour to record it instrumentally (full band) and one hour to write lyrics and record my vocals. Another hour to mix it and edit out mistakes or add some extra flavor that it might need. I could to it faster but I think that's where the quality starts to drop for me.
The weird thing is that these songs are just as good as the ones you spent weeks on, and sometimes even better once you get over the fact that they are a bit more simple.

Lyrically I just go with the first sentence that comes up in me, and go with that. Sometimes the lyrics are horrible, but most of the time you'll be surprised with that you come up with. When I'm not coming up with something I'll ask my girlfriend to give me some letters and work around those letters.

Limiting yourself is the best thing you can do in songwriting. Even if a lyric you come up with isn't really "honest", it will still be the first thing you came up with. Afterwards you can always say: I do not stand by those words, so I'm not gonna release it. But at least you've written a song and learned from the experience.
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TenaciousBe
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Re: Lyric Writing

Postby TenaciousBe » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:48 am

^^ these are good ideas!

Another bit of my problem is just life. Back in my single man days, I could just sit around my house with my guitar, dinking around and practicing, trying random songs to cover, working out my own ideas. Now that I have a family (including a 1 year old), my time to sit around home not really doing anything is greatly diminished and when I do have downtime, it's late at night when the kids are asleep and then I feel bad playing and singing and being loud, so I put it off. I just need to set aside some "Brian time" and focus on practicing and working on music. I've always been more of a person to just let inspiration hit and then go track down the idea, but those ideas only seem to come like a couple times a year. Songwriting should be a skill that I actively work towards.
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