Author Topic: Lyric Writing Inquiries - What Makes Great Lyrics?  (Read 2706 times)

Lydian

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Lyric Writing Inquiries - What Makes Great Lyrics?
« on: February 29, 2016, 08:01:12 am »
Hi guys. :) Tonight I'm here with a few questions regarding lyric writing.

I'm curious about what do you guys think makes great lyrics? Also, if there are any of you out there who write your own lyrics what is your lyric writing process? Does poetry make you better at writing lyrics or do you think they're related in any way?

I write lyrics every now and then for my sister to sing over my music and I haven't been doing it long enough to really define my taste. I have noticed certain "cliches" that I tend to gravitate to or words that I tend to overuse. Often when I catch myself using these phrases I'll try to think of something else.

One thing that I've noticed is that I really enjoy lyrics that create some type of a scenery to the track. One of the lines I've written go something like this...

Shooting stars light up the night.
They'll follow you forever
Disappear into the sky
Make a wish across the earth.

What do you enjoy in your lyrics?
A young 14 year old me with a really bad haircut. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eMbftWV75w

FarleyCZ

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Re: Lyric Writing Inquiries - What Makes Great Lyrics?
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2016, 10:06:58 am »
Mind if I browse to different genere for this? :)
I LOVE lyrics by this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLSFAjh0w74, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFNsKNCf_H8
I love how he raps about stuff he really lives through. So open. I think music in general lacks this a lot.
Imho great lyris is relatable. When someone else can find themselfs in those lines. :)
"Earth is round right? Look at it from right angle and you'll be always on top of the world."
...but don't overdo it, because that's called being a d***k.

Lydian

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Re: Lyric Writing Inquiries - What Makes Great Lyrics?
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2016, 06:55:46 pm »
Mind if I browse to different genere for this? :)
I LOVE lyrics by this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLSFAjh0w74, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFNsKNCf_H8
I love how he raps about stuff he really lives through. So open. I think music in general lacks this a lot.
Imho great lyris is relatable. When someone else can find themselfs in those lines. :)

I agree that great lyrics are often relatable. ^.^ I also found the ones in that song to be quite pretty on paper.

"And the best fears of our lives
Can all come true if we let them
When all our heroes have died
And we all become legends
The best fears of our lives will disappear when it’s time
But I’ll still love you when your parents die
And when my parents die
Yeah ill still love you when our parents die"

One thing that I've been thinking about is the use of "themes" within lyrics. I've often noticed the theme of the song is found in the chorus which makes it easier I think to write for. Making the intros, verses, and bridges connect though to the chorus seem to be a bit more of a doozy for me.

Another think that I've noticed is that there are often different types of lyrics as far as what there goal is. Some lyrics focus on more of a story telling perspective like the Dylan Owen song while other seem to be based around a phrase like this one.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLSFAjh0w74

It really shows that lyrics can be extremely diverse as far as how they're written. Sometimes lyrics don't even have necessarily make sense! Some of the old system of a down songs I used to listen literally sure seem that way like this one.

http://www.metrolyrics.com/i-e-a-i-a-i-o-lyrics-system-of-a-down.html

I really like the lyrics in madeons nonsense. These ones a lot.

And don't you think that I'm a runner
I be coming with my guns up
Shooting at the moon to bring the sun up

0:45 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QTE_W5SMP0Q

I just think that these lyrics are so unique as in I've never really heard them in any other song. I think that's something that I like to look for in my own lyrics.
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FarleyCZ

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Re: Lyric Writing Inquiries - What Makes Great Lyrics?
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2016, 11:47:35 pm »
About Dylans tracks: Yeah, he can write stuff from several standpoints. This for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AwnyyEntJE ... is a pure thought. Not story too much, not based on a phrase too much ... it's just him and thought about his girlfriend. Love it.

About System Of A Down song: Those are like impressionist painting. Getting it all out there whatever "it" is. It has it's magic too.

About Madeon's track: That bit is awesome, but I can't get rid of the feeling this one is strongly connected to melody and rythm it's sung with. It's just a hell of a great bridge. ...but that's also important, to have a connection of your lyrics and the rest of the track.

(again biased by hip hop a bit) Imho great lyrics school is also good old Em. Come on... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOMhN-hfMtY Classic.
And another guy I just admire way too much is Ed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4BLVznuWnU ...also story based, kinda overplayed right now, but somehow different.
...or from new faces: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6bjwDFk8mo
Speaking about basing lyrics on phrases, I liked this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3-k-5KOduE
Or going into electronic music a bit, here's a really cool recent surprise: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR74ZadqjNA ...loving the honesty.
"Earth is round right? Look at it from right angle and you'll be always on top of the world."
...but don't overdo it, because that's called being a d***k.

Miles Dominic

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Re: Lyric Writing Inquiries - What Makes Great Lyrics?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2016, 10:26:51 am »
To me all of EDEN/Eden Projects lyrics are the best. They resonate so well with everything i've experienced haha.

Especially from his vocals on Scribble:
Quote
But she said trust me
These are the stories we will tell,
As I stood frozen,
Infinite I almost fell,
But I got a feeling
And my heart starts beating
A sudden rush of feeling alive
This is freedom
And I wont change
I wont phase out
I'm no ghost,
Let me go.

From Fumes
Quote
If all we have is time then we'll be alright
It's not much but it's better than nothing
We're running on fumes but we'll make it through the night
It's not love but it's better than dreaming

and from Times Like These

Quote
It's been a long long time time
since ive seen sunlight through the rain
since ive felt love or truth, its strange
but i left bliss back where i came
and i wont lie
its taken so long to feel ok
and now the world is screaming out for more
but i dont feel the same

track7

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Re: Lyric Writing Inquiries - What Makes Great Lyrics?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2016, 12:34:13 am »
I'm not a lyric writer, but for me.. great lyrics are those which get the point across very quickly. I don't want to hear you saying something vague for 20 bars, give us some information.. something which can stick in peoples' heads, make them confront an issue or feel better about themselves.

Lydian

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Re: Lyric Writing Inquiries - What Makes Great Lyrics?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2016, 02:50:06 am »
As overplayed as Ed is I actually haven't heard that song you linked. :P I must be living under a rock. I agree that the lyrics in Stan just take me onto the biggest feels trip. More so than Dylans only due to the intensity of the lyrics. The Xylo is very direct which is something I think is valuable when it comes to lyrics. Very easy to understand.

One thing about hiphop in general I think is that due to the lack of a melody the clarity of the lyrics maintain an even greater importance.

Then again complexity can be interesting as well. Like in this Jazz-hop track by Uyama Hiroto.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EkafAB-0SfQ

After reading everyones posts I think It would be fair to say that clarity and relatability are two factors that are of crucial importance when it comes to lyric-writing.

« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 04:34:52 am by Lydian »
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Joseph

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Re: Lyric Writing Inquiries - What Makes Great Lyrics?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2016, 06:11:36 pm »
Good lyrics tell a story, has a good rhythm, and most importantly, you should be able to swap the vocals with a piano and it should still sound good.
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JayRox

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Re: Lyric Writing Inquiries - What Makes Great Lyrics?
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2016, 10:00:13 pm »
I personally think lyrics should be (I guess with more art forms for that matter) open to your own interpretation. So hey fit whatever mood you are in. A little difficult to explain, but I hope you get what I mean.  8)
J.

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Lydian

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Re: Lyric Writing Inquiries - What Makes Great Lyrics?
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2016, 04:33:59 am »
I personally think lyrics should be (I guess with more art forms for that matter) open to your own interpretation. So hey fit whatever mood you are in. A little difficult to explain, but I hope you get what I mean.  8)

It's good that you mention this because this honestly brings a new topic to my mind.

Does being straightforward in your lyrics get in the way of the listeners own interpretation?

Some lyrics are obviously a love story or a party story. Other's are more on the verge of "Well what do these lyrics actually mean?". The latter are definitely the type that I feel are more out there for personal interpretation.
A young 14 year old me with a really bad haircut. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eMbftWV75w