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Wednesday, January 28, 2015
10 Most Common Lyric Writing Mistakes
I just read this on the Dallas Songwriter's Website, so I thought I'd pass it on to all my fellow musicians, songwriters and music lovers. This is the kind of stuff we songwriters think about all the time....pretty funny if you think about it. I find myself rhyming things in my head all day, (what rhymes with confused? unused?) and thinking about unusual ways to say the same thing, but only a bit differently. I think all kinds of writers must run up against this. Of course we all get Writer's Block from time to time, even us songwriters, but we also can get what I call Melody Block :)
Anyways, here's the list of common lyric writing mistakes. I agree with each one wholeheartedly, but I could also add that you also probably need to write about something that people are actually interested in reading about or listening to. For example you wouldn't want to read about your Grandma's old car or something, but maybe about all the memories and feelings whenever you think of Grandma's house.
Step back and take a careful look at your lyric. One or more of the mistakes below may keep your baby out of the winner’s circle.
Song idea is overdone without a fresh approach. Most common theme is the “You done me wrong and I’m leaving you.”
Lyric is riddled with clichés. Love songs can be the worst offenders. A song contest judge or publisher in particular will toss out the song in a heartbeat, (pardon the cliché’) if the lyric has them.
Lyric is not conversational. It’s not believable if the artist is using words not commonly expressed or sentences are broken or convoluted or forced.
Missing a clear hook, has more than one hook, and/or verses or chorus do not set up and lead to hook. Hook is weak.
Lyric is outdated. Words, mannerisms, ideas seem to come from a past decade or so ago.
Lyric is preachy or philosophical or distant. Doesn’t reach you on a personal level.
Uninteresting, predictable rhyme scheme (lines 1 and 2 rhyme, 3 and 4 rhyme, rhyme scheme in verses same as chorus. Rhythm/line lengths same throughout. No variation gets very boring – difficult to write a melody that’s interesting when written this way.
Long verses, too many verses, long chorus - redundant, lengthy, wordy, etc. Main idea of song is not understood by time you get to chorus, takes too long to get to chorus.
Lack of visual imagery. Lyric is telling when it should be showing.
No movement from verse to verse.You could change their place and it doesn’t affect the song. Chorus doesn’t conclude. Bridge doesn’t do what it is supposed to do.