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Ever have bad lyrics kill a good song?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by m0ntels, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. m0ntels


    Jan 20, 2011
    Quakertown, PA
    Our singer/guitarist demoed his new song for us last night, and musically it sounds like it can be a great song. The lyrics are killing it for me though.

    It's your standard song about a girl type of song, but the girl's name he uses in the song is "Gerson." I asked about it, and it turns out this really was this girl's first name. I asked if there was any way we could change the name to something a little more relatable and was pretty much shot down.

    I just can't see anyone getting into a song about a girl named Gerson. He said Gerson was named that on a bet and she hates the name and goes by something else, so even she hates it. I suppose I'll just shut up and play it because I like the rest of the song, but I won't ever be into it as much as I'd like to.

    Ever had bad lyrics kill a song you otherwise liked, either by your band or a band you liked?
  2. viper4000


    Aug 17, 2010
    Yes, every time I write a song :bawl:
  3. dbd1963


    May 18, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    Yes, bad lyrics have been the bane of most of my songs.. :rollno:

    ..and I'm the one writing the lyrics.

    In his case, he's being pretty immature. It's not a big deal to change words, especially to change a name. That's standard operating procedure.

    But convincing him of this is probably going to be way more trouble than it's worth. Let his song die on the vine naturally. If it really is a good tune, then he'll write more.
  4. Yes. Example:
    "The Fez" by Steely Dan.
  5. echoSE7EN


    Jul 1, 2010
    Balto., MD
    "Gerson" sounds like "Gerkin" to me...a song about lost love and pickles. I remember when a singer came in once with a song entitled Collar Blind (it was supposed to be deep; about class warfare, or being white collar, but feeling blue collar inside, or something...). Anyway, the lyric I remember was something along of the lines of, "Lost in this argyle dream." I immediately unplugged, and walked out of the room. I refused to be a part of such cheese.

    The drummer and I teased him for a good while after that, and we never had to hear those lyrics again.
  6. I love Judas Priest. Not much of a bassist's band, but who cares.
    I simply enjoy their music and especially that fantastic voice. Unfortunately, a lot of their lyrics are so cheesy that it almost hurts my ears.

    "Leather rebel, lightning in the dark, leather rebel, with a burning heart"
    "Straight out of hell, one of a kind, don't look behind you, nightcrawler, beware the beast in black."
  7. Deedubs


    Mar 5, 2012
    ask him to change it to the name that she goes by instead of her real name that she hates and dosnt use.
  8. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies!

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    Gerson oh Gerson
    Yes she was a person
    When she went to church, she put her purse on

    Oh Gerson loved gerkins
    She ate them at Perkins
    And when we played naughty, she would sure get her nurse on

    Oh, Geeerrrrrrrsssssooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!

    Grr, son.
  9. Oneirogenic


    Nov 10, 2009
    This is why I love my singer. He will listen if we tell him his lyrics suck. It has happened and he wrote better ones afterwards. If I ever have auditions for a singer in a future project I will have to require that lyrics be subject to change if the band doesn't like them.
  10. Metallica - Shortest Straw

    Megadeth - Kill the King
  11. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Man, I love that song!

    "No I'm never gonna do it without the Fez on. That's what I am. Please understand. I wanna be your holy man."

    There is a double meaning to all of that, and it has to do with sex, and birth control. Remember, the band is called "Steely Dan" for a reason.

    And ALL of their lyrics are clever. "The Fez" is a fantastic jam, and the lyrics make me smile.
  12. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    > Ever have bad lyrics kill a good song?

    Yeah, half the male-fronted New Country hits in the past five years. Straight outta da Papola machine, flavor vanilla, sweetener artificial, calories none.
  13. cheapimitation


    Mar 23, 2007
    Great lyric writers are much more rare than great tune writers. A lot of lyric writing seems to be just cobbled together so that the song can be sung, rather than coming from a need to say something. Then again, there's a lot of silly stuff that is still great, like "Louie Louie".
  14. tuckomf


    Jan 18, 2012
    Neenah, WI
    I can deal with questionable lyrics. After all, I'm a Rush fan. What I really can't deal with are some of the songs that try to include every stereotypical catch phrase of the genre. The Band Perry's "You Lie," for example. Singing "you lie like a coon dog baskin' in the sunshine on my porch" in a southern twang. Blech. Or the new Jason Aldean song "Truck Yeah." It's like he was in the studio and they had a brainstorm session about things that rednecks like, then put a jam behind him talk-singing the list they came up with.
  15. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    Yeah, I think it's all turned to Cult Of Personality now. Take country for example. Dwight Yoakam had (IMO) the most-thoughful, most-introspective lyrics in the history of country music -- lyrics that wouldn't tell a story but instead would say only enough to nudge your imagination into painting its own broad, deep scenes of what the song really was about. That's when a song hits you the hardest -- when you have personal involvement in constructing the stage and the actors and the situations. When that happens, you make the song your own. It was brilliant. But something like that today would get only blank stares and a quick, dismissive mouse click.

    Apart from that, don't we need to define "kill?" Kill artistically, or kill commercially? Artistic value and commercial value can sorta run off in opposite directions at times.
  16. TBrett


    Nov 3, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    One of the best bits of advice on writing I ever read came from Stephen King: "Always be prepared to kill your darlings." It's really important to stay as objective as possible about your work. You might be in love with a particular line, but when you step back and read it over in context with the rest of the piece, maybe it doesn't fit so well. Maybe you're not really saying what you need to say there, or maybe the way you're saying it is cliche. Never force a rhyme for the sake of it. I think it's also important to be open to comments from the other band members. As the lyricist for our band, I'm fortunate that I generally receive nothing but praise. But if someone had a problem with something I'd written, for sure I'd go back and re-think it. As an original band, it's essential that we're always putting our best work out there. No room for ego or insecurity. However, having said that, we got a small criticism from a Universal A&R assist once, who said our songs weren't hooky enough. There's always a fine line in songwriting between intelligence and catchiness.
  17. Arvin

    Arvin Underwound Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2008
    On the bench
    Thanks for that -- choked on my coffee for a minute. :bassist:
  18. m0ntels


    Jan 20, 2011
    Quakertown, PA
    The Gerson song on this thread is great. If our song was supposed to be funny like that, I'd be fine with that. I should have made a thread for people to post pictures of what they think a girl named Gerson would look like. Feel free to do so!
  19. Beersurgeon


    Jul 16, 2010
    Two words..... Frank Zappa. He always had very strange lyrics!
  20. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI

    One reason I don't do original music. My lyrics are just plain dumb.

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