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Writing lyrics

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by clanner, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. clanner

    clanner Token Black Guy.

    Apr 27, 2005
    ummmmm, marietta GA
    how exactly would I go about this, Our singer writes a ton of them and we both have poetry background, I'm trying to put words to some of the stuff I've got, but so far no go. not really sure what to call the style other than alternatve because It's not typical.

    mainly either pop/punk (falloutboy), Nirvana, Chili peppers, Motley Crue, or Guns and roses (sweet CHild o mone type riffs, except it's bass)

    edit, both the singer and I have tenor voices and can't go ultra low, I can sing anywhere between upper baritone and most of the saprano range
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I'm by no means an expert on lyric writing, but even experienced writers get nervous when they stare at a blank page.

    I happenned to catch an interesting program segment on the guy who writes the lyrics for Spearhead, and he was saying that he finds inspiration to write by looking around himself, taking in the realities of the world and then talking about it. He also added that he likes, if possible, to get all five senses involved. I thought it was very encouraging when i heard him say that he's intimidated by the writing process sometimes. If a pro like him, whose livelihood depends on that skill can get nervous and do it anyway, so can we.

    Also, he mentions that a change of environment can be very helpful. Sitting at a cafe or on a park bench or riding a bus can help get the juices flowing. Most important of all, Writing lyrics, like writing essays or poetry is a process. Don't get down on yourself if your writing doesn't come across like Dylan or whoever inspires you. Like in everything else, you got to give yourself permission to write badly and work up from there. In fact, write the worst possible lyric you can on purpose. Put it away for a week or so, then revisit it. You'll probably find some bits that you'll like.

    Like anything else, the key is practice. You can't get better if you don't do it. Get a blank book or something like that and write all your ideas and bits in there. Over time, you'll have a little stash of verses and things you can develop or add into your lyrics.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.
  3. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    All I can tell you is be true to yourself and put your honest feelings and emotions into your lyrics. Don't write lyrics that you think "will sell," don't write in cliches, don't write filler. Write what you honestly feel. It doesn't have to be profound. It doesn't have to be heart-wrenching. It doesn't even have to be smart or politically correct. But it does have to be honest.
  4. let if flow and don't judge it until later.

    i find my biggest problem is pre-judging my lyrics as they come to my mind - not allowing myself to flush out ideas fully - warts and all. write down whatever comes and save the editing for later.
  5. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central

    Agreed, carry around a pen and pad wherever you go, or at least some kind of writing implement. Write down things that come into your mind and look over them a few days later. I also agree that you are your own worst critic, especially when you're in the midst of writing. So give your lines a few days to sit and then come back to them so you can approach them from a more objective standpoint.

    You may need to experiment with your writing routine. Some people just need to sit down and write something to the end, other's cut and paste, some need a partner, some need to be alone etc.

    And again, practice makes perfect.
  6. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    IMO: Most rock lyrics (Nirvana, Chili peppers, Motley Crue, or Guns and roses) are pretty bad. Chillies especially. Rock music really isn't about poetry, it's about nothing... sex drugs rock... etc... I recommend being atypical and using your traditional poety ideas instead of "Baby, I wanna rock you baby" type stuff.
  7. i keep a small note pad on me at all times and leave pens everywhere. one of thoose cheap voice recorders will help a lot.also sadly strum some guitar chords to get a good rythem.if no guitar hum a rythem put words in each note.you can write songs on a bass i just found it very hard.anything you can get rythem on you can write on.some one said this already if you get somthing going try not to stop writing but somtimes youll have to go back a few days later and finish it up, dont be down on your writing and make it perfect just let it flow.work with somone that has the same pesonality as you. also write a short story about your song or what you are talking about and you can refer back to it and make sure your writing is on the same page as the story. hope all this helps.
    also keep all writing together i can remember i had all my songs on my comp and what did ya know it crashed along with all my stuff tabs for songs lyrics every thing so dont put it on a comp just write it down.

    o o o a dictionary and books like that broaden your gramer with words that have meaning but not stating it blatantlly hope that helps, some one that was good in english class can write well
  8. Fo' Shizzle

    Fo' Shizzle

    Aug 28, 2003
    Inspiration hits me late at night when I can't sleep. I've got a digital voice recorder I keep on my nightstand. If a phrase or thought pops in my head I just press record and spit it.

    I'll figure out the structure later.

    The only other advice I'd give is write about what you know and , more importantly, feel.

  9. retitled


    Feb 13, 2004
    forest hills
    poetry? psshhhh u dont NEED poetry...

    just an idea and a working vocabulery..

    i wrote a song about love and angst in my second language (Georgian... republic of Georgia.. not teh state lol )

    and i cant even hold a conversation in it lol

    just go at it.. get words and ideas down then tie it all together..
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Me thinks you need to do a little homework. The majority of Chili Pepper lyrics are incredibly poetic, meaningful, and say a whole lot more than just about any popular rock band Ican think of. http://www.lyricsdownload.com/red-hot-chili-peppers-lyrics.html A little help for your studies. Start with Behind the Sun.

    Back on topic. I recently discovered the way that has always worked best for me with lyric writing. I think it's actually the only way I've ever written anything I like. I scat sing a melody to whater chords I came up with. If I'm really just letting go a word or a phrase starts evolving. Sometimes a few completely different ones come up. Usually one really clicks, and once it does it sets the wheels in motion for the rest of the song. Thinking of something I want to write about and sitting down with a pad and pen have only spelled disaster for me. Some people do best like that. I've a feeling everyone has to find what works best for them.

    And shame on you again Mr.Till for dissing the RHCP like that. Did you do it just to get a rise out of us?
  11. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    A majority? I'd say a minority, they have some good ones. Let me take a few gems from that link you gave me...

    There was a lot more that I wanted to add that were too profain/sexual. I could do this all day though. I didn't do this to get a rise out of anybody, they honestly have some of the worst lyrics I've ever heard. They've got better... but far from poetry.
  12. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I knew you were going to do that. I myself think it's great that they write all kinds of songs, and aren't too uptight to put it out there even if it's not the greatest song ever written. "I want to party on your p---- baby", while incredibly trite and highschool, actually says a lot in a way that it's never quite been said before. As I stated before, the majority of their lyrics are still a whole lot more artistic, thoughtful and poetic than most other popular groups out there. I could cut and paste a lot more lyrics from that link than what you searched out that would prove my point. I'm sure you were out only to prove your point, and not to see if perhaps you might have been wrong in your initial statement.

    You can argue back if you like but I'm ending it here. They don't need anymore defense from me. Their lyrics speak for themselves without my help, and in the end art and poetry are subjective anyhow. If it's crap to you, then it's crap to you. What can I say.
  13. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Can we stick to the point, please?

    Another way to inspire your lyrics and songwriting in general is by thinking of an artist you like and pretending you're writing a song for them. I've come up with interesting stuff that way.
  14. It's no good at all saying: "At 10:30 I will write a passionate song with meaning." Sometimes (read:most of the time.) you've got to wait till the song comes out of your mouth and all you have to do is write it down. Well not exactly, you'll (at best) get a line, that's all you need, the hardest part is starting.

  15. Hmm... I don't know that I would agree 100% with Bushfire. There are writers (I'm guilty) who designate a set time during every day to sit down and write something, and they set limits on themselves. "Today I will write 1000 words," "Today I will write three/four/five stanzas," "Today I will work for three hours", and similar tactics.

    The rest of the day is when you acquire the experience and the life and the mojo to be able to sit down during that period of writing and concentrate on translating that experience and life and mojo. And during that period, that's all you concentrate on.

    That doesn't work for everybody, which is why not everybody writes. Having the idea is one thing, but having the discipline to hone that idea into something meaningful is something else again. It starts as art but it becomes a craft that needs practice and critical insight. No, it's not easy, but it is necessary.

    Bushfire is correct (oh boy is he correct) that the hardest part is starting.

    Blackbird's first post above is chock full o' wisdom.