Writing Lyrics

Alright, so you’ve got a tune ready, everything is perfect, all you need is lyrics ("singable lyrics, not rapping).

How do you write them?

I’ve tried a few times, to write “serious” lyrics, goofy ones are always easy, but the serious ones always turn out even more goofy!

They turn out cliché and they sound good to start with, but the day after, it sounds terrible. I can’t even imagine what I was thinking of when I wrote it.

Anyway, anyone got any idea how to write lyrics?

Automatic writing.

Though this only works if you like abstract texts.
Also, you need to clean it up afterwards, filter out the good parts.

Harhar… just write down some text and apply these rules to it:
(Thanks to Pulsar for the link!)
I wonder how that would sound :P :P :D

Well, you say you have your tune ready and then begin to write lyrics.

I found it mostly better to start with lyrics, or at least an idea of the message inside it.
and then make it more alive with the music.
mostly when I begin to make a complete song, I mostly would change something in the music to make the lyrics more work b.t.w.

sometimes I have just a few patterns of music and while listening it’s easier to get grip of a mood/feeling
that the song gives you.
at this point it’s much fun to build your song further, because you can change lyrics and the music.

to ajust some passages in the music or change the placement of some words on the music it takes away the goofyness sometimes.

just guidelines, see how you can help yourself out.

good luck

Me? My lyrics sound pathetic. My lyrics sound unprofessional. Like disco. Boysbands. My lyrics suck. No matter how hard I try.

That’s why I use the help of my most favourite poets, classics or contemporary.

It’s easy. You pick a good poem, write music around it. Puff.

I guess not many musicians are at the same time good writers… :(

If i write poems i usually don’t write songs around it.
I have written one lyric for an existing song which worked out more or less and i have written lyrics without having written a song for it.
So all i can do currently is posting them on fictionpress.
If you have something nice on your mind for writing but don’t have the music yet there is always space to put it…

here’s mine:

I have to agree with the Doctor, writing the lyrics before the song’s arrangement is done is the way to go and makes for better songs.

I’ve written a stupid amount of lyrics over the years and it takes a little bit to settle in a style you’re comfortable with. I’m well aware of more cutting edge and exciting lyrical styles, but I like an artsy understandable style (which isn’t anything new in terms of technique). You end up creating rules for yourself. I almost never rhyme, unless a couplet comes to me in a natural hit of inspiration. Rhyme always sounds bad if you force it.

Another rule I have is be flexable with line length - you can worry about meter later on when you’re carving up a melody. Variance makes for interesting listening, especially if you use it to emphasise particular meanings in your words.

Never write words for the sake of writing words. Ask yourself what argument or message you want to deliver, and if you have nothing then don’t start. Always come at it with a certainty and that way you’ll write stronger, more vividly and emotionally.

Aim to catch your listener off gaurd with something original. Listeners are already bombarded with inane garbage all the time, you’ve got to somehow come out and say ‘what isn’t being said’, either introspectively or looking at some issue that faces all of us. Give thought to that.

Great advices, Foo?, been thinking about those alot today, especially the “catch the listener off guard” thing, write something original… this is probably the hardest thing to do though. But most certainly a valid point.

Thanks alot people :)

Hey everyone !

Yes, Foo have some valid points but I don’t agree with everything.

There’s no right or wrong in the question of order of writing the (M)elody, (A)rrangement and (L)yrics; there are 6 different orders and which one which fits the best is of course very individually :)

M -> A -> L (I’m normally here…)
M -> L -> A
A -> M -> L (…Or here)
A -> L -> M
L -> M -> A
L -> A -> M

There’s no problem doing lyrics last. As long as the message still fits the music it’s all right…

Also, I wouldn’t say that you must have something original to say. I mean, you’re still allowed to make another cheesy lovesong! :D But yes, originality is what “will win in the length” (as we say in Sweden.)

I’d never say that one shouldn’t write words if there isn’t anything new with the actual message… Actually melodies will sound more varied and better when there’s words on them. This is especially true when we’re talking about melodies with very few notes. Think of one tone and sing it with different vowels (a, e, i, o, u, y, å, ä, ö, etc…) and you’ll see what I mean :) … If that’s the desired effect - then why not go for it, even though the message behind the words itself isn’t great. I see the lyrics/leadmelody being just another instrument in the arrangement although often more in front than the rest…

I use to rhyme on every 2nd line (which is the most common.) Maybe rhyming lyrics can feel forced sometimes, in the same way non-rhyming lyrics can feel unfocused. In the end of the day it’s all about the overall result, if you think it sounds good - then it’s good.

Personally I love when the lyrics doesn’t make any sense, but have valid points “between the lines” (well, simply just lyrics with deeper meanings)… I often write them like that, I think they survive a longer time that way.


What is hard though, is to make lyrics that doesn’t make any sense, and not goofy.

I wrote some lyrics, which I made my friend record into the mic:

“These things I can not understand.
Words buried deep within the sand.”

Now, though, I feel bad for him. I think I’ve traumatized him.
We hardly speak of the episode anymore.
It’s something we both try to forget.

lol… It wasn’t bad, but not sure if the word “within” is suitable in that sentence - shouldn’t it be “deep in the sand”?. But then it would be problem with the rhythm maybe - which could be fixed with singing the word “deep” twice. However the style is mysterious/screwed up - just how I want it! :) I think rhyming on every 2nd line instead of every line is a more “secure” way to succeed though. So add two lines as line 1 and 3 (and the current being line 2 and 4), which fits into the content but doesn’t rhyme.

I’m also a fan of the mood between sad and happy - with the theme hope as underline. Here’s a little mysterious segment, which I’m quite satisfied with:
“When I’m walking down the street,
there is sunshine in the rain.
Some are happy, some are not.
I hope someday they will regain.”

Remember that lyrics can look goofy without the melody, as well as good lyrics can sound goofy with the melody. When both elements are together it’s another experience than just reading the text or just listening to the melody. Together they might work, or screw each other up. However if you get a feeling from your melody and lyrics, the odds quite high that others will feel that feeling as well.

I know a song which is awesome, with the lyrics:
Can you hear me?”

Quite simple :)

“These thing we cannot understand,
Give it give it give it give it give it.”

I like lyrics with some degree of rhyme. Find some nice words u like or would like to build a “story” on. Or listen to radio (talk) or TV, until you hear a cool phrase… and build something based on that.

I once heard the phrase, I’m not a giver, i’m a taker somewhere, so I wrote a chorus based on that.

I’m not a giver I’m a taker, and I take what i please

  • So please forgive me, U’re the one i need.
    I’m not a thinker, I’m a doer and I do what I want
  • I wanna do ya, Right here right now.

Kinda sexy song, but that’s common for the house genre. :P I’ll post the song as soon as i can figure out some verse to fit with the chorus.

I don’t mind “Corny” easy lyrics, those are ofthen the ones that will stick on ur brain becouse they are easy They’re also easier to make a melody for. Don’t make things too complicated. Abstract could work too … is not complicated, it’s just random. But if you’re trying to find some pattern in randomness, then things will get complicated.

Person 1: “I love Jesus!”
Person 2: “And I love him too.”
Person 3: “And I love bananas.”
Person 1+2+3: “Yeah, we all do!”

Oh man. Almost like John Wilmot, I suppose. To be honest, really, I hate that kind of lyrics. They’re shallow and rude. I can’t imagine a real woman that would like to hear something like that. Unless you find those one-night clubber bitches real women.

Come on.

True, you can do sexy songs. There are many. You can also do passionate songs (and I don’t mean love songs). There are also many. Some of them are even very good (Closer by Nine Inch Nails; The Perfect Drug by Nine Inch Nails; Loverman by Metallica - a Nick Cave cover; half of October Rust album by Type O Negative - most notably: Love You To Death, Be My Druidess, Haunted). Yeah, I know, those examples are hardly housy. But take for instance the vibes of Touch & Go - Would You Go To Bed With Me?. It’s great, and it’s not tacky.

You see, every redneck can say: “hey, babe, i wanna f**** yer brains out”. But this is not poetry. This is not lyrics. The magic is to tell this in a way swift enough that it actually works on your girl, and at the same time, is sublime enough to be enjoyable by other people.

And I personally can’t write poetry/lyrics successfully. I am much more successful in prose, though. But this kind of writing does not fit music very well. That’s why using poems as base for your songs works for me.

It depends, it does not really matter what you write as long as it doesn’t sound too stupid.
Women like to be found heavily irresistable and desired and if there is any good way you can express that in lyrics, you can excite many hearts.

But who said the lyrics were aimed at women?

I mean i’ve heard women rapping “Lick my p***y” as well… so talking about who likes to sing / rap or listen shallow lyrics, there is always audience for it.

If you want absolutely supurb house lyrics look no further than Karl Hyde from Underworld. He’s the king.

Absolutely, he’s a genious! And being born in 1957, he surely could have been my father!

You have to keep an open mind. We can’t start a discussion about taste. That’s totally useless. But if you put the lyrics in the real context, along with your original idea i think it could be a fun tune, with a fun video.

The pictures that was flashing throught my mind when writing these lines were more comedy oriented than serious.

Here’s a few pictures that popped in my head.

  • Imagine a guy arriving at an airport in a taxi, he checks in and heads on to the security check. There’s a really nice looking girl working as a security officer at the metal detector. After a few tryes he’s asked to move in to a seperate room, where the girl virtually leaps into his arms, about the same time as the chorus starts… That was “her” feeling.

Yes, this song is a bit shallow, but it’s not a love song. It’s about another feeling called, lust and desire. We all experience it from time to time, and sometimes you just want to follow ur instict and get carried away by it… That’s what the song is about.

And i got the full idea of an album worked out. A couple of songs in the same theme. Love vs. Lust. and on the cover, a female devil and angel making out. with “Health bars” on top. … like in Fighting"games…

and i was not posting what lyrics to write… marely describing a way to get an idea and work with it. Like i said, take a phrase u heard somewhere and build from that. It doesnt matter what style or depth the lyrics will have. If it gets you inspired and you have fun doing it, that’s the most important thing.

And for the fun of it. A few other “rude” and shallow lyrics i wrote that still has a bit i comedy or irony in it… all in the “love vs lust” theme.

[i]A song about daydreaming.

I had a dream about this girl, she came from space had lovely curls,
And in my dream i saw her smile, I looked a her a little while,
Then i woke up and she was gone, but i dont care cuz we were done.
I got layed and i feel fine, I hope i see her one more time.

Someday when I find this girl, she’s beutiful, not from this world.
I want her, to be just mine, I can’t believe that she’s so fine.
And Someday when i’ve found this girl, we’ll walk around with singing birds. I hope that she feels the same. Otherwize it is a shame.

One more night she came along and. I sensed there were something wrong.
She told me that she couldn’t stay. That she will leave before i wake.
Just like she always do, In my dream that i wish came true.
So i told her that the place to be, Is here in bed … on top of me.


Then one day when I was bored i heard a knocking at my door.
I looked outside and there she was, Looking good as she always does.
I let her in and took her coat, she grabbed my neck and licked my throat. We fooled around a little while, and then we did it Doggy style.


=) LOL … how’s that for corny and rude … Me and my friend had a blast writing it and we were laughing a lot when writing it. many female friends of mine we’re laughing as well where hearing it… It’s a really funny song, and that’s what we wanted it to be.

Another ironic song.

She thought you had, a heart of gold,
as pure as solid, but turned out to be cold.
You made one misstake, and the gold turned to dust.
All that you had, destroyed by your lust.
No way to undo the things you made wrong
Convincing yourself that lonely is strong.
Now all alone haunted by sorrow.

Tattered soul, stained with regret.
There’s some things in life you never forget
Ripped in to pieces, all torn apart.
How do you heal a missing heart
The hole that is left is empty and sore
Screaming for love and begging for more,
drained of emotions, driven by desire.
The game is called lust and you’re playing with fire.

(skipping a verse adn a chorus)
Once more you wake up, with some girl from last night.
with arms wrapped around you holding you tight.
Her skin is so soft and her eyes are so blue
she fills that hole when she’s smiling at you.
There’s something about her, could it be love
She’s all that you wanted, like sent from above.
A few months together, then slipping apart.
After catching her with someone breaking your heart.

Tattered soul, stained with regret.
There’s some things in life you never forget
Ripped in to pieces, all torn apart.
How do you heal a broke heart?
The hole that is left is fragile and sore
Screaming for love and begging for more,
drained of desire, sadness to strong.
The price you can pay, for loving someone.[/i]

here’s a clip of this tune. Still rough, but it could be pretty good eventually.
Will remake it in Renoise instead. It’s an old Reason productioin :P