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tell an exciting story and paint pictures with your words

These are the basic 'rules' to writing good lyrics as opposed to 'lousy' lyrics
- tell a good story
- appeal th the senses
- use vivid imagery

... whereas in pop and rock music lyrics should mainly 'just' match the rhythm of the song, be repetitive, and stick closely to the meter (the stresses, but namely in pop songs also the number of syllables=notes), the rules for singer-songwriter songs, folk, or country differ:

[just click on the picture to watch]



I smell trouble

One of my 'wordless' backing tracks is some kind of slow blues. It only exists because I fell in love with a particular guitar sound. Most of my backing tracks actually originate in my love for a sound or a riff. Anyway, this one needed a few 'bluesy' lines. Here they are:


I smell trouble
trouble down the road
like some dud shell
that's going to explode

I see it in your eyes
that your mind's wandering
I can read in your heart
that your love is fading

I feel it in your touch
that you are backing out
it's not hard to guess
what's gonna come about

I smell trouble
trouble down the road
like some dud shell
that's going to explode


Here is the link to the recording.

you can't keep the waves off the beach

Christian from Milano picked the lyrics. After sending and discussing his song draft we refined the text and added a bridge (that begins at "can I stay here tonight"):


your kisses were sweet
your touch was so skilled
you had me on my knees
I was done for and thrilled

you've entered my dreams
you're haunting my nights
I keep building up steam
once I switch off the light

you see, I'm a desperate man
and I just had to see you again
I can't get you out of my mind
maybe that I seem unrefined
if I'm getting too close to you
tell me, what else can I do

you can't keep the waves off the beach
you cannot keep me off your door
I can't stand you bein' out of reach
I got a taste of you, now I need more

you mess up my days
when I should do my job
'cause my thoughts drift away
it makes me look like a slob

you mess up my nights
get my mind spinning
you have set me alight
so I'm burning within

you see, I'm a desperate man
and I just had to see you again
I can't get you out of my mind
maybe that I seem unrefined
if I'm getting too close to you
tell me, what else can I do

you can't keep the waves off the beach
you cannot keep me off your door
I can't stand you bein' out of reach
I got a taste of you, now I need more

can I stay here tonight
shall we give it a try
pick up where we left off
or just have a new start
and not let go of our love again

you can't keep the waves off the beach
you cannot keep me off your door
I can't stand you bein' out of reach
I got a taste of you, now I need more

the empire (part 2 = the last part)

the empire's in the books
so you can look at maps
and dream of its past glory

you have understood
the history has gaps
but that's a different story

LIFT
the times of fame and fortune
your country's might and power
are long since gone for good

CHORUS
sometimes it's better to forget
to not look back but look ahead
if you asked me what I would do
I'd try to gain a broadened view

the buildings lie in ruins
all roadways overgrown
past grandeur but a rumour

it was no one's doing
as far as it is known
it should be seen with humour

LIFT
the times of fame and fortune
your country's might and power
will not come back too soon

CHORUS
sometimes it's better to forget
to not look back but look ahead
if you asked me what I would do
I'd try to gain a broadened view

BRIDGE
if you dig up the past
you'll wake up old demons
you'd not want to last

CHORUS [usually there is NO lift after the bridge that already is supposed to serve as a lift]
sometimes it's better to forget
to not look back but look ahead
if you asked me what I would do
I'd try to gain a broadened view

****

The rhyme patterns I use are

verses: ABC (C is a female rhyme!) ABC
lift: XXA ('X' means 'no rhyme', A rhymes with the A line of the verse!)
chorus: AABB
bridge: AXA

Different song parts should differ in meter (number of stresses) and possibly also in their rhyme structure.
Here verses and lifts have the same meter, three stresses all through, the chorus has four stresses, the bridge two.

lousy lyrics - part 2

"I'm gonna wrap you up" is what I understand when the song is being played on the radio at the gym. Actually it goes:

I'm gonna rock your body ["body" sung as ONE syllable - however that's supposed to work]
Take it down slow [also one syllable missing in the vocals, could as well just be "take it slow"]
Gonna rock your body
Don't they know? [sounds like "don't say 'no'"]

I'm gonna rock your body
Take it down slow
Gonna rock your body
Don't you know?
...

KUNGS feat. Jamie N Commons: "don't you know".
A huge hit. And its lyrics?

Not THAT MUCH of lyrics at all, and sung in a manner that you don't understand anything much anyway. Not much of a hook either. All in all nine lines of text in the four verses (one three line verse is repeated as a whole). That's it! The rest is repetition. Remember? Rhythm, rhyme, repetition! Actually, not that many rhymes either: slow - know, and in the verses: sky - lights, and: night - right. That's it.