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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


In pop and rock music lyrics may mainly 'just' match the rhythm of the song, be repetitive, and stick closely to the meter (the stresses, namely in pop songs also the number of syllables=notes). But the demands for singer-songwriter, folk, or country songs differ: here the listeners actually listen to the words that the music accompanies. These are genres where the rules you find in books about songwriting actually apply. These are the genres where your lyrics must shine.

Actually the requirements for writing good folk or country lyrics can be quite tough if you are an unknown artist. Because the accompaniments in these genres normally don't have a groove that gets people stomp their feet instantly as, say, in Boogie, and don't actually stand for themselves all you have to get the attention of your audience are your lyrics. They will give you about a minute to achieve that. If you fail they will start talking, order food and beer, and in the worst case just leave. This means that you practically only have
- one verse (the first verse) to win your audience over
where
- your very first line of text "sets the stage"

So make sure the first lines of your song lyrics are strong enough to achieve that. An of course you still need
- a strong chorus with a great hook
to make the song work as a whole. But that would just be business as usual, wouldn't it?


Here is a book that I recommend (but that should be used with care - it's very 'country'):

Writing better lyrics : the essential guide to powerful songwriting
2nd ed.
by Pattison, Pat.
2009, Book , vi, 298 p.