What makes good song lyrics?

Songwriting, songwriters, etc

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superflux
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Re: What makes good song lyrics?

Post by superflux » Fri Dec 23, 2005 12:11 pm

Matto,You must never sleep!Thanks for setting me straight on that. I haven'tbeen watching Nashville Star. I think I saw an episode where that girl Erica-Joe-Billy-Jim-Bobwon. I didn't think she was good, and didn't ever tune in again. Guess I will take anotherlook.It's still true that "Kerosene" breaks one of the cardinal rules; I just wasn't aware of WHY she got away with it. But that's why we have you. Besides, I'm not going to sweat how level the playingfield is until I can write a heckuva lot better. I'm justinterested in learning why some songs that defyconvention still succeed, both commercially and musically.

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Re: What makes good song lyrics?

Post by valeriewynn » Fri Dec 23, 2005 12:25 pm

Quote:I think I saw an episode where that girl Erica-Joe-Billy-Jim-Bobwon. I wonder if the real question should be, do lyrics even matter anymore, except when Taxi is reviewing your song? I'm not saying they don't; I'm just asking. The few occasions when I actually listen to the radio, I'm not hearing any lyrics that are above par. It may matter more in Country, but I'm not even sure about that anymore, with a few exceptions.I personally am a fan of good lyrics, but I wonder if most of the listening public cares.

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Re: What makes good song lyrics?

Post by hummingbird » Fri Dec 23, 2005 12:33 pm

hey, that's a good question, Valerie. I've been working very hard for the last couple of years to improve my lyric writing, because I, like you, am a fan of good lyrics. It seemed to me from the A&R sessions at the Rally that melody & groove & excellent lead vocals were very important. I think lyrics are just as important, but I don't think they are necessarily the first thing that catches the public's attention - except the lyrical hooks. I was being a little cynical in my previous posting... but, as usual, Matt put it very well.cheersHummin'bird
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Re: What makes good song lyrics?

Post by matto » Fri Dec 23, 2005 1:53 pm

Quote:I wonder if the real question should be, do lyrics even matter anymore, except when Taxi is reviewing your song? I personally am a fan of good lyrics, but I wonder if most of the listening public cares. I think the listening public does care...sort of. I think the general audience doesn't analyze a song: "Ah, unique lyric, beautiful melody, interesting chord progression, killer groove, original instrumentation, stellar production, amazing vocal, nice ass on the singer ..."I think the song is just "hot" to them, or not. All these ingredients combine to make a song, but exactly how they combine is different from song to song. There are many songs, particularly in country, where the lyric is paramount and the song would've never succeeded with a weaker lyric. In other cases the lyric may be a very small part of a song's success...you know...the nicer the ass, the less the lyrics matter .However, all other things being equal, the song with the better lyric will win.At any rate, you can be sure that lyrics are VERY important to the gate keepers. Taxi is just the first of these, and getting a song past the Taxi screeners is only the first step and relatively easy compared to getting it past subsequent gate keepers (publishers, A&R people etc).So unless you want to bypass the gate keepers (and thus the record industry) and take your songs directly to the public, you better believe your songs have to have great lyrics.Besides, as people who have the talent to write songs, I think we owe it to ourselves to write the best possible songs. Or, as Steve Seskin says: When you have a great idea or concept for a song, you owe it to that idea, to that moment of inspiration, to make the best possible song out of it. Otherwise that moment of inspiration is wasted.Not bad words to live by...

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Re: What makes good song lyrics?

Post by valeriewynn » Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:06 pm

Thanks, matto. It's encouraging to hear that lyrics do matter, since that is my (only?) strong point.

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Re: What makes good song lyrics?

Post by nomiyah » Fri Dec 23, 2005 6:41 pm

That's really true what you said (matto) about lyrics being important and what people react to in a song. Another example of gatekeepers is in the studio collaborating with other performers and producers. If someone asks me to write a hook or a verse, I better come up with one that is great. If my lyrics aren't working they won't make it in the song. They have to be original, have a musical flow and melody. They have to be so good that nobody can think of something better. And as a vocalist I have to deliver it just right or it will get erased to make way for a hotter track. To make things worse, it usually has to be done right now, not like I can think about it for a few weeks and hone it like I do in my home studio. That's one experience of a working songwriter.Cool thread, Dark MageNomi

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