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I hate writing lyrics, how can I get this task done quicker and with more ease?
Old 12th December 2015
  #1
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Polarelch's Avatar
 

I hate writing lyrics, how can I get this task done quicker and with more ease?

In all my music creation process, writing the lyrics is always the part that makes me wanna run away. Major reason why I didn't finish anything in the last 8 years.

Here's the thing, my kind of music needs lyrics. I make synth pop, with lots of harmonies and melodies. Usually I first have a melody in my brain, and I "hear" the vocals already, so I kinda know what vocal which note is supposed to have.

Now make that all fit to the rhythm of the melody, and in English (cos I hate writing in my native language).... it's a pain really, especially if it should have some kind of meaning.

Now when I personally listen to music, lyrics are the last thing I care about. Usually I don't even listen to them. For me, lyrics are merely there to modulate the singer's voice in order to make it support the melody in an unboring, catchy way.

I just struggle so much with writing lyrics. I don't wanna waste more than an hour on lyrics for a song. But it feels like I have to.

Now how can I make this annoying task less annoying? How can I get it done without that urge to run away?
Old 12th December 2015
  #2
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
In all my music creation process, writing the lyrics is always the part that makes me wanna run away. Major reason why I didn't finish anything in the last 8 years.

Here's the thing, my kind of music needs lyrics. I make synth pop, with lots of harmonies and melodies. Usually I first have a melody in my brain, and I "hear" the vocals already, so I kinda know what vocal which note is supposed to have.

Now make that all fit to the rhythm of the melody, and in English (cos I hate writing in my native language).... it's a pain really, especially if it should have some kind of meaning.

Now when I personally listen to music, lyrics are the last thing I care about. Usually I don't even listen to them. For me, lyrics are merely there to modulate the singer's voice in order to make it support the melody in an unboring, catchy way.

I just struggle so much with writing lyrics. I don't wanna waste more than an hour on lyrics for a song. But it feels like I have to.

Now how can I make this annoying task less annoying? How can I get it done without that urge to run away?

Changing your attitude to it would be a good start! If you don't it'll never get any easier or better.
Old 12th December 2015
  #3
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Have a really bad breakup. You'll get at least five songs out of it.
Old 18th December 2015
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
mittens's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by creegstor View Post
Changing your attitude to it would be a good start! If you don't it'll never get any easier or better.
I agree here totally...

force yourself to write and change the way you approach it...

I've been writing averagely for years, and wanted to try and look at lyrics and perspective differently so tried a few other approaches...


"Writing better lyrics" by Pat Pattison, is an easy starting point... gives you tasks and examples, and although cheesey at times it puts a different angle on the way you approach it...
Old 18th December 2015
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
Now when I personally listen to music, lyrics are the last thing I care about. Usually I don't even listen to them. For me, lyrics are merely there to modulate the singer's voice in order to make it support the melody in an unboring, catchy way.
there`s your problem
Old 18th December 2015
  #6
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Lenzo's Avatar
If you really hate to do something, are you ever going to do it well? As mentioned if you can find a way to change the attitude and enjoy it, fine. But if not, maybe a lyricist would be helpful, if you are in a area where you could find collaborators.
L.
Old 19th December 2015
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
it's a pain really, especially if it should have some kind of meaning.

Now when I personally listen to music, lyrics are the last thing I care about. Usually I don't even listen to them. For me, lyrics are merely there to modulate the singer's voice in order to make it support the melody in an unboring, catchy way.?
"Especially if it should have some kind of meaning." I once read this excellent article or interview (I can't currently remember who it was from) that basically discussed that not everything needs to have meaning or needs to be "deep." If you don't care about lyrics that much, why try to fight that?

To be honest, I think most lyrical development stems less from the actual "meaning" of the song and more from trying to create unique lyrics. Everyone has different creative processes, but personally, I've never started a song asking myself, "What do I want this to be about?" My tip would be to focus less on creating a message or lyrical purpose and instead put your energy towards lyrics that you've never heard before, even if the end product isn't a cohesive collection of lines. I have notebook full of lines I think would make nice lyrics, even if they don't at all relate to eachother. Then I have kind of a "hat" to draw from. Also, if you have a singer-songwriter to record the vocals, ask them for their input.
Old 21st December 2015
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
In all my music creation process, writing the lyrics is always the part that makes me wanna run away. Major reason why I didn't finish anything in the last 8 years.

Here's the thing, my kind of music needs lyrics. I make synth pop, with lots of harmonies and melodies. Usually I first have a melody in my brain, and I "hear" the vocals already, so I kinda know what vocal which note is supposed to have.

Now make that all fit to the rhythm of the melody, and in English (cos I hate writing in my native language).... it's a pain really, especially if it should have some kind of meaning.

Now when I personally listen to music, lyrics are the last thing I care about. Usually I don't even listen to them. For me, lyrics are merely there to modulate the singer's voice in order to make it support the melody in an unboring, catchy way.

I just struggle so much with writing lyrics. I don't wanna waste more than an hour on lyrics for a song. But it feels like I have to.

Now how can I make this annoying task less annoying? How can I get it done without that urge to run away?
I'll put aside my bewilderment at why someone who has little or no personal use for lyrics is dedicated to making music with lyrics...


Maybe, given the givens, you should try to find a lyricist-collaborator. This is a time-honored arrangement for a LOT of composers (and their lyricist counterparts).


I haven't read the thread yet, but I'll bet I'm probably about the 50th person to suggest this...

EDIT: Wow. Guess not.
Old 21st December 2015
  #9
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Phil Cibley's Avatar
 

Find a collaborator.
Old 21st December 2015
  #10
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I'm actually the same way. Not a real lyric guy, but some songs just seem to need them.
I write phonetically. I hum along and try to feel out the vowel sounds and number of sylables that work.
It might be an "eh oo ahh ee aayy" feels good to start.
Then just figure out what words sound like they might add up to a sentence, adding consonants.
Makes me think of "Let's go all the way"
Boom. Love song. Next line...
Old 24th December 2015
  #11
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
In all my music creation process, writing the lyrics is always the part that makes me wanna run away. Major reason why I didn't finish anything in the last 8 years.

Here's the thing, my kind of music needs lyrics. I make synth pop, with lots of harmonies and melodies. Usually I first have a melody in my brain, and I "hear" the vocals already, so I kinda know what vocal which note is supposed to have.

Now make that all fit to the rhythm of the melody, and in English (cos I hate writing in my native language).... it's a pain really, especially if it should have some kind of meaning.

Now when I personally listen to music, lyrics are the last thing I care about. Usually I don't even listen to them. For me, lyrics are merely there to modulate the singer's voice in order to make it support the melody in an unboring, catchy way.

I just struggle so much with writing lyrics. I don't wanna waste more than an hour on lyrics for a song. But it feels like I have to.

Now how can I make this annoying task less annoying? How can I get it done without that urge to run away?
Hi Polarelch,

Sounds like you should find a lyricist. I've written lyrics for a lot of different artists, if you want to shoot me over some instrumental demos (with or without vocal melody line is fine) maybe I can write you some topline lyrics? I enjoy the practice.
Old 24th December 2015
  #12
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GeminIAm's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by traumerei1838 View Post
Have a really bad breakup. You'll get at least five songs out of it.
Or in Adele's case: 3 albums.



Tip from me. I only tend to hate things I'm not very good at (imo). So, practice and improve. Also, say what you have to/need to say. If the answer to that is "nothing", then don't bother. Get someone else to do it.

Elton John don't write lyrics and he's been quite a bit successful.
Old 25th December 2015
  #13
Gear Head
 

Just write in a notebook, anytime you think of a sentence or collection. Of words you like the sound of.

Keep it with you all the time (the memo function on your phone is a great thing to use), then when you have a lot of these, just start pulling them out of a hat, as random couplets.

Works well for Radiohead etc
Old 2nd January 2016
  #14
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Polarelch's Avatar
 

Thanks guys, some great ideas there.

I could try to find someone for collaboration.. but I guess it would be hard to find someone who is compatible to the energy and flow that I'd like in my songs.

jerry123, yep that's exactly how I am working on lyrics.

BrooksReagan, thanks for the offer, I will think about it!

Btw, I now posted one of my newer lyrics in another thread. Feel free to criticize.
Old 3rd January 2016
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerry123 View Post
I'm actually the same way. Not a real lyric guy, but some songs just seem to need them.
I write phonetically. I hum along and try to feel out the vowel sounds and number of sylables that work.
It might be an "eh oo ahh ee aayy" feels good to start.
Then just figure out what words sound like they might add up to a sentence, adding consonants.
Makes me think of "Let's go all the way"
Boom. Love song. Next line...

+1


Writing lyrics may be difficult for you because it takes a genuine approach.

It's like writing a journal and you have to dig deep and get real sometimes.
Old 13th June 2016
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

I know what you mean, and I was exactly like you: always ignoring lyrics and assuming words are just a delivery system for the melody, which is what's really important. That changed though when I came across a few different artists who showed me that even straightforward pop can have lyrics that, while they don't amount to a literary masterpiece, really and truly contribute to the effectiveness of the song.

One specific example that springs to mind is from the Swedish artist Robyn, who is not terribly well known in the US but I think is more famous in Europe. Her song "With Every Heartbeat" is one of the first times I remember being genuinely moved by a pop song. I thought it was a throwaway, schmaltzy, meaningless title, but toward the end of the song, she reveals that the full line is quite a bit more affecting and unexpected: "And it hurts with every heartbeat."

My advice, assuming that everything is written except the lyrics:

1) Listen to a lot more stuff and find your inspiration.

2) When writing, instead of thinking "I can't do this," "Everything I write sucks," "I hate this," etc., try focusing on the feel of the instrumental parts of the song. Does it feel sad? Wistful? Angry?

3) Start randomly thinking of words or phrases that have something to do with that feel. It probably will not make a whole lot of sense at first, but you might be surprised how quickly the lyrics start to take shape, and before long, you may even be enjoying yourself.
Old 3rd November 2016
  #17
Gear Nut
 

Bob Pollard writes lyrics in a way that half seems to be for interesting melodies and half to remember odd phrases thst popped into his mind.

My idea would be to have a dialogue with yourself as a topic, write down everything as prose, then chop sentences you find pertinent out of it and fit them to a melody
Old 9th November 2016
  #18
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DistortingJack's Avatar
 

I genuinely think the brain of a great lyricist is very different than the one of a great composer.

You can wear both hats, but if you don't like doing it, I would say you're doing your music a disservice. You can get away with lyrics you don't like, but why would you do that?

As several people have suggested, I would strongly recommend finding someone who will write lyrics for you. When it works out things just flow. Your music will thank you.
Old 4th December 2016
  #19
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My best stuff usualy comes from standing in front of a mic, humming, sckating, vocalising, oohs, aaahs, until something clicks! Once that happens, Game Over! The song writes itself. Just my two cents.
Old 4th December 2016
  #20
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Having a purpose to your life is a good start. Else, why sing about it??!
Old 4th December 2016
  #21
Gear Addict
 
TheLateNight's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
I don't wanna waste more than an hour on lyrics for a song. But it feels like I have to.

I think you just answered your own question. Most good music takes time, my friend. I've spent (literally) days on perfecting just the melody of pieces. Once that's done, the rest of a song can build itself.


Maybe you can try starting with the lyrics. Write an emotional, silly, or thought provoking poem that follows a strict rhythmic structure. Then find a good melodic hook that fits that structure.
Old 17th February 2017
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polarelch View Post
In all my music creation process, writing the lyrics is always the part that makes me wanna run away. Major reason why I didn't finish anything in the last 8 years.

Here's the thing, my kind of music needs lyrics. I make synth pop, with lots of harmonies and melodies. Usually I first have a melody in my brain, and I "hear" the vocals already, so I kinda know what vocal which note is supposed to have.

Now make that all fit to the rhythm of the melody, and in English (cos I hate writing in my native language).... it's a pain really, especially if it should have some kind of meaning.

Now when I personally listen to music, lyrics are the last thing I care about. Usually I don't even listen to them. For me, lyrics are merely there to modulate the singer's voice in order to make it support the melody in an unboring, catchy way.

I just struggle so much with writing lyrics. I don't wanna waste more than an hour on lyrics for a song. But it feels like I have to.

Now how can I make this annoying task less annoying? How can I get it done without that urge to run away?
Lyrics are very important and more often than not we remember the lyrics of a great song more than even the beautiful melody. Learn that lyrics can be used to aid in the creation of a song - they can make a song so much more better than if it were just a beat, even if it were a GREAT beat... Please consider how much of a gift you could offer the world through lyrics. Don't allow something so small to deter you from making and releasing your art, Brother.
Old 17th February 2017
  #23
Gear Guru
I really hate writing lyrics. What I've found helpful is to write down words and phrases you like. Just do it randomly. Think of an image the song evokes like a dark street or something. The words will work themselves out, but always have words that sing right. Do not start with an idea and try to write away from the instrument. Bad lyrics ruin a song so they need to be organic. Concentrate on emotion and don't over intellectualize. Don't be afraid to juxtapose imagery. Again words you like that sing well. Dylan is famous for hooks. Like "Shelter from the Storm" keeps returning to it. Take a word and keep putting it in different contexts. Something will make sense if you give yourself a lot of input to work with. I'll go thru a whole notebook for one song, just writing random stuff until it makes some kinda sense. Easier if you have an idea to begin with....
Old 17th February 2017
  #24
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boombapdame's Avatar
 

@ Ardis why do you hate writing lyrics? Me personally I love it.
Old 25th February 2017
  #25
Ugh, even reading this thread makes me want to run and hide. I can't even get through it without this crippling fear.
Old 25th February 2017
  #26
I enjoy writing lyrics in my native language, whether it's good or bad. What makes it a challenge is when i feel the need to write the lyrics in english.

The feeling is there, i can imagine what the whole story is about, but to find a proper english words for it felts like... Solving a 3D puzzle made from a clear glass.

Sometimes starting by writing the storyline in my language helps, some other times it's just didn't work at all.
Old 25th February 2017
  #27
Lately I have been thinking of a theme, a concept, which creates a little box of limitation to work within. Say, right now, I am writing a song about social hierarchy; which came from a conversation with my best friend - we coined the term "Officer Demons in Hell". So every lyric has to be my experience with an officer demon in hell. Who is the officer demon, and how do they keep me in hell? What is the purpose of keeping a prisoner in prison, punishment? Power? Then I go about asking myself these questions and writing lines as they are answered.

I am not a lyrical genius by any means - quite the opposite actually. I am only just starting to write from a place of introspection. Whilst before I was writing from a place of heartbreak and pain. I find that heartbreak and pain loses it's allure, it's power, after a while. I can't listen to my old work anymore without feeling a bit embarrassed. I feel in my very early work, which I have removed from the inter webs, was all about emulating my influences. For the first time in my life I want to write things that are 100% me - and it is absolutely horrifying.
Old 25th February 2017
  #28
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brockorama's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by justinheronmusic View Post
I am not a lyrical genius by any means - quite the opposite actually. I am only just starting to write from a place of introspection.
Many who have been considered great, had pieces they sat on for years. It meant something to them so they fixed it bit by bit.
They also had many where they found the chorus or central idea quickly and the rest came very quickly as a result. It's a process and never quite the same twice.
Old 27th February 2017
  #29
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by boombapdame View Post
@ Ardis why do you hate writing lyrics? Me personally I love it.

I love writing melodies and really don't start a song with an idea. I La La the song out and then have to figure out lyrics that work. Really hard since you can write lyrics that make great prose but don't sing well or lyrics that sing great and are garbage. Bad lyrics ruin a song so extra pressure there. Ray Davies, Randy Newman, John Prine are guys that write super storytelling lyrics.

I want a song to say something and make you feel it. Hard to do and takes a lot of time!
Old 17th March 2017
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by justinheronmusic View Post
Ugh, even reading this thread makes me want to run and hide. I can't even get through it without this crippling fear.
It's cool, fam... Chill... Breathe.. All is well... Just do and follow your Heart..

Listen to this when you feel that type of cripping emotion:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfcA...U&pbjreload=10

It was designed to be listened to when people feel stuff like that, or anxiety..
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