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Can't finish my lyrics
Old 22nd June 2019
  #31
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 5cc4b50 View Post
Can you throw out some suggestions? Always love book recommendations.
'One Hundred Years of Solitude' older / Paul Coelho's 'The Alchemist' / DeWitts 'The Last Samurai' Calvinos 'If on a winters night a traveler' .... Alejandro ZambraI 'Bonsai' loved the alchemist/if on a winters...
Old 22nd June 2019
  #32
If you’re looking for good book recommendations and don’t like fiction, may I suggest checking out Svetlana Alexeivich. Recent Noble Price winner for literature—yet she is not a novelist but a journalist/oral historian.

Her book Chernobyl is riveting and could probably yield enough material for a dozen songs at least. Hmmm, now that I think of it, maybe I should write an album on it myself!

Her books are basically edited interviews of real people telling their stories, but presented in a haunting and compelling way. It reads like the best fiction—except that it’s real.
Old 22nd June 2019
  #33
Deleted 5cc4b50
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I love magic realism stuff like One Hundred Years and Borges. Those other three you suggested sound pretty good, going to have to hit up Amazon. Appreciate the recommendations.

Thanks for the suggestion as well Snail, I'll be sure to add Alexeivich to my list. I'm pretty evenly split when it comes to fiction/non-fiction, although lately it has been more of the latter. Been on a bit of a "meritocracy is a fallacy" kick the past few months. I love good writing more than anything, and as an enemy of the American people, as us journalists are so lovingly referred to (always kill the messenger), I really enjoy when people can spin a strong non-fiction narrative that reads more like fiction. Not easy to do well without the seams showing.
Old 22nd June 2019
  #34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 5cc4b50 View Post
Been on a bit of a "meritocracy is a fallacy" kick the past few months.
Have you read Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed? An oldie but a goodie.
Old 22nd June 2019
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snail View Post
Have you read Paolo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed? An oldie but a goodie.

I have not, but reading the Wiki blurb it sounds really interesting. Added to the list.
Old 23rd June 2019
  #36
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MMM... writing lyrics when you hate your boss are the best...

The best I ever made...try it...the best...
Old 7th July 2019
  #37
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
MMM... writing lyrics when you hate your boss are the best...

The best I ever made...try it...the best...
Oh ho ho love it! 'Richard Cory' has to be one of the best written in that vain.
Simon & Garfunkel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwqwAy85CgY
Old 7th July 2019
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
Oh ho ho love it! 'Richard Cory' has to be one of the best written in that vain.
Simon & Garfunkel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwqwAy85CgY
The lyrics I wrote working in the factory..Carvin, (yes the music factory)...I was in the guy who answered the phone when something broke... the service department.

The company was very religious...



I wrote half the song, and then the band did the rest. Bands are cool.
Old 8th July 2019
  #39
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisewagon View Post
The lyrics I wrote working in the factory..Carvin, (yes the music factory)...I was in the guy who answered the phone when something broke... the service department.

The company was very religious...



I wrote half the song, and then the band did the rest. Bands are cool.
Bands are cool - synergize quick. Nice song Sounds like the factory machine many humans are fighting everyday... like an audio "Metropolis".
Old 16th July 2019
  #40
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snail View Post
Two songs I wrote came from conversations that I just wrote down.
I've gotten ideas for several songs by eavesdropping, and some entire chunks of lyrics that I used pretty much verbatim. In general I need to spend less time in bars, but they're very useful for this particular thing.
Old 16th July 2019
  #41
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
I've gotten ideas for several songs by eavesdropping, and some entire chunks of lyrics that I used pretty much verbatim. In general I need to spend less time in bars, but they're very useful for this particular thing.
Eavesdropping is one of the super not so secrets... Love the backstory on MTV:https://songsandcircumstances.blogsp...r-nothing.html
I want my MTV Knopfler/Sting

I have written a few - and it seems you get such a great perspective when doing so because you have a little distance from the lyrics and overall content. I will write a few more. It also takes you out of the political correctness thing, Although I am sure they had to chop I want my MTV a few times...
Old 16th July 2019
  #42
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
It also takes you out of the political correctness thing, Although I am sure they had to chop I want my MTV a few times...
What they did chop was the entire third verse. The "little faggot" one.

There's a saying that, if you have to explain a song, it isn't a very good song. But Knopfler's label clearly thought he was going to have to explain this one, and try to make it clear that the "narrator" wasn't him and the language was overheard, but that did nothing to quell the sh1tstorm. So that verse is now basically erased from history.
Old 16th July 2019
  #43
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
Eavesdropping is one of the super not so secrets... Love the backstory on MTV:https://songsandcircumstances.blogsp...r-nothing.html
I want my MTV Knopfler/Sting

I have written a few - and it seems you get such a great perspective when doing so because you have a little distance from the lyrics and overall content. I will write a few more. It also takes you out of the political correctness thing, Although I am sure they had to chop I want my MTV a few times...
What a great story; thanks for sharing.

I wondered about that amazing guitar sound. It’s one of the best electric guitar sounds ever IMHO,
Old 17th July 2019
  #44
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snail View Post
What a great story; thanks for sharing.

I wondered about that amazing guitar sound. It’s one of the best electric guitar sounds ever IMHO,
When I was living in NYC the story I heard was it was a 'Crazy Eddie' store that crazy bladerunner type store ahead of its time... TV & Appliances were flying out the store... the sold everything on thin margin and the merchandise did not stop flowing out. And its trademark was a big wall of TVs all tuned to MTV. The enrgy was so different and amazing. There was a couple of hicks from backwoods US and it was very verbatim... but that is heresay... but I totally relate to the song... they captured it perfectly. EZ to imagine.
Old 20th July 2019
  #45
Quote:
Originally Posted by s wave View Post
When I was living in NYC the story I heard was it was a 'Crazy Eddie' store that crazy bladerunner type store ahead of its time... TV & Appliances were flying out the store... the sold everything on thin margin and the merchandise did not stop flowing out. And its trademark was a big wall of TVs all tuned to MTV. The enrgy was so different and amazing. There was a couple of hicks from backwoods US and it was very verbatim... but that is heresay... but I totally relate to the song... they captured it perfectly. EZ to imagine.
Hey I lived in New Jersey in the 80s and I remember Crazy Eddie! The ads were on TV all the time and I went there a few times.

It would be crazy indeed if he wrote the song at Crazy Eddie's!
Old 20th July 2019
  #46
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snail View Post
Hey I lived in New Jersey in the 80s and I remember Crazy Eddie! The ads were on TV all the time and I went there a few times.

It would be crazy indeed if he wrote the song at Crazy Eddie's!
Jersey baby... what exit? aaaaaay... I think that is only place that song could have been written... but many lyricists also try to cover their tracks a bit. "we have it all - our prices won't be beat"

..................refridgerators too........
Attached Thumbnails
Can't finish my lyrics-crazy-eddie-2-proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpeg   Can't finish my lyrics-crazy-eddie-proxy.duckduckgo.com.jpg  

Last edited by s wave; 20th July 2019 at 06:37 AM.. Reason: add text
Old 22nd July 2019
  #47
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Just a question

THIS IS MY VERY FIRST POST. I suckand I know it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by cwillms View Post
I'll second the rhyming dictionary... Super helpful when you're stuck.

We've all struggled writing lyrics because it's hard, and yes the pro's make it look so easy. But even your favorite artist has some rhymie turds tucked away in his cupboards.

If you have a nice hook you can build around that all day long. But at first you'll end up doing a lot of moon, spoon and June lyrics. Sophistication takes time and practice, until eventually you can produce near rhymes where just the vowel sound will tie it to previous line(s). Words like 'sound' and 'clown' don't necessarily rhyme but they sound enough alike and can resolve the end of a line for you - things like that.


On this one (one of mine) the chorus goes :
Into the night, looking for lovers
among the broken hearts
We can't go on passing each other
the night is all we've got...


the words lover and other don't rhyme - but they work within this phrasing. Keep at it - and have an eraser handy!

i need help.(many of my associates would agree.) I guess I’m just trying this out. I’m admittedly a technoCurlyHowardStooge. So I have one question: is there a technical name for “near rhymes?” Is there such a thing as aNEAR-RHYMES DICTIONARY? Could there be? Anyone want to join me in writing such a Tomé? Would it be too much trouble, too many possibilities?
Old 22nd July 2019
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peachykeen View Post
THIS IS MY VERY FIRST POST. I suckand I know it!i need help.(many of my associates would agree.) I guess I’m just trying this out. I’m admittedly a technoCurlyHowardStooge. So I have one question: is there a technical name for “near rhymes?” Is there such a thing as aNEAR-RHYMES DICTIONARY? Could there be? Anyone want to join me in writing such a Tomé? Would it be too much trouble, too many possibilities?
A lot of online or digital rhyming dictionaries, like RhymeZone, will give you the option to sort by near rhymes, which are also called slant or half rhymes. I think that lover/other is as assonance half rhyme, as the vowel sounds are the tie that binds.
Old 22nd July 2019
  #49
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s wave's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peachykeen View Post
THIS IS MY VERY FIRST POST. I suckand I know it!i need help.(many of my associates would agree.) I guess I’m just trying this out. I’m admittedly a technoCurlyHowardStooge. So I have one question: is there a technical name for “near rhymes?” Is there such a thing as aNEAR-RHYMES DICTIONARY? Could there be? Anyone want to join me in writing such a Tomé? Would it be too much trouble, too many possibilities?
three stooges lol - Curly Shuffle - Jump in the Saddle band

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6Lky0HHHk4
Old 22nd July 2019
  #50
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I don't think that rhyming dictonaries are a good idea as you will go for the obvious stuff and easily end up with predictable lyrics.

A few ideas:

- If you already have a melody for the song at hand then try to think of musical words. Words that go along with the phrasing and length of the notes. Choose singable words even if the lyrics you end up with might not make too much sense. 'Love Me Do' might not be the deepest lyrics ever written but those words are eminently singable and memorable.

- Be spontaneous. Think of David Bowie who allegedly wrote the lyrics to 'Heroes' on the spot, maybe even while doing the vocal take. Just hit record and sing SOMETHING. It might be great, it might be terrible. But it will keep you in the flow.

- Start with a song title. Maybe somebody else might suggest a title or you might pick up something out of a conversation, movie, article, etc Find a title/punchword that sounds good. I once read an interview with John Fogerty where he answered the question of 'What's the most important thing in a hit song?' with 'The title!'. There is something to it i think.

- Remember that song lyrics are not prose and not poetry. Yes, some lyrics like say Leonard Cohen's or Bob Dylan's can sometimes stand alone without the music. But those guys practically always started with the words.

- There is a lot to be said about telling a story and classic country tunes are a good example of that. But you don't HAVE to be linear and logical. Again words can stand for their sound and feel.


- Last tip (and back to the first point) : Avoid the obvious: One-night stands, get-the-party-rockin', my woman done left me, I got bling.... thousands of songs already exists with those themes so go for something else. It doesn't have to be deep or philosophical.

EDIT: One more.......

- We often get stuck because we think that songwriting HAS to be personal. While your personality obviously is always coming through in anything you do, it just seems strange to me that so many people get upset by say 'violent' lyrics and automatically take it as autobiography. While the same people never would assume that somebody writing a criminal thriller is actually criminally inclined. So writing from a completely different perspective (change of sex, imagine a different location, life, era, etc) might be liberating. At worst, it is good practice. Be an observer rather than a confessor. Ray Davies or Randy Newman are masters at that and well worth studying.

Last edited by doorknocker; 22nd July 2019 at 09:15 PM..
Old 22nd July 2019
  #51
Gear Addict
- don't write lyrics if you have nothing to say
- if you have something to write about, words will come
- don't worry about finishing lyrics
- supply your body with oxygen and energy(as much contact with nature as possible)
- it can be a long process(years) but it is achievable

If you don't have time, find poetically talented person to finish or write lyrics for your melodies. You don't need an established poet. Think of your youthful friends, neighbors, old classmates..Almost every class has one poetic soul.
We are not all for everything. It doesn't matter who write lyrics. Good song needs good "libretto". At first, it was a word
Old 24th July 2019
  #52
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So I've been writing as much as I can ever since I started the thread. It really is a process, you really have to put time into it, like you would if you were learning the guitar etc. Most of what I write ends up unfinished, but it's ok, just move on to the next idea or go back if ideas come. I have a main repository for lyrics that don't necessarily belong to a song. I come up with melodies for my songs a bit quicker, but filling those up with lyrics is still a challenge. Doorknocker's advice on not being too obvious or writing from a different perspective rings true. I guess it's a subtlety that comes with time.
Old 24th July 2019
  #53
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s wave's Avatar
Most people write lyrics how most people talk. Limited vocabulary (around 1000 words conversational) and limited construction. This is why most songs sound old and worn out one phrase into the song. Most people paint songs in long predictable and boring juxtapositions also. Painting in lyrics with short abbreviated strokes INFERS so much more to the listener because you are not taking the audience on a fully predetermined narrow path. Audio 'expressionist' lyricists cover such a larger canvas allowing for more audience imagination. Look at a great lyric like 'Summertime'

Summertime...
and the the livin is easy
fish are jumping
and the cotton is high
your daddy's rich
your mama good lookin
so baby don't you cry

It is present tense - uses commands - paints in short strokes - in a brief time covers a hell of a lot of ground. Studying great lyrics and poets inspires great lyrics. IMO
Old 27th July 2019
  #54
Quote:
Originally Posted by glasspipe View Post
So I've been writing as much as I can ever since I started the thread. It really is a process, you really have to put time into it, like you would if you were learning the guitar etc. Most of what I write ends up unfinished, but it's ok, just move on to the next idea or go back if ideas come. I have a main repository for lyrics that don't necessarily belong to a song. I come up with melodies for my songs a bit quicker, but filling those up with lyrics is still a challenge. Doorknocker's advice on not being too obvious or writing from a different perspective rings true. I guess it's a subtlety that comes with time.
This is awesome to hear. Everything is about practice -- everything! We tend to forget that.

Unless you're a born genius (which is very few of us). Then it's only 90% about practice :-)
Old 27th July 2019
  #55
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s wave's Avatar
Everything in this world has a 'natural' vibration rate or -dynamic-.frequency. INCLUDING every vowel, consonant, syllable, sentence etc. In heavier poetry or word encodement this it taught as well as explored. If you just write a sentence/phrase and pull out those notes - you will see that a melody is already 'inherent' within the sentence/phrase. There is also a natural upstress or downstress (or no stress) within syllables. This is Identical to downbeat or upbeat in music. (rap is unwaringly doing this and thus its appeal) The Beatles did this too song after song - the note/chord as well as up down beat. The up down was just (usually) layed out on Johns rhythm guitar stroke = downstroke or upstroke of the guitar. Elton/Taupin fought this mode, and in a sense was opposite - Having a pre composed melody and forcing the lyrics/meaning into the melody OR the other way around. Early reggae dialed in on this too! I am self taught - hope this is use to someone. Lyrics/melodies should be real easy... the hardest part is putting the pieces into a standard time signature or beat. That is often why, now, when I compose I try to see the best inherent rhythm within the most important phrase of the new song. THIS is the key IMO and in my world of creating and finishing a song. I have found a neat shortcut here about having all three parts come together. I have more recently started using finger taps (index/middle finger) which emulates the right and left hand of a drummer.
Old 31st July 2019
  #56
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I would suggest that you write a short story then work it into a melody. It can be about anything and it doesn't need to rhyme. Sometimes thinking of a song title can get you started.
Old 31st July 2019
  #57
There's a free video lesson here

on how some of the top professionals structure their lyric writing workflow to come up with consistently exciting results. It's different from most of the great suggestions in this thread so should make an interesting addition to your ever-growing toolbox.

No email needed to watch, it's really free.

Only saw the instructor briefly in a bathroom mirror, but I think he's the genuine article.
Old 1st August 2019
  #58
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If you write a few lines and get stuck, just fill out the rest with "Yeah, baby, baby, baby, Yeah, baby . . ." over and over.
Old 27th August 2019
  #59
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I've been writing lyrical content and a little poetry for over 40 years.
And the advice on this thread is very good.
I do abide by what Rosanne Cash stated when she said her lyrics will stand alone.
And they do. If lyrics are too dependent on the melody, they tend to date in a hurry.


Here's my take:
1)Don't push it. Let the words come to you. If they don't, then go on to something else. Here's why:
Learn to train your mind in this fashion. Creativity is the brain child. Let it come to you.

2) Artists who write lyrics last tend to over-simplify them. In other words, they become matter-of-factly.
The energy was put into the tune. This is why we have so many diluted lyrics today. Even the hooks are weak and often fragile.

3) Listen closely to how Shirley Horn phrases her lyric. Musicians can learn a ton by her pauses. To me, the melody is the major player...and I'm a lyricist!

There's no room for egos when composing.
The fit is everything. And it must be understood that the melody is far stronger than any verse or chorus.
4) Writing strong lyrics take years to learn.

To close, I want to show you how any benign subject can be turned into so much more. I challenged myself by writing about a rock on a beach. That's all I had to start with; A damn rock on a beach.

This is what it ended up to be:

ROCK ON THE BEACH


There's a rock on the beach
surrounded by endless sand.
It's about the size of a peach.
Or perhaps a small can.

Did someone put it there?
Or was it washed ashore?
If a part of the ocean,
will it be once more?

[change in chord progression]
We often walk hand in hand
where the gentle waves breech.
And when the tide comes in,
You've my rock on the beach.

(Music elongated)

Did someone put it there?
Or was it washed ashore?
If a part of the ocean,
will it be once more?

Before we met, life was a river of sand.
Now I can see purpose.
Now I understand.

If this rock could talk,
there's so much it could teach.
Perhaps it's enough to know
that it's still there on the beach

In the vast sands of time
with so much out of reach;
it's nice to find a rock on the beach.


Now, you can call this poetry or poetic lyric.
But it stands on it's own.
And it has it's own melodic tone
Old 27th August 2019
  #60
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s wave's Avatar
Nice reply. More useful information. I do believe more in 'receiving' songs than actually creating them. You are right if you force a word or phrase it sounds forced. (unless you want a forced forceful song "Born to Run") Almost any material that I ever did - that other people like - I can honestly say - I did not have much at all to do with its creation. More or less taking my time and energy and just listening and guiding and shepherding to the final creation.

I love to write songs organically. Whether starting with a new type of sound created through a synth (or finding the sweet spot on the old string instrument etc) and let a word or phrase or idea evolve that I feel that sound is screaming to emote. And 'accept' or decline the puzzle pieces as they come. Or having a burning desire to paint an almost indescribable feeling or emotion and starting/searching for a phrase that really connects it; and it with me.

Whether the song is written with the minimalist touch of Hemingway or Matisse or the complexity of Faulkner or Da Vinci/Van Gogh. And often I do like anachronistic words to the music.

It is one thing to try to make a song that sounds like a song... and quite another to create a song with a strong purpose and strong intent and to deliver it.

What is funny, is so often writers themselves do not even see or believe in what they wrote. ("A World without Love" comes to mind) or"Livin' on a Prayer" etc.This is probably from not the work itself but the perspective and/or falsely seeing its audience or what was actually created.

I love Picasso in that he would rip up paintings he fell in love with. He surrounded himself with his failures and mistakes. This created motivation for him? And most of his beloved works were nothing more than a working type of sketch or process on the way to where he was reaching. This should never be forgotten to lyricists and poets the same. Although poets tend to have a much easier time with not getting into a rut. Too many lyricists today are writing in what are already known as well worn ruts. And yes a rut is nothing more than a grave with its ends knocked out.

I like to start with shooting for the highest ideals... although simplicity in 'ditty' can be very deep as well.
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