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About this blog

This blog is about the little things that make a song great.

Entries in this blog

PaulCanuck

Author's note: Thanks to kuya, a talented writer on this forum for inspiring this piece - I hope you find it useful.

 

So, your lyrics are almost completed.
You can hear the music in your head.
This song is going to be your best to date - you just know it! :lol:
You need to hit the record button before your inspiration wanes.

 

But...

There is that one weak line in the verse. :(
It ends with that word you found on Rhymezone.
It rhymes nicely with its counterpart and it's a well-known word - so no issues there. It has perfect prosody, perfect assonance, nice meter. But it introduces an image or an inference that takes the listener out of the storyline, breaks the mood you've built up and just seems out of place. And you can't find another rhyming word that fits. You've tried to jam in something that doesn't rhyme, but that made the verse feel unstable, slipshod. This is now a show-stopper. All your efforts have been in vain. The English language has let you down again - crap!

 

But wait - there is a solution. It's right in front of your eyes:

 

Can't find a rhyme? - Repeat that line!!

 

Think about it - we want our lyrics to be "conversational" and people often repeat lines when they are trying to make a point. ("Lock her up" sadly comes to mind). Humans like repetition - it doesn't require us to process new information - our minds can relax and bask in the familiar. It strengthens the impact of what has just been sung. Sometimes it even causes the listener to hear a different meaning in the line he/she hasn't thought of the first time around.

 

Sure, we all know enough to repeat the hook usually in the chorus, but if you're like me, sometimes forget we can repeat a line in the verse or bridge.

 

It's another arrow in your songwriter's quiver - don't forget to use it!

PaulCanuck

Some songwriters advise us to give a song room to breathe, give it space, and make it less busy.

While I agree this good advice, I also like to think - give things a chance to "sink in".

 

Often listening to lyrics is like drinking from a fire hose. You can't do it, so plenty of water doesn't make it down your throat :)

To avoid this, we need to meter out the lyric so it gets absorbed by the listener's brain, not discarded because the listener isn't ready for more information.

A repeating chorus, a musical interlude or even a stop or breakdown in the song can give the listener a break.

 

Is there a poignant line in the lyric of your song?

Is there a climax in the storyline?

Is new information flowing too fast for a typical listener to keep up?

 

If so, add some room to allow things to sink in. You'll make a better connection to your listeners if you do :)

 

 

 

PaulCanuck

The Sweet Spot

This is my first blog entry on the nuances of a song.

 

Have you ever noticed that a lot of songs have a Sweet Spot? What I mean by sweet spot is - a small musical or lyrical passage that we can't get enough of hearing. I don't mean a "hook" which is repeated for us, but a special place in the song that hits us emotionally.

Maybe it's where a new instrument comes in, maybe it's a James Brown "Uuuuh", maybe a stop, a slow down, a speed up.

I used to listen to a particular jazz number on my car stereo that had a snare hit, all by itself, that led into a new section of the song. I would listen to that hit, then back it up a few seconds, and do this repeatedly just to experience that one snare hit over and over. Often people talk of the "climax" happening 7/8 of the way through a song, and maybe that is a sweet spot for many, but I quite often pick a different spot than that for my sweet spot.

 

 

Regardless of what you decide your song's lyrical/musical arrangement will be, I think it will be a better song if it has a Sweet Spot.  :)

 

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