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Next of Ken

Need feedback on some lyrics

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Hey folks. I'm new to the site. I"m working on lyrics for a new song and could use some feedback.. Trying to rhyme last word in verse lines without it becoming predictable or trite   I've got a simple but lilting chord progression that works pretty well. Chorus chords are different from verses. Also wrote a bridge, but not sure if I need it cause I want song to be under 3 minutes.  12 string acoustic is main instrument with bass and simple, programmed drums.  Maybe some spare keys. Haven't recorded it yet, but will post when I do.  But I want lyrics to stand on their own. Do these rhymes work? Any suggestions for making them better?

 

Staring to Fade

 

V-1

 

All of my homecoming queens are estranged

All of my cowboys are lost on the plains

All of my cities have gone up in flames

I'm in a picture that's starting to fade

I'm in a picture that's starting to fade

 

Chorus

 

When we were lovers, you forecast the end

I wanted sun,  but it's raining again

Now we are strangers -- we only pretend

And the fog's rolling in

 

V2

 

All of my heroes have died on the stage

All of my songs - they all sound the same

All of my worries, I can not contain

I'm in a picture that's starting to fade

I'm in a picture that's starting to fade

 

Chorus.

Bridge

 

For all the hitters and quitters who hide,  and can't understand what they always deny

For all of the winners and sinners who cry -- and live in a web full of lies

 

V3

 

All of my sorrow and all of this pain

All of my memories I'll never retain

All of my dreams I will never obtain

I'm in picture that's starting to fade

I'm in picture that's starting to fade

I'm in a picture that's starting to fade

 

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I think the rhymes are fine. There's a bit loss of focus on the message... v1 starts off well but then it switches from talking about you in the singular to your relationship with another in the chorus, back to just you in v2, to everyone in the bridge, and finally back to just you in v3. This theoretically could work but I don't see the reasoning or connective tissue for change. They seem like completely different topics. I'd keep the verses but the chorus and especially the bridge don't do much for me. 

Sidenote- would fog roll in when it's raining?

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Welcome Ken. I really like this. You've got a great style. Keep the bridge, the bridge is good. If the song runs over your time frame why does it matter so much. The structure of the lyric is not too long. The AAAA rhyme pattern in your verses could be a problem for some but it's never bothered me. I'm not keen on the second line of the chorus and think it needs tinkering with slightly. I wanted sun but it's raining again sound cliche. Also the fog rolling in contradicts the rain. Just a little switch around, perhaps I wanted sun but the sun never came or I wanted the sun but it's hiding again. Other than that though it's really good and i Iook forward to reading more of yours in the future

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I like it. I love refrain part most

Just rework on chorus. You have lotta aspect over there. 

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Thanks for the feedback, folks, good points well taken. Will rework and post song when it's recorded. And thanks especially to those who let me know that it can't be both foggy and rainy at the same time...silly of me not to know that, but we dont get much fog where I live. lol. It's great to have found a place for constructive criticism.  Friends and family would have just said, "Oh, that's nice" and been done with it..

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Welcome to the Muse! My stepson lives in Charlotte - nice city :)

 

I like a lot of this but I do think it would benefit from a little more work and much may depend on the music.

 

Three points:

 

1. While you vary the chords for verse and chorus, every part of the song has the same rhythm (including the bridge, even though you break it differently on the page). This may be OK but will present a challenge to maintain interest throughout unless you get inventive with the melody - and it may currently be a bit long to do that successfully.

 

2. Others have mentioned the focus - it isn't clear yet. I don't mean that everything needs to be spelled out but I do think it would help to have the song be more about one thing.

 

3. You have put a lot of work into maintaining the same rhymes - and done it very well. However, as the song progresses it sometimes means we have to kill our babies. Right now, I think the third verse is your weakest and the bridge draws us away from the emotional arc of the song (and it would be nice to be drawing the listener in more at that stage).

 

So, what to do? Personally, I think the chorus can provide a meaning - which is about a relationship. Do you really need all of the parts? You could lose the chorus and go for an AABA structure, for example - and your use of a verse refrain line would support that well.

 

Currently, your refrain line is "I'm in a picture that's starting to fade". Maybe consider shortening this to "I'm a picture that's starting to fade". I think it's stronger. Alternatively, you could go for "And the picture is starting to fade".

 

A couple of other thoughts. If you do keep the last verse, I'd suggest "All of my dreams building castles in Spain" is better than "I will never obtain" (which is a bit forced).

 

Overall, I think you would benefit from standing back and seeing what could be cut, highlighting the weaker lines and replacing them (I just know a few bug you still!) and seeing whether you can refocus. 

 

As an example - rather than a suggestion (because I know you can rework this perfectly well yourself!):

 

Starting to Fade
 
V-1
All of my homecoming queens are estranged
All of my cowboys are lost on the plains
All of my cities have gone up in flames
The picture is starting to fade
 
V2
All of my heroes have died on the stage
All of my songs end up sounding the same
All of my dreams, building castles in Spain
The picture is starting to fade

 

Bridge (quick placeholder - need something much better!)

The queens and the cowboys, the cities and heroes, the songs and the dreams hold no sway

They're means to an end that is getting much nearer as I watch us fading away

 
V3

When we first started, you forecast the end
Now we are strangers -- we only pretend

You are my portrait and I am your frame

The picture is starting to fade
 
 

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Thanks for putting so much thought into this critique. Your suggestions are terrific and I'll  take a hard look at how I can incorporate them without straying to far from the song's theme . Actually, the song is not really about a relationship with a person as much as it is about my relationship to the world and my diminishing relevance in it as I become older. (I'm in my fifties, but don't tell anyone..ha).  I probably muddied the water about this by trying to bring in another person in the chorus, but I've ditched that idea for reasons you and other have mentioned. Your suggestion for v3 is a winner and a keeper. My version was the weakest part of the song imo because it was almost an afterthought that strayed  into the self pity zone. Also love the Spain reference. Combining the  chorus and verse in v3 is an good idea I would not have thought of. Finally, how interesting that you mentioned "killing babies."  I am actually a journalist by trade, writing for newspapers and magzines.  I first learned of the "killing babies" concept from a wonderful editor who became an even greater mentor. He taught me to be ruthless about it, too.  I carried that concept with me  when it came time to start my band. I even went as far as scrawling  it on paper that I taped to the other musicians' mic stands and amps. They thought I was a little weird at first,  but they soon grasped the idea and began saying it themselves.  Of course, it's always easier for someone else to point out our babies that need killing -- and you have done a fine job with that in my song. Thanks again and I am grateful to have found such a valuable songwriting resource...

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Out of curiosity, where does this "killing our babies" come from? Just interested that's all

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Quote by William Faulkner: “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.”

I think this may be where it started, not really sure, though. it somehow got translated to "babies."

Some online writing forums credit Earnest Hemingway with switching it to "babies.." but who really knows.

It's a rather unsettling thing to hear a grown man say it over and over -- especially at first. The editor I learned it from used to say that the babies are the things in our writing that we think are so clever and cute and unique -- when all they really do is slow the flow and encourage lazy writing and purple prose. "Off with their heads.." my editor used to say, swiping his hand through the air.  I've found that the things I "just love" about something I've written are usually the fattest babies of them all. It's difficult for us to spot them in our own stuff, but once we do ,they are glaring, at least for me. For instance, in that song I posted here, I really thought it was smart that I said I "wanted sun, but it was raining again." Then, someone gently pointed out that it was a cliche. oops. I thought the fog reference was clever too -- until I learned it can't be rainy and foggy at the same time. lol. 

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I agree with Kerry on this read but I did like the flow and it reads smoothly. I think it's awesome and fine sir keep up the good work.

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thanks. It's great to have found a site with like-minded folks and constructive feedback and encouragement.  I look forward to posting the whole song and also offering feedback to others....

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I like that. I can see it being my new saying for a while. I'll probably get sectioned because of it

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