While it’s true that the melody and the title are regarded as the most important parts of a song, don’t make the mistake of believing that the quality of the lyrics doesn’t really matter if your song has a strong melody, a catchy hook and great beats.
“If you’ve got a killer tune and a killer set of chord changes and you’ve got no lyrics, you’re screwed,” award-winning songwriter and producer Francis “Eg” White once told the Daily Telegraph. He has worked on hits for artists such as Adele, Joss Stone, James Blunt, Duffy, James Morrison and Will Young.
So don’t settle for lyrics that you know are second-best. A song with a dynamic melody and trite lyrics is still unlikely to be successful.
Of course, songs with weak lyrics occasionally do well in the charts, but their success is usually down to an outstanding production or because the artist concerned is already a big star with a loyal fan base. If you’re an aspiring new writer submitting a demo to a music publisher, A&R rep or a record producer, you’ll need more than just an excellent melody to stimulate their interest.
You have to be able to offer them a complete work that combines a highly commercial melody with well-chosen words and descriptive phrases that make sense and actually say something.
“Lyrics are kind of the whole thing,” says US singer-songwriter Alison Krauss. “It’s the message. Something might have a beautiful melody but if it’s not the truth coming out of your mouth, it’s not appealing.”
Music industry professionals expect to hear inventive lyrics that avoid clichés and convey an interesting story or message in an easily understandable way.
They want great words that support a memorable title, a strong melody and a catchy hook … all of which should come together to evoke an emotional response within the listener.
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“How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is available from Amazon as a paperback, or as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music) and Barnes & Noble’s Nook store.