“It’s no use just singing about being famous, or rhyming ‘crazy’ with ‘baby’ a million times over,” Lily Allen recently told Q magazine. “I want to write about things that are relevant to other people. And I like to be frank whether it’s about sex or politics or feminism.”
Lily’s comments are especially pertinent to new songwriters. A common mistake among many aspiring writers is their use of over-elaborate imagery and ‘poetic’ lyrics in an attempt to show how clever and creative they can be. Far from being impressed, though, music publishers and A&R reps may view too much flowery language as a sign of inexperience.
Trying too hard to be ‘different’ and artistic can often result in lyrics that simply sound pretentious and self-indulgent. If your lyrics don’t come across as genuine, listeners may find it hard to connect with your song.
Lily Allen frequently achieves a personal connection by writing as if she’s having a one-on-one conversation with the listener, often making lines sound like they could be spoken naturally.
If a new song is likely to have any chance of success, it must be able to touch listeners on an emotional level and make them feel something.
That means a song needs to be about something that everyone is familiar with. And the lyrics should be honest, believable and heartfelt so that people can easily relate to them.
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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 US paperback, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and from KoboBooks.
Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA) and HERE (UK),
January 5, 2014 at 1:01 pm
…no though. Just no. If you’re deliberately changing your creative process and making artistic decisions you otherwise wouldn’t just because you want mass appeal and a giant royalty cheque, you’re not really doing it for the love of the music any more. Music’s personal. Always has been. Share a part of yourself with the world, and if it connects with them, you got lucky. But you’re giving lyrics too much credit; most people aren’t even about lyrics anyway, I mean look at the enormous success of deathcore among teen markets (a genre where the lyrics are nigh-unintelligible). And look at the number of enormous hit songs which when you analyse the lyrics actually mean almost nothing.