SONGWRITING TIPS AND ADVICE ON THE ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS FOUND IN ALL HIT SONGS

Category Archives: Songwriting Ideas

 

Paul_Weller_S4_0054_SMALLER-920x584From Paul Weller’s emergence as a songwriting force with the power punk of The Jam in the 1970s to the soul sounds of The Style Council in the 1980s—followed by many diverse solo albums since—he has continually evolved his approach to songwriting. Weller warns that writers who don’t seek new challenges risk simply repeating themselves and could start to bore their listeners as a result.

“No matter what age you are, there’s always something else to learn,” he told Another Man magazine in a recent interview. “I just want to keep finding new things—new ground. You have to keep moving forward.”

Weller believes it’s essential for songwriters to set themselves a goal with each new song. “I might have an idea, however vague it is at the time, of where I want to try and take the music,” he told Another Man. “Sometimes you get there, sometimes you don’t – and sometimes you end up with something that isn’t what you set out to do, but is something else again, and something that surprises you because you didn’t realise you could go there.”

He added: “It’s a question of setting yourself a certain amount of challenges. Otherwise it’s too easy to get caught in a cycle of doing the same things over and over again.”

When new writers achieve an important breakthrough and discover a songwriting ‘formula’ that really works for them, they are naturally tempted to stick to it on every song. The innovation could be the result of a particular chord progression—or the use of a specific climactic chord change or a musical phrase—and it helps them create a new kind of song that evokes the best response they’ve ever had from listeners.

While they may want to take advantage of this winning ‘formula’ to help them establish their own distinctive sound and style, they should be careful not to end up writing songs that are all built around the same few notes, chords and keys. Each new song may sound great on its own, but there’s a danger that a writer could end up with a collection of songs that all sound alike—especially if he or she puts them together on the same demo submission, or on a showcase album, or on their own website and YouTube channel.

Paul Weller believes that being open to collaboration with other people is one way of constantly exploring new things and “expanding your own world”. For example, on his latest solo album, True Meanings (his 14th studio album), Weller has teamed up with other talent such as Lucy Rose, Conor O’Brien from Villagers, and Erland Cooper.

It has resulted in yet another new ‘sound’ for Paul Weller, as this beautiful track, ‘Gravity,’ demonstrates …

SURPRISING RHYMING – AN ALTERNATIVE RHYMING DICTIONARY FOR SONGWRITERS AND POETS“SURPRISING RHYMING” – The Alternative Rhyming Dictionary for Songwriters and Poets – is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback, and across Europe. It is also available as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle store in the United States, the UK and Europe, as well as Apple’s iTunes Book Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Store and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA) … HERE (UK) … HERE (CANADA).

“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.A 5-star rated book at Amazon, 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, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Book Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

FRONT COVER - JPG - 10-8-16 - FINAL“How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics! – 40 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Lyrics For Your Songs” is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as a US paperback, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Book Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

 

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Ed_Sheeran_2013 - Photo - Eva Rinaldi

Photo: Eva Rinaldi

“If you don’t wanna be bigger than Adele, you’re in the wrong industry … I don’t want to be the male Adele. I want to be Adele.”

–Ed Sheeran

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SURPRISING RHYMING – AN ALTERNATIVE RHYMING DICTIONARY FOR SONGWRITERS AND POETS“SURPRISING RHYMING” – The Alternative Rhyming Dictionary for Songwriters and Poets – is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback, and across Europe. It is also available as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle store in the United States, the UK and Europe, as well as Apple’s iTunes Book Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Store and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA) … HERE (UK) … HERE (CANADA).

“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.A 5-star rated book at Amazon, 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, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Book Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

FRONT COVER - JPG - 10-8-16 - FINAL“How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics! – 40 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Lyrics For Your Songs” is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as a US paperback, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Book Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).



MAX MARTIN

“I don’t think Max Martin is human,” says record label boss and reality TV judge Simon Cowell. “Nobody human can do everything he’s done over the years. He has helped to make and define a sound and that’s what makes him a genius.”

With record sales in the hundreds of millions, Max Martin is acknowledged as one of the most successful songwriters and producers of the 21st century. His huge back catalogue includes massive hit songs for Adele, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, The Backstreet Boys, Justin Bieber, Robyn, The Weeknd, and many more …

He has had writing credits on 22 songs that topped the Billboard Hot 100 (that’s about 6% of all US Number One songs since 1991), which means he’s the third most successful songwriter in US chart history behind only Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

In this rare Masterclass interview with Swedish journalist Jan Gradvall, the usually publicity-shy Max Martin discusses his phenomenally successful songwriting process … and reveals the special ingredients that make a great pop song.

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SURPRISING RHYMING – AN ALTERNATIVE RHYMING DICTIONARY FOR SONGWRITERS AND POETS“SURPRISING RHYMING” – The Alternative Rhyming Dictionary for Songwriters and Poets – is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback, and across Europe. It is also available as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle store in the United States, the UK and Europe, as well as Apple’s iTunes Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Store and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA) … HERE (UK) … HERE (CANADA).

“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.A 5-star rated book at Amazon, 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, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

FRONT COVER - JPG - 10-8-16 - FINAL“How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics! – 40 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Lyrics For Your Songs” is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as a US paperback, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).


paul-mccartney-new- Photo by Mary McCartney 177x179

In a recent live Q&A session at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA), Paul McCartney told Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker that, in the early days of The Beatles, he and John Lennon had to write catchy songs because it was the only way they could remember them. Portable tape recorders hadn’t been invented yet.

“We had to write songs you could remember easily,” McCartney said. “I think that turned out to be a good thing.

“John and I would have a writing session, go away and have an evening out, and in the middle of the evening we’d think, ‘What was that thing we wrote? Oh my God we’ve forgotten!’ But it would always come back to us in the morning.

“We said if we can’t remember it, how do we expect other people to? So, we were writing stuff that was memorable … and I think it still is.”

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SURPRISING RHYMING – AN ALTERNATIVE RHYMING DICTIONARY FOR SONGWRITERS AND POETS

“SURPRISING RHYMING” – The Alternative Rhyming Dictionary for Songwriters and Poets – is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback, and also across Europe. It is also available as a Kindle ebook in the United States and in the UK and Europe. Read more about the book HERE (USA) … HERE (UK) … HERE (CANADA).

“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.A 5-star rated book at Amazon, 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, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

FRONT COVER - JPG - 10-8-16 - FINAL“How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics! – 40 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Lyrics For Your Songs” is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as a US paperback, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

 


TAYLOR SWIFT, 2013

“Songwriting is still the same uncomplicated process it was when I was 12 years old writing songs in my room,” said Taylor Swift in a recent interview with Harper’s BAZAAR magazine.

She said: “There are definitely moments when it’s like this cloud of an idea comes and just lands in front of your face, and you reach up and grab it.

“A lot of songwriting is things you learn, like structure, cultivating that skill and knowing how to craft a song. But there are mystical, magical moments—inexplicable moments—when an idea that is fully formed just pops into your head.”

Instead of allowing ideas to bubble to the surface naturally from their subconscious, many new writers tend to try too hard and end up forcing the creative process. They try to cram too much into a song—making it way too long and unnecessarily complicated, and leaving the listener feeling confused.

As Taylor Swift suggests, it is important to avoid over-thinking or over-writing your songs. Sometimes, the chords, melodies and lyrics that come to you instinctively are the right ones. So don’t spend forever searching for the perfect melody or lyrics. Don’t keep on going until you end up with way too many notes and words.

Just make sure your song form is clear, predictable and easy to follow. Keeping it simple will make it easier for people to remember the song.

In other words, know when to quit.

As Sting once remarked: “Songs have to be simple. It’s not like you have a huge canvas to paint on or a novel length to fill. You’ve got to tell the story in two verses, a chorus and a coda and that takes some skill.”

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SURPRISING RHYMING – AN ALTERNATIVE RHYMING DICTIONARY FOR SONGWRITERS AND POETS

“SURPRISING RHYMING” – The Alternative Rhyming Dictionary for Songwriters and Poets – is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback, and also across Europe. It is also available as a Kindle ebook in the United States and in the UK and Europe. Read more about the book HERE (USA) … HERE (UK) … HERE (CANADA).

“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.
A 5-star rated book at Amazon,
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, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

FRONT COVER - JPG - 10-8-16 - FINAL“How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics! – 40 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Lyrics For Your Songs” is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as a US paperback, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

 


Brian Oliver - colour - PhotoPad (THUMBNAIL) by Brian Oliver

An extract from his new book, “Surprising Rhyming for Songwriters and Poets”, an alternative rhyming dictionary designed to help writers create unique rhymes and avoid tired old clichés. It contains over 150,000 rhyming solutions for some 1,400 different rhyme sounds.

SURPRISING RHYMING – AN ALTERNATIVE RHYMING DICTIONARY FOR SONGWRITERS AND POETSAs a music publisher I’ve listened to thousands of demos by aspiring songwriters and, despite always hoping to discover a fresh new talent, I’ve ended up feeling disappointed because I found I could predict what the next rhyme was going to be on almost every line. Inexperienced writers often weaken a potentially good song by going for the easiest and most obvious rhyme, or by using the same rhyme sound too many times in a row. This simply makes the lyrics sound boring, monotonous and colorless. As the legendary Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim once remarked: “The ears expect certain rhymes, so you want to fool them because one of the things you want to do is surprise an audience.”

It’s not enough to simply go through the alphabet trying to think of words that rhyme—irrespective of whether the chosen word helps to underpin the meaning of your song and drive the story forward. This lazy approach usually results in worn-out, clichéd rhymes that we’ve all heard countless times before.

Lyrics don’t always have to rhyme, of course, but rhyming is a mnemonic device that assists the memory and makes it easier for people to remember a song. Rhyming also plays an important part in giving a lyric a sense of form and symmetry.

“In a couplet, the first rhyme is like a question to which the second rhyme is an answer,” explains English poet James Fenton, a former Professor of Poetry at Oxford University. “In most quatrains [four-line verses], space is created between the rhyme that poses the question and the rhyme that gives the answer … it’s like a pleasure deferred.”

Historically, many pop songs in the rock era have featured ‘perfect’ rhymes where a one-syllable word is rhymed with another one-syllable word (such as ‘kiss’ and ‘miss’), or where two words have the same spelling in the last syllable (such as ‘love and ‘above’).

But perfect rhymes tend to get tedious. And many of the cleverest perfect rhymes have been used so many times over the years that they’ve now become clichés.

Hit songwriting is more sophisticated these days, and publishers and A&R reps have much higher expectations of lyricists. So, if you have a rhyme in your head, ask yourself if you’ve heard it before. If it sounds too familiar, try finding another way of saying it—perhaps by using a metaphor rather than just a literal rhyme, or an off-the-wall ‘imperfect’ rhyme.

Sometimes, simply putting an unexpected adjective or a visual descriptor (like Homer’s “rosy-fingered dawn” and “wine-dark sea”) in front of a clichéd rhyming noun can surprise the listener and make the cliché sound less familiar.

You can often create a much greater impact by rhyming words that don’t have the same combination of letters but sound similar (such as ‘clown’ and ‘around’, or ‘made’ and ‘late’). This is because lyrics are meant for the ears, so how words sound is more important than how they’re written. It’s the similarity between the sound of the syllables (for example, ‘rougher’ and ‘suffer’) that creates the rhyme and engages the listener, rather than the words themselves.

Bob Dylan“Rhyming doesn’t have to be exact anymore,” Bob Dylan told Paul Zollo of American Songwriter magazine in a 2012 interview. “It gives you a thrill to rhyme something and you think, ‘Well, that’s never been rhymed before’. Nobody’s going to care if you rhyme ‘represent’ with ‘ferment’, you know. Nobody’s gonna care.”

Dylan once admitted to Rolling Stone magazine that he stunned himself when he wrote the first two lines of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ and rhymed “kiddin’ you” with “didn’t you”. “It just about knocked me out,” he said.

In fact, many established songwriters now try to steer clear of perfect rhymes because they’ve recognized that rhymes that are too exact can sometimes limit the expression of true emotion. Using imperfect rhymes to create word pictures—or to convey what you want to say more accurately—can often be much more effective than pure rhymes.

With imperfect rhymes (also referred to as false-rhymes, half-rhymes, slant-rhymes or near-rhymes), the vowel sounds are identical, but the consonants that follow or precede those vowel sounds are different and don’t match. For example: ‘forever’ and ‘together’, ‘time’ and ‘mind’, or ‘make’ and ‘fate’. The matching vowels are enough to make the rhyme work.

When people hear the word ‘man’, for example, they will naturally expect to hear something like ‘can’ or ‘ran’ as the rhyme. If you unexpectedly slip in a rhyme that has an extra consonant at the end (for example, the word ‘stand’), they may listen more closely to hear what comes next.

Unpredictable rhymes can also be created by varying the rhyme sounds in your choice of words. For example, a single-sound rhyme in a multi-syllable word (such as ‘indicate’ and ‘celebrate’ or ‘fingernail’ and ‘fairy tale’), You can also use double-sound rhymes (‘walking’ and ’talking’), or triple-sound rhymes (‘addiction’ and ‘prediction’).

Instead of rhyming a noun with a noun, or a verb with a verb, you can also create an unexpected rhyme by pairing different parts of speech, such as a noun and an adjective (for example, ‘guess’ and ‘pointless’).

Sara BareillesMany experienced writers feel that using imperfect rhymes gives them greater freedom and flexibility to create word pictures. It also provides an ingenious way to avoid employing rhyming clichés or rhymes that are too obvious. For example, in her award-winning 2013 song ‘Brave’ (co-written with Jack Antonoff), Sara Bareilles (left) rhymes ‘outcast’ with ‘backlash’, ‘inside’ with ‘sunlight’, ‘there’ with ‘stared’, and ‘run’ with ‘tongue’.

Imperfect rhymes have always been used in hip-hop in conjunction with assonance (the repetition of vowel sounds to create internal rhyming within lyric lines). In one section of his 1992 song ‘N.Y. State of Mind’, rapper Nas manages to rhyme the word ‘prosperous’ with the words ‘dangerous’, ‘blamin’ us’ and ‘hostages’.

If you study the latest chart hits and compare where the rhymes are positioned—and what kind of rhymes are being used—you’re likely to find much looser (and more conversational) ‘near rhymes’ placed in the middle of the lines in the verse, instead of at the end of each line (which is the traditional approach).

This is partly due to the influence of hip-hop since the late 1980s. Run DMC’s classic 1986 album Raising Hell is credited with paving the way for much greater use of mid-line rhymes rather than relying on end rhymes. Although internal rhymes had been used previously, they had never been employed so consistently over a whole album as on Raising Hell.

An internal rhyming pattern involves repeating vowels and consonants (and combinations of both) within each individual line. A good example of this is Phil Lynott’s classic Thin Lizzy song ‘With Love’ which includes the line: “I must confess that in my quest I felt depressed and restless”.

Using mid-line rhymes in this way helps to build the lyrical rhythm and can strengthen the forward motion of the verse.

You can surprise listeners by having your internal rhyme fall on the second or third syllable of a multi-syllable word instead of at the end—for example, by putting the rhyme on the syllable that is stressed most strongly in normal speech (such as ‘unachievable’ and ‘believable’).

You can also rhyme a multi-syllable word with a word that only has one syllable (such as ‘sublime’ and ‘time’).

RakimIn 1987, acclaimed hip-hop lyricist Rakim (right) pioneered the multi-syllabic approach to rhyming with compound rhymes that paired one word with two words, such as ‘righteous’ and ‘might just’. It was a style (since adopted by other rappers) that introduced a rapid, continuous, rhythmic flow, based on deeply-woven rhyme structures that incorporated internal rhymes.

Since then, pop music has absorbed the rhyming patterns and inventive near-rhymes and multi-syllabic rhymes used in hip-hop in a very real way.

Today, Eminem (who has admitted he often spends hours studying a rhyming dictionary) tends to fill his songs with more internal rhymes than anyone else in contemporary pop. He once told Rolling Stone magazine: “Even as a kid, I always wanted the most words to rhyme. If I saw a word like ‘transcendalistic tendencies’, I would write it out on a piece of paper and underneath I’d line a word up with each syllable. Even if it didn’t make sense, that’s the kind of drill I would do.”

Consistency is essential when it comes to creating impactful rhyming schemes. For example, if you use internal rhymes in the first verse, you should put them in the same place in the subsequent verses in order to maintain the kind of symmetry that listeners like to hear.

My new book, Surprising Rhyming, is a new kind of rhyming dictionary that aims to make it easier for writers to avoid clichés and craft rhymes that people may not have heard before. It contains rhyme types that are much broader than those found in traditional rhyming dictionaries which tend to show only ‘perfect’ or ‘true’ rhymes.

For example, if you’re looking for a rhyme for the word “true”, rhyming dictionaries typically offer perfect rhymes such as “blue”, “due”, “knew” or “who”. Instead, Surprising Rhyming also pairs “true” more imaginatively with words like “gloom”, “soon”, “groove” and “dude”.

If you need a rhyme for the word “gamble”, you’ll normally be offered “ramble”, “scramble” or “shamble”. But Surprising Rhyming’s solutions also include: “bangle”, “dangle”, “candle” and “handle”.

Surprising Rhyming includes over 150,000 rhyming solutions for some 1400 different rhyme sounds. These are based on the findings of an in-depth study of the kind of ingenious ‘near’ rhymes used by influential songwriters and lyricists such as: Chuck Berry, David Bowie, Sara Bareilles, James Bay, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Sia Furler, Hozier, Jay-Z, Billy Joel, Carole King, Michael Kiwanuka, John Lennon, Lorde, John Mayer, Joni Mitchell, Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Bonnie McKee, Randy Newman, Dolly Parton, Christina Perri, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, Paul Simon, Stephen Sondheim, Taylor Swift, Cat Stevens, Bernie Taupin, James Taylor, Jimmy Webb, Lucinda Williams, Stevie Wonder … and many more.

Even when you’re using a rhyming dictionary like Surprising Rhyming as a creative brainstorming tool, don’t always go for the most obvious rhyme word. By digging deeper, you can often discover rhymes that inspire new themes or fresh ideas that can take your lyrics in a more exciting (and less predictable) direction.

So challenge yourself … Surprise your audience!

# # # #SURPRISING RHYMING – AN ALTERNATIVE RHYMING DICTIONARY FOR SONGWRITERS AND POETS

“SURPRISING RHYMING” – The Alternative Rhyming Dictionary for Songwriters and Poets – is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback, and across Europe. It is also available as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle store in the United States, the UK and Europe, as well as Apple’s iTunes Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Store and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA) … HERE (UK) … HERE (CANADA).

“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.A 5-star rated book at Amazon, 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, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

FRONT COVER - JPG - 10-8-16 - FINAL“How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics! – 40 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Lyrics For Your Songs” is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as a US paperback, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

 


Tom Odell, Orange Warsaw FestivalTom Odell’s beautiful song ‘Constellations’—from his 2016 album Wrong Crowd—opens with Tom talking to a girl in a busy bar and his lyrics vividly describe the scene. It’s a great example of why songwriters should always show listeners what is happening in their song, rather than just tell them …

“In order to write it,” Tom Odell told Dale Kawashima of SongwriterUniverse magazine, “I had to imagine every detail in that bar—the picture on the wall, the girl’s voice, the jacket on the back of the chair, the gentle hum of the bar, the chair that squeaks, the look on her face.”

He explained: “I almost had to live it in my head in order to write the song. But obviously you can’t get all of that detail in the song. You can only pick a few of those details to sing.”

One of the most frequent mistakes in lyric writing is trying to evoke a strong emotional response in listeners simply by stating what you’re feeling or thinking (for example, “I’m getting mad” or “I’m feeling down”).

This is actually one of the least effective ways to make a lasting connection with the people who hear your song. In the verse lyrics especially, you need to show listeners what the song is about by painting vivid word pictures that describe the physical experience of the emotions you want to convey.

In other words, invite the audience into the world of your song by allowing them to “watch” the story unfold like a movie. If you describe each scene as if you’re looking through the lens of a film camera, you’ll be able to help people ‘see’ and experience what the performer of your song is feeling.

You can also help listeners to enter your song by including descriptions of familiar, tangible objects in your lyrics—such as an empty chair, a wine glass, a framed photograph, and other concrete nouns which refer to physical entities that can be observed by at least one of the senses. These images are more likely to engage listeners than a dull statement of fact.

Legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell has always taken a highly visual approach to her lyrics. “My style of songwriting is influenced by cinema,” she once explained. “It’s very visual. I’m a frustrated filmmaker. You’re scoring the actress, but the actress is singing the lines and trying to get them as conversational as film.”

She added: “A fan once said to me, ‘Girl, you make me see pictures in my head!’ and I took that as a great compliment—that’s exactly my intention.”

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SURPRISING RHYMING – AN ALTERNATIVE RHYMING DICTIONARY FOR SONGWRITERS AND POETS“SURPRISING RHYMING” – The Alternative Rhyming Dictionary for Songwriters and Poets – is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback, and also across Europe. Read more about the book HERE (USA) and HERE (UK).

“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE A HIT SONG! - 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS” is available from Amazon as a paperback and also as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple's iTunes Store, Barnes and Noble's Nook store, and from KoboBooks.com.
A 5-star rated book at Amazon,
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, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).

FRONT COVER - JPG - 10-8-16 - FINAL“How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics! – 40 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Lyrics For Your Songs” is available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble as a US paperback, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and KoboBooks.

Read a FREE sample of the book HERE (USA), HERE (UK), HERE (Australia) and HERE (Canada).