While it’s true that the melody and the title are regarded as the most important parts of a song, it would be a huge mistake to believe that the quality of the lyrics doesn’t really matter if your song has a strong melody, a catchy hook and great beats.
As the award-winning songwriter and producer Francis ‘Eg’ White once remarked: “If you’ve got a killer tune and a killer set of chord changes and you’ve got no lyrics, you’re screwed.”
And just to prove that writers should never settle for lyrics that they know are second-best, new research from YouTube shows that lyrics are becoming more important than ever.
According to YouTube, searches for the term ‘lyric video’ are now at an all-time high. The Google-owned video-sharing website claims that some 100 days’ worth of videos with ‘lyric video’ in the title have been uploaded so far in 2014 (attracting more than 850 million views). And more major artists are now creating their own official lyric videos as a teaser for their official music video.
YouTube says Avicii’s lyric video for ‘Wake Me Up’ currently tops the ‘most viewed’ list, having been watched almost 199 million times.
Here is YouTube’s list of the Top 10 most popular lyric videos of all time:
1. Avicii – ‘Wake Me Up (Lyric Video)’: 198,525,542 views
2. Avicii – ‘Hey Brother (Lyric)’: 137,056,523
3. Maroon 5 – ‘Payphone (Lyric Video) ft. Wiz Khalifa’: 117,022,809
4. Adele – ‘Skyfall (Lyric Video)’: 98,440,284
5. Christina Perri – ‘A Thousand Years’: 84,700,444
6. Katy Perry – ‘Roar (Lyric Video)’: 76,791,132
7. One Direction – ‘Rock Me (Lyric Video)’: 67,608,064
8. David Guetta – ‘Shot Me Down ft. Skylar Grey (Lyric Video)’: 73,957,630
9. Ariana Grande – ‘Problem (Lyric Video) ft. Iggy Azalea’: 59,862,736
10. Bruno Mars – ‘When I Was Your Man (Lyrics)’: 57,789,851
Here’s the chart-topping Official Lyric Video for Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ …
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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.
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.