I was listening to some oldies on the radio the other day and it got me thinking about why I didn’t enjoy some of the current hit songs as much – whether the musicians needed lessons on how to be better songwriters. In addition to the fact that I’m kind of nostalgic, I realized that the lyrics in some of the songs of today just don’t affect me on an emotional level.
Now, I’m not a songwriter or lyricist myself but I think one of the hallmarks of a great song is its ability to get listeners to feel something. They are often able to evoke one or several emotions, whether joy, sadness, anger, love, or even the element of surprise. Be it the beat, dramatic hook, interesting storyline, or the relatability of the lyrics (sometimes all of the above), an emotional connection is needed to at least be enticing to a listener.
With that said, I would encourage music creators to think about making your songs more personal and listener-friendly. To make your own song sound better, maybe you could look at writing with more feeling, rather than thinking about what and how you want to write. Wondering what that means? Here are a few tips I came up with:
Writing Down Raw Ideas
Every songwriter has a motive for writing and times when they are more creative than other periods. It could be after an encounter with someone or something that is considered a muse, or a time of day when the creative juices flow, or anything else. Whatever the case, you should try writing down your thoughts, without editing, regardless of rhyme or reason. The less edited your thoughts are, the more feeling they are likely to emanate. Of course, this will be affected by the topic you choose, whether it is about a relationship, current affairs, or partying.
Many songwriters, like other writers, can sometimes get caught up with trying to make a thought sound ‘perfect,’ by constantly thinking about how it sounds and rewriting it over and over. While some rewriting is recommended when polishing your lyrics, you should avoid doing so when you’re constructing the song for the first time. Besides, writing down raw thoughts not only conveys your feelings more strongly, it may also allow your songs to flow better and be easier to edit – when it’s time to polish up the lyrics of course. In addition, when you just ‘let it all out’ on paper, you’re less likely to start overthinking or doubting and you’ll become a better songwriter for it.
Keep it Simple
Writing with feeling may mean that your lyrics, harmony, chord progression etc., are simple in nature. That’s quite fine. Some of the best songs made are those that keep it simple while connecting with the listener. Besides, after you’ve got the main parts of the song down, it can always be embellished with the vocals and the addition of instruments later. If you stripped away the instruments and vocal treatment from many songs, you will find that a lot of them are pretty basic in their construction.
Don’t Forget to Record
Ever had a moment of inspiration where a song starts forming in your head but you fail to write it down, or tell yourself you will do it later? If you have, you would probably have missed out on what could have possibly been a good song. Whenever the urge comes on to create, be sure to record as much as possible, whether by writing down your thoughts or recording them on an electronic device. Every smartphone (and even some of the non-smart ones) and many computers come with the ability to voice-record. Don’t worry about the quality of the sound when making your song; as long as it’s audible, you can always fix it up later on when you’re ready to turn it into a professional recording or mix.
Being able to write with feeling is a step in the right direction if you want to really connect with listeners while figuring out how to be a great song lyricist. It might also prove helpful when dealing