Songwriting Techniques 8: Lyrics

In part 8 of the Songwriting Techniques series we will be looking at ‘Lyrics'. This week I have 10 ideas for you to get you started on your next lyrical masterpiece.

1. Rhyming can often be a key part of lyric writing, to help you find more interesting rhymes try using an online rhyming dictionary.

2. Once you have decided on a topic that you would like to write about, make a mind map featuring all the words that you think of that relate to the topic. You can then use these words to start writing your lyrics.

3. Pick up a newspaper and scan the articles for the headlines. Headlines make great song titles and can kick start your lyric writing. To push this idea further you can then read the story and use this as inspiration for your lyrics. There is a very famous Beatles song that uses this technique - see if you can work out which one it is!

4. It may be cliche, but try writing a love song. Love is a universal topic that everyone can relate to, that's why there are so many songs about love.

5. Remember that lyrics don't always have to make sense; artistic license allows you to write whatever you like, if it sounds catchy, go for it!

6. Try writing lyrics for a track out of completely made up words. This technique will enable you to focus on the sounds of the words you create and how they link together and with the song as a whole.

7. Take time to sit and read the lyrics from a range of songs, particularly those by songwriters who are considered ‘classics’. Why not set yourself the aim to read one set of lyrics each day or week.

8. Why not try write sad lyrics to an uplifting song or happy lyrics to a sad song. This juxtaposition adds intrigue for the listen to establish what they feel the song means or reflects.

9. If you have an idea for a melody but are struggling with lyrics, why not try singing it will random words that you feel fit with the melody. This will give you an idea of the vocal sounds and word structures that work with your idea. You can then go back over what you have recorded and replace the words.

10. Reading poetry can be a really useful way of exposing yourself to new lyric writing ideas. Pay particular attention to the word structures used and the way that words can be used to ‘paint a picture’ or images in your imagination.