Lyrics

mikeplow1961
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Joined: Nov 20 2010, 02:43 PM

Sep 20 2011, 01:10 PM #1

How do those of you who do, go about it?

I think the main reason I've never recorded anything of my own is the idea of writing lyrics. I just seem to stumble when i think about it.

How do 'you' approach it? Do you labour over it, wanting every line to be meaningful? Do you just take the attitude that most lyrics are bollocks so just knock something out and not be self conscious about it?

Are there tricks that are useful? I'm reaching a point where I want to start making my own music but the whole lyric thing just throws me.
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marvell78
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Joined: Jul 3 2003, 06:24 PM

Sep 20 2011, 01:32 PM #2

a very good question. almost impossible to answer since verybody has a different approach

i think it is a good idea to keep a notebook full of lines, phrases. i wouldnt immediately use them. i usually store them until they are needed. you can see the old mes number of having stuff on scraps, in notebooks. most people who write stuff (that i know) do the same thing

one thing i find tha helps is to incorporate lines from different times. a line from last week with a line from a month ago and lines from different places: one from a book, one from a conversation, one from a newspaper, one i may have thought up myself. i dont care whether they immedaitely makes sesne. they will in the end. i let them make thier own connections rather than force them!

singel best thing though is reverb. masses of it. sing lyrics, whatever comes to mind and rhythmically fits the music. in the reverb they get lost but they also suggest new words and phrases. i think alot of people do this (john lennon for example used this technique to great effect

must think this topic over. interested to see how other people go about it
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mikeplow1961
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Joined: Nov 20 2010, 02:43 PM

Sep 20 2011, 01:38 PM #3

marvell78 @ Sep 21 2011, 01:32 AM wrote:

singel best thing though is reverb. masses of it. sing lyrics, whatever comes to mind and rhythmically fits the music. in the reverb they get lost but they also suggest new words and phrases. i think alot of people do this (john lennon for example used this technique to great effect
That's interesting. I saw a docu recently about Metallica's Black album and James Hedfield waited till the music track was done then sort of skats over the track without words till he's got a melody and rhythm he feels happy with and then writes lyrics to fit what he's recorded.

I have started noting down phrases that occur to me.

I'm very much looking forward to hear how everyone goes about this.
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Joined: Jun 20 2009, 02:14 AM

Sep 20 2011, 02:27 PM #4

I've always had a hard time identifying with stories like that Hetfield one, or similar ones about writers who have more music than lyrics, and have to scat-sing along, or use nonsense words ("Scrambled Eggs") til they write some more permanent lyrics... because for me it's the other way 'round. I always have WAY more lyrics than music: as I speak, I have three full lyrics waiting for a song. :wacko: I keep hoping I run out, so that I can write words specifically tailored to the song, but that rarely happens.

When I come up with a music idea, I then have a choice of lyrics. I can pick the lyric that fits best both metrically and 'synæsthetically." That is: which lyric 'mood'; fits the musics 'mood.' You can also 'ironically' match lyrics that are opposite of the mood the music suggests, but I'm not interested in that. Sometimes nothing I have fits, and then I will write something new specifically for the music in question.

Like Marvell said, I'll also write down any fragments or couplets that occur to me for use later on. This comes in handy when I think I've got a full lyric, but it turns out it's short a verse or something, then I find the fragment that matches the rest best.

Great thread, Mike. B)
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marvell78
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Joined: Jul 3 2003, 06:24 PM

Sep 20 2011, 02:38 PM #5

With reverb I agree you need to have a few words or lines to start with. But I have found it useful. The other obvious thing to do is let others listen to song with lyrics. Have often changed lyrics when I have seen how other people quite rightly wince when they heard them lol. Collaboration is good too to keep things in check or to bring out something in the lyrics you might have missed yourself

The marvell78 stuff I put up here is deliberate attempt at pop music. In this case I don't make much effort for lyrics. But other things I do require more thought and I would be far more careful critical due to the context
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Joined: Jun 20 2009, 02:14 AM

Sep 20 2011, 02:47 PM #6

marvell78 @ Sep 20 2011, 07:38 AM wrote: Collaboration is good too to keep things in check or to bring out something in the lyrics you might have missed yourself
I've found this to be true as well.
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duckpin236
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Joined: Jan 1 2007, 01:45 AM

Sep 20 2011, 10:41 PM #7

for unusual words or phrases, once on an album, twice in a career
and tonight the children are crying out in the land where they let the children cry
Yesterday I believed in man;today I don't. And tomorrow? Tomorrow is up in the air.
Standing on a corner waiting for no one is Power.
I wish I was free of that slaving meat wheel and safe in heaven dead.
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Joined: Jun 20 2009, 02:14 AM

Sep 20 2011, 10:42 PM #8

duckpin236 @ Sep 20 2011, 03:41 PM wrote: for unusual words or phrases, once on an album, twice in a career
Shombalor!
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duckpin236
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Joined: Jan 1 2007, 01:45 AM

Sep 20 2011, 11:02 PM #9

Wundahubba!
and tonight the children are crying out in the land where they let the children cry
Yesterday I believed in man;today I don't. And tomorrow? Tomorrow is up in the air.
Standing on a corner waiting for no one is Power.
I wish I was free of that slaving meat wheel and safe in heaven dead.
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Joined: Jun 20 2009, 02:14 AM

Sep 20 2011, 11:38 PM #10

Butch Dover, Casanover, Buddha McRae, she's crazy that way...
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the fell
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Joined: Jul 2 2010, 09:33 PM

Sep 21 2011, 12:20 AM #11

Good advice here about writing random phrases, ideas, or overheard strangeness- it's the best way to get started writing lyrics anyway.
Not being afraid of silliness or goofiness is another important hurdle, when you start writing lyrics- not being too precious about them anyway.
AUTOMATIC WRITING is a useful tool as well- and then edit, edit, edit.
Nonsense is better than no sense at all- NMN
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junk-man
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Joined: Aug 1 2003, 11:48 AM

Sep 23 2011, 06:50 PM #12

The best way for me at the mo is when a particular sentiment comes bubbling up at the same time as the urge to write (because those two things often occur separately).

I woke up this morning feeling fucked off about going to work as usual, but ended up bashing out this lyric to the title 12 Hour Shift (which I've had as an idea for a while, matched up with a cyclical, a-melodic bassline that sounds really claustrophobic and joyless to me).

I felt really good afterwards about having really nailed down a feeling that's been dragging at me for years.
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junk-man
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Joined: Aug 1 2003, 11:48 AM

Sep 23 2011, 06:58 PM #13

All I can think of by way of advice is to try and please yourself. This is hard at first because you won't have 'found your voice' and might feel frustrated by attempts to find it, but don't think to yourself 'oh that line is too weird/dark/mundane/pretentious/ridiculous', if its a line that holds truth for you, and you're only thinking those thoughts because you're worried about how other people might take it.

In short, most of the safe, vanilla, pass-you-by shit is made by people who are afraid of embarrassment. Don't be scared to go out on a limb, or to alienate people (10 or 50 or 100 people totally alienated by a thing is also is one other person who will REALLY fucking love it)
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marvell78
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Joined: Jul 3 2003, 06:24 PM

Sep 23 2011, 10:01 PM #14

junk-man @ Sep 24 2011, 06:50 AM wrote: The best way for me at the mo is when a particular sentiment comes bubbling up at the same time as the urge to write (because those two things often occur separately).

I woke up this morning feeling fucked off about going to work as usual, but ended up bashing out this lyric to the title 12 Hour Shift (which I've had as an idea for a while, matched up with a cyclical, a-melodic bassline that sounds really claustrophobic and joyless to me).

I felt really good afterwards about having really nailed down a feeling that's been dragging at me for years.

any chance we could have a read through the lyrics ?

or even hear the song
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junk-man
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Joined: Aug 1 2003, 11:48 AM

Sep 23 2011, 10:59 PM #15

It's these, I haven't recorded it yet, it'll just be kind of recited dead-pan over a bass-drum thing. Its pretty gloomy, I actually have more optimism than is represented in this, although this is how I genuinely feel sometimes:


12 HOUR SHIFT

what made me think i was so special
that i'd be spared this
yeah, not me, I said, oh no, not me

this daisy chain of numbing tasks
the working life of a trodden down sap

guess I thought I'd worm my way out

but my initiative wasn't up to the task
life pinned it to the ground with its knee in my back
said 'forget what you want.
'you've got a job to do, cunt.'

I look to the future and I'm staring down the barrel of a gun

me and hope, we ain't friends any more
I don't hang around with people who bullshit
"oh it'll get better mate, it'll turn around"
yeah yeah
"all you've gotta do is make the change"
I made a hundred changes
new job, new town
take what roots you have
tear em outta the ground
and what do you find in your brave new world
the daisy chain
another 12 hour shift
another indifferent girl
another shade of shit

that weight on your mind is all the hours you spent
doing something you hate
its 12 heavier a day....


there'll be more at some point
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Joined: Mar 15 2006, 03:58 PM

Oct 5 2011, 12:14 PM #16

Thanks for that, Junk man.
Wasn't sure about daisy chain at first but it's daysy, isn't it?

I am no wordsmith but did have fun doing pieces based on anagrams of names of my flatmates etc. Committed to including said anagrams in a piece of writing (one was "wine oils soul") Maybe not the anagrams themselves but whatever is generated heading to those may be useful.
argle bargle fargle
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junk-man
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Joined: Aug 1 2003, 11:48 AM

Oct 6 2011, 12:37 PM #17

Totales Plebeian @ Oct 6 2011, 12:14 AM wrote: Thanks for that, Junk man.
Wasn't sure about daisy chain at first but it's daysy, isn't it?
No, that's a bit of a cryptic-crossword level of reading-into which I never go in for. Gonna take a couple of the sillier lines out though I think!

I want to read some of flickering lexicons woids
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Joined: Jun 20 2009, 02:14 AM

Oct 6 2011, 03:17 PM #18

junk-man @ Oct 6 2011, 05:37 AM wrote:
Totales Plebeian @ Oct 6 2011, 12:14 AM wrote: Thanks for that, Junk man.
Wasn't sure about daisy chain at first but it's daysy, isn't it?
No, that's a bit of a cryptic-crossword level of reading-into which I never go in for. Gonna take a couple of the sillier lines out though I think!

I want to read some of flickering lexicons woids
Ok, Junk-Man, here's some from my last 'album' that I though came out well:

FUTUREPROOF PROSUMER

Tangerine girls with the hi-def webcams
Political fights until the spambots logjam
Broken hot links from some religious finks
The tube is on you when the spotlight blinks

My light is burnin' 'neath a bushel made of flammable tar
I'm a Futureproof Prosumer and I'm proppin' up the bar

'Disappeared' me down the coast with a GPS ghost
I filmed it with my cellphone and then I burned it like toast
Drank a can of Rockstar, played a burnin' guitar
On a satellite channel in a hybrid car

Bored out of my hair with the glaring shovelware
There's a dream-stream-queen banging like a tambourine
Anonymous thumbs from the newbug bums
Talk about what you'd tap, but you're just talking crap
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Orphistic
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Joined: Mar 1 2005, 08:44 AM

Oct 6 2011, 10:54 PM #19

I write my lyrics on loo roll.
Hot dog buns every Friday,
Shombalor

Free Music of Mine
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Ducky
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Joined: Feb 8 2006, 05:37 PM

Oct 7 2011, 12:56 PM #20

A good way is to get the vocal melody in your head and just sing the first thing that comes into your head- even if it's nonsense.

Then refine it and use phrases or lines you've got in a notebook.


NB: Noel Gallagher uses the first of these tips but eschews the second.
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Joined: May 8 2004, 01:33 PM

Oct 10 2011, 02:31 PM #21

flickeringlexicon @ Oct 6 2011, 11:17 AM wrote:
junk-man @ Oct 6 2011, 05:37 AM wrote:
Totales Plebeian @ Oct 6 2011, 12:14 AM wrote: Thanks for that, Junk man.
Wasn't sure about daisy chain at first but it's daysy, isn't it?
No, that's a bit of a cryptic-crossword level of reading-into which I never go in for. Gonna take a couple of the sillier lines out though I think!

I want to read some of flickering lexicons woids
Ok, Junk-Man, here's some from my last 'album' that I though came out well:

FUTUREPROOF PROSUMER

Tangerine girls with the hi-def webcams
Political fights until the spambots logjam
Broken hot links from some religious finks
The tube is on you when the spotlight blinks

My light is burnin' 'neath a bushel made of flammable tar
I'm a Futureproof Prosumer and I'm proppin' up the bar

'Disappeared' me down the coast with a GPS ghost
I filmed it with my cellphone and then I burned it like toast
Drank a can of Rockstar, played a burnin' guitar
On a satellite channel in a hybrid car

Bored out of my hair with the glaring shovelware
There's a dream-stream-queen banging like a tambourine
Anonymous thumbs from the newbug bums
Talk about what you'd tap, but you're just talking crap
Now everybody:

Soy un perdedor . . .
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Joined: Jun 20 2009, 02:14 AM

Oct 10 2011, 03:53 PM #22

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Joined: Jun 20 2009, 02:14 AM

Feb 26 2012, 08:17 AM #23

Delmore was asking about the lyrics to an old song of mine, "Five-Mile Limit." Looking at them, I thought they were worth posting...


FIVE-MILE LIMIT

Chorus:

Every six months there's a 5-mile limit
you have to change partners by law
The pressure is on, [so] you might as well quit
You can't see the diamond for the flaw

Eyes are sending out a flare
frictions are too well-grounded
When you're being boarded, you don't go nowhere
no-tolerance has your heart impounded

(repeat chorus)

We need a hug down in the hold
contraband that can't be sold
Keep it light, just like the foam
You've drunk enough, now head back home

(repeat chorus)

Breakers make me tumble dry
Everything is wash and wear
The sea of love rejects a spy
I saw the seaweed in your hair

No more sitting on the sofa
Your 6-month trial period is over
When you found you'd get no money back
I hit the switch, you hit the sack

(solo)
(repeat chorus)

Open the veins of communication
Out beyond the limit on the Saline Sea
Dot-and-dash against the rocks
Your coast was guarded constantly

(repeat chorus)
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Joined: Mar 15 2006, 03:58 PM

Feb 4 2014, 01:03 PM #24

Ducky @ Oct 8 2011, 12:56 AM wrote: A good way is to get the vocal melody in your head and just sing the first thing that comes into your head- even if it's nonsense.

Then refine it and use phrases or lines you've got in a notebook.


NB: Noel Gallagher uses the first of these tips but eschews the second.
Know of a poet (Sam Hunt) who writes like that... he hears a poem before it has any words. Like a mumble that gets louder.
argle bargle fargle
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Joined: Mar 15 2006, 03:58 PM

Feb 4 2014, 01:12 PM #25

shifted it.
argle bargle fargle
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