Jump to content

Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

Lyric flow?

Recommended Posts

Hey All! I'm new to this forum(been on Keyboard Corner) Anyway I got a rhyme I wana try in a song.(no copy cats please!!) Here it is:


You look at me and the first thing you do is judge me. You think Im easy to control. Well let me tell youohoyou think your words are gonna get to me. All your talk is worth nothin. Your mouth keeps on runnin but you stay away.

One day your mouth will write a check that your body cant cash. And Ill just sit back and laugh. Im tired of your smack talkin, rumor spreadin, trailer trash ways. Oho. Screw it lets just do it.


Lets take it to the pavement and see what you got. Get it my face and youll become the one the world forgot. You put in your 2 cents from the other side of the fence. But when were both on the same side things change, you try to hide the fear inside. But I say oho I say..screw it lets just do it.


There's alot of wierd ryhmes in this one. But my band claims it's edgy. They like it but I'm not sure. It's kinda missin sumin.

Write Back

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 8
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Lyrics can be difficult. I spend many, many hours fine-tuning mine. It's easier for me to help with what I think of as "standard" style lyrics, like you'd find in typical rock, country, or pop. Helping with more wide-open genres like emo is more difficult simply because there's little form or storyline to work on.


What style of music goes with your words?

Kawai GS-40 grand & other keys
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been doing some more thinking about your lyrics and I think you're right, it's missing something. There's a way to find out what else you might want to say in the song.


Take your first verse and write a one sentence summary of it. Like "You think I'm gullible". Then do the same for the next verse. It might be "You're the fool". And then decide what else there is to say. It could be "Ok, maybe we're a match" :) or something along those lines. But, to me, what's missing may not be what's missing to you. I can't tell you what it is, you'll have to find it. There's something left unsaid, whether it's a truth about now or something about how things are going to be.


Think about it, get a feel for it, then write another one-line summary (unless the verse itself just comes out). It's often true that lyrics to a song are like three acts to a play, and summarizing things can help you see what's missing.


Hope this helps.

Kawai GS-40 grand & other keys
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

That's some good advice, Hugo! :thu:


I seem to remember looking at these lyrics before and I had the same misunderstanding. Correct me if I'm wrong, KBP, but the "let's just do it" isn't a romantic reference, it's a "let's get ready to rumble" reference at wanting to physically attack someone. (Putting "screw it" in there further leads the listener in the wrong direction, IMO.) This was the biggest problem I had in understanding the song. (But then again I'm no spring chicken anymore, so maybe it's just me. ;) )


In this light, and knowing something of the author, the song's meaning is clear: this is a school yard catfight song. (Well, I'm assuming the antagonist is also female; I could be wrong about the "cat" part of the fight.) At least it reminds me a lot of my high school girlfriend's trials and tribulations. She was somewhat of a tomboy and didn't always get along well with the other girls, to put it mildly.


Language is a funny thing. I can say something simple, like "fold your paper in half", and you might fold an 8.5x11-inch paper in half so the crease divides the paper into two equal 8.5x5.5-inch sections. Someone else may fold it "lengthwise", that is, into two equal 4.25x11-inch sections. Someone else may pick up a square piece of origami paper and fold it along the diagonal to make two equal triangles. Sometimes when we say something that has obvious meaning to us, that meaning is not so obvious to our listener.


So, one thing that may be missing is developing "screw it let's just do it" so the listener gets an image of what that really means. There's a lot of emotional tension built up before that, and now you have a chance to describe the physical release of that tension. It doesn't have to be a knock-down, blow-by-blow accounting of a street fight; it can be a little more oblique.


I think I referenced Pat Benatar's song "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" last time. Your lyrics remind me of her tough tomboy style. Another person they remind me of is Alanis Morissette, especially her CD "Jagged Little Pill". It may be worthwhile for you to check them out to see how they approached similar topics. (Sorry, I'm not as familiar with punk. My roommate used to play Siouxsie and the Banshees but I don't know if they addressed this kind of topic.)


In "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", the female singer is challenging a male antagonist to "put up your dukes", hence the connection to your song. There are a lot of sexual undertones that make the song interesting. "Let's get down to it" follows "put up your dukes", so the literal meaning is "let's start a fight". However, taken in context of the song, it can also mean that she's not afraid to have a relationship with this "love-'em and leave 'em" guy because she may just beat him at his own game. The hidden or double meaning of the lyrics make them interesting.


I don't think there is any hidden meaning in your lyrics, and that's fine. I'm sure there are plenty of people that share just the simple sentiment of "you're a jerk and I just want to hit you". You're also saying "I'm strong and you can't knock me down" (somewhat reminiscent of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive" ). That's a decent idea to build a song around, I think. Sometimes as songwriters we try too hard to force something more than that. (However, trying to write a song just based on "I love you" or "I hate you" might be a little too generic and need further development.) I think this is the kind of analysis Hugo was leading you towards.


Earlier I said something about images in songs. Another something that is missing is an image of where this is taking place. You probably don't want something dry like "We both go to Shelby Junior High". However, if the setting is indeed school, you can make references to "when I pass you in the hall" and "at my locker" and "old man Oglethorpe's history class" and things like that. Each one has a connotation of a school without coming out and saying so.


You could also add some imagery around your straightforwardness. "You look at me and the first thing you do is judge me." How does that make you feel? The first thing that comes to my mind is "Who are you to judge me?" That's fine, but it may be too literal. What do you think of when you hear this?


I keep coming back to the word "judge", because it gives me a mental image of a person wearing a long black robe sitting at a bench with gavel in hand. There's got to be something there you can use. This person holds no power over you, so they are a "false" judge. How can you make a judge look powerless? "That's not a robe you wear", and maybe something about the gavel. I keep hearing "unravel" as a rhyming word that could also be used to express the loss of power. Since you mention "look" in the first line, "stare" may be a good rhyme to "robe you wear". Or maybe something like this: "That stare that you wear is no robe, and your order is unraveled." (Reading that back, the 2nd half doesn't seem to fit the song, but the 1st half would.)


Another idea just hit me. It's a long shot, because the references (a) will date the song, and (b) may be too "geezerly". I was thinking of using "Judge Judy" somehow, when another Judy popped into my head. There used to be a puppet show called "Punch and Judy" . Something along the lines of "when my Punch meets your Judge Judy".


Er, some other parts that lead to the wrong interpretation of your song are "you stay away", since it is usually used in song along with "when you want to be near me", again in a romantic context. What you really mean is "keep a safe distance", like just out of reach of a viscious attack dog on a leash. Also, "when were both on the same side". This can be interpreted to mean that the two parties are uniting, perhaps against a common enemy.

You're really talking about the fence from the previous line, and how when it's not there to shield her, she's afraid of you. It's when the gate is open and you're cut loose from any ties that may hold you at bay.


Anyway, that's just some ideas to get you to look at what the core of your song is about, and how you can use images to help you express things. You can describe using any sense -- sight, smell, touch, etc. -- to help the listener connect with the song.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As for the "edginess", I think that comes from some of the more unusual images and rhymes that you've come up with.


"your mouth will write a check that your body cant cash."


"take it to the pavement"


"You put in your 2 cents from the other side of the fence"


I think these are all effective. To me, they're very imaginative. They're creative and uniquely "KeyboardPunk"-ish. Well done! :thu:


Some other phrases have seen the light of day before -- "see what you got", "get in my face", etc. -- but they help mold the overall sound of the song. (Forgive me, but the word I might use to describe that might be "urban". If you take out the "oho"s it starts to read like a hip-hop song to me, especially the last stanza. ;) ) Anyway, there's nothing wrong with using these phrases. Lots of successful songs do this.


So maybe that's where the edginess is coming from? From the unique images, rhymes, and urban phrases?


One thing that is very difficult to get a feel for when you're talking about lyrics on paper is how they sound when the music's playing. Something that reads awkwardly might sound perfectly natural when set to music. I'm talking about prosody . (On that link, I'm talking about the part that follows "lyric meter".)


When reading poetry in iambic pentameter, or some other established meter, the reader knows exactly which syllables to stress. With lyrics this is not always the case.


When I try to read your lyrics -- especially as you've formatted them -- it's not readily appearant to me what the rhythm or meter is. Some lines read awkwardly, but when I give them a go as "DJ Li'l Ric" they flow nicely, yo. ;)


You put in your two cents

from the other side of the fence


You put in your two cents

from the other side of the fence


In either case, there's more syllables in the 2nd line, so when I say it aloud I have to squish together "from the other" in order to make things fit. Otherwise I end up emphasizing "the" -- "from the other" -- and end up with bad prosody.


So, I'm having a hard time imagining how this would sound if an old-school punk band like the Ramones were to do it. It still comes across as hip-hop to me, so maybe you're doing some kind of hip-hop/punk?


It's always great to see you 'round these parts, KBP. We've written back. Now it's your turn. :) Let us know if anything has helped you, confused you, answered your questions, or raised more questions than it answered.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Hey guys!

Thanks ALOT your help has really improved my ability to see the song from all angles. For example i've realized that i put my words in a way that i could understand not my potetial listeners. I have to take in acount how they'll percieve it.

I've been workin on it...how's this:

You look at me

and the first thing you do is judge

But you really shouldn't rush

Give me a chance

Before you run that mouth

Take a minute

to find what I'm about

Pickin a fight

Is not the way

And if you try it with me

you'll shurely pay


(sounds as if two girls are fighting in the background)


Lets take it to the pavement and see what you got.

Get it my face and youll become the one the world forgot.

You give your 2 cents on the other side of the fence.

But when were both on the same side

things change,

But I say I say..forget the trash talk

lets just do this (or keep "it". i haven't decided)


Thanks again guys



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Yeah, Hugo's a good guy and he knows songwriting!


If you're writing a song from scratch you may want to try something a little different. Instead of writing the whole thing out and then trying to summarize each section you can start with an outline, just like the ones used for the dreaded high school five-paragraph paper.


In fact, that's a pretty good lesson. You start with a topic for the paper; for a song it's good if you have an idea or title as soon as possible. Now organize your thoughts about the topic into three main ideas that lead to your conclusion. These will become four of the five paragraphs. For a song you'll probably want at least two verses that lead to the chorus. Don't actually write the verses and chorus yet, just put a short outline-like summary of them as a placeholder for now. In the paper all that's left is the introduction paragraph. (Yes, even though it is the first paragraph read, sometimes it's easiest to write it last.) A song typically will have a bridge, but not always.



I. Introduction

II. Supportive Idea One

III. Supportive Idea Two

IV. Supportive Idea Three

V. Conclusion



I. Verse One

II. Chorus (One)

III. Verse Two

IV. Chorus (Two)

V. Bridge / Verse Three

VI. Chorus (Three)


In a song you can make slight variations on the chorus if you want, which is why they are numbered in parentheses.


As an example let's make an outline for a paper and a song on pollution.



I. Introduction

II. Pollution in the Air

III. Pollution in the Water

IV. Pollution in the Ground

V. Conclusion



I. Pollution in the Air

II. Pollution All Around Us (Chorus)

III. Pollution in the Water

IV. (Chorus)

V. Pollution in the Ground (Verse Three)

VI. (Chorus)


Perhaps a more effective song would replace the third verse with a bridge that functions like a theatrical chorus, a kind of commentary. Something along the lines of "it doesn't have to be this way if we all live greener lifestyles". And BTW, it's perfectly acceptable to use phrases like that in your outline. You just need to get your ideas onto paper, you don't have to worry about Miss Jenkins marking you down for not using proper outline format. ;)


Now not every song has to follow this rigid structure, but it does work well. If you can organize your thoughts in this way at the beginning of the writing process you're likely to end up with a more coherent song. This is very important for country but almost irrelavant for some trippy psychodelic stuff.


With an outline in hand it's a fairly simple matter to flesh out the actual lyrics because you essentially have a map of where you're going. It's like trying to draw a straight line freehand (without a straight edge). If you start at one edge of the paper and try to draw straight segments one inch at a time the line comes out jagged. If instead you focus on where the line will end you're more likely to draw a straight line. (Try it!)


Like anything else this is only one approach to songwriting so it won't work in all cases. But it should lead to more organized writing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...