How To Write A Song With Great Lyrics 2023

How To Write A Song With Great Lyrics 2023 – Knowing how to write a song with lyrics that draw listeners in is the hallmark of a good lyricist. However, putting your thoughts (and emotions) on paper can be challenging.

First, decide what you want to say with your song. Choose a central idea and message you want listeners to connect with. Next, select a clear song structure. Ensure it fits with the mood you want to create and the story you want to tell. Brainstorm hooks to get started. Then use literary devices and sensory details to add depth to the lyrics.

This post will walk you through the steps of writing a song with great lyrics. Let’s dive right in.

How to Write a Song: A Step-by-Step Guide

1.   Figure Out What You Want to Say

Memorable songs have a theme or message. The theme is the bones of your track. This central idea holds the piece together, guiding the lyrics you write.

The message of a song is what listeners walk away with. It’s often much deeper and more specific than the theme.

Gloria Gaynor’s 1978 hit ‘I Will Survive’ is the perfect example of a song with a strong theme. The song contains moving lyrics about finding the strength to overcome challenges. And it leaves listeners with this key message: we all have the power to rise above the difficulties in our lives, specifically after a tough relationship.

‘Sign of the Times’ by Harry Styles is another popular song with a powerful theme. Although the lyrics are ambiguous, Styles speaks to universal events that trouble him, such as a lack of regard for equal rights.

Those valuable aspects of learning how to write a song will make your tracks unique. Therefore, start by figuring out what you want to say.

Do you want to tell someone else’s story or talk about a personal experience? Is there a global issue you want to draw attention to through your lyrics?

If you want to write a song about your personal life, choose a small moment. Ask yourself what you think your listeners might want to know.

Create a list of questions to answer as you write the song’s lyrics. The most important question will form your chorus. And it’ll be repeated several times throughout the song.

Starting with a title may make figuring out what you want to say easier. Flip through a book or scroll through your Twitter feed to find three interesting short phrases.

Mix and match the words or substitute some with your own. Form different phrases until you find something you like.

Brainstorming Song Ideas

If you’re still unsure how to write a track from the start, here are some techniques to brainstorm song ideas:

  • Listen to the news. Knowing what’s happening in the world can help you write a song that’s not about your life.
  • Use song prompts. These can inspire an entire song, a complete song title, or a chorus. Do a search online to find song prompts.
  • Rewrite someone else’s song. Reverse engineering a popular track you like can help you figure out how to write a song that tops the charts.
  • Pick a random word and build a song around it. Starting with a single word can unfold into an entire piece.

With a central idea and message in mind, you can start working on the song structure.

2.   Choose a Clear Song Structure

Song structure, or form, is the set-up of your song. A track without a clear form can come off as a confusing jumble of words. That’s why it’s essential to split your piece into digestible sections.

Common Song Structures

The following are common song structures:

  • AABAThis structure comprises two verses, a bridge, and a final verse. The bridge often contrasts the rest of the verses, adding tension to the song.
  • AAA: Telling a story is easiest with this form. It comprises three verses that are typically identical or similar.
  • ABAB: This form has alternating verses and a bridge. The bridge adds tension to the song as it contrasts the verses.
  • Verse-Pre-Chorus-Chorus: With this structure, a song comprises a verse that tells a story, a tension-building pre-chorus, and a catchy chorus.
  • Verse-Verse-Chorus: This form has two verses followed by a catchy chorus.
  • Verse-Chorus: This is the most used song structure. It comprises alternating verses that tell the story and a chorus repeated throughout the track.

Don’t forget to include an outro.

Choosing a Song Structure

Choosing a song structure comes down to several factors, including:

  • The story you want to tell
  • The mood you want to create
  • The song’s length

Once you choose a structure, it’s not final. Experiment with different forms until you find one that works for your track.

3.   Develop an Engaging and Memorable Hook

Think of a song’s hook like an earworm. That short riff, passage, or phrase should play in a listener’s mind long after they click pause on your track. Or it should have them singing along at the top of their lungs.

Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ has one of the most memorable hooks. It goes: “Don’t stop believin’ / Hold on to that feelin’.”

Some common types of hooks include:

  • Intro hooks: These are placed at the beginning of a song to catch the listener’s ear.
  • Melodic hooks: These catchy melodies repeat throughout the track. You can place them in any section of your song.
  • Chorus hooks: As the name suggests, these hooks are placed in the chorus. They’re often the most memorable part of a track.
  • Lyrical hooks: These are meant to be memorable, so they are often relatable phrases about romance, heartbreak, or love. Or they’re clever rhymes. For example, in ‘Purple Haze,’ Jimi Hendrix sings, “Excuse me while I kiss the sky.”

Now, your song’s hook doesn’t have to be clever or heartbreaking. It can be a single word too.

The idea is to have a line that supports your song’s other lyrics. It should stand center-stage, like the leading performer, while the other lines act as backup dancers.

Remember to keep your hook simple. That way, it’ll be easier to remember.

4.   Construct Meaningful and Authentic Lyrics

Now that you have a central idea, structure, and memorable line for your song, the fun can begin. To construct meaningful and authentic lyrics, start from the hook.

Write verses to support it based on personal experiences or your perspective about universal events. And try to make the listeners see themselves in your song.

One of the best ways to help listeners connect with your lyrics is through sensory details. These descriptions should tap into the senses of sight, taste, touch, sound, and smell.

The inside body sense and movement are other senses you can activate. Physical sensations inside the body characterize the former, e.g., pain and pleasure. While the latter is the way objects and people move in space.

Sensory details create vivid imagery. Therefore, be as imaginative as possible in your song. Describe the sensation of a breeze skimming across your skin, the smell of cologne or perfume, and the sight of a sunset.

Moreover, be honest and authentic. Allow your listeners to see parts of your life and personality through your lyrics. Or, if it’s not a personal song, write authentically about a shared experience.

Also, remember to write your lyrics like you’re having a conversation. If your lyrics don’t align with how you speak, make them more conversational. You should also include poetic lines but don’t sacrifice simple language.

Additionally, when learning how to write a song, pay attention to the rhythm and meter to create a cohesive and engaging piece.

Incorporating Literary Devices and Figurative Language

Metaphors, similes, and symbolism are essential when learning how to write a song with great lyrics. A metaphor compares two unrelated things, so it’s figurative language.

For instance, you can compare freedom to an untamed and untethered wild river. You can include metaphors in your songs to add depth and meaning to your lyrics.

Similar to metaphors are similes. These use ‘like’ or ‘as’ for comparisons. For example, being yourself is like a soaring bird in the open sky.

Personification, hyperbole, and onomatopoeia are other literary devices you can incorporate into your lyrics.

Using Wordplay and Clever Word Choices

Wordplay and clever word choices can further boost your lyrics, making them interesting and memorable. Puns and double entendres are forms of wordplay.

Puns are phrases with multiple meanings or words that sound similar to other words. For instance, time flies, which conveys time passing quickly.

Double entendres are words or phrases with two meanings. For example, ‘She’s been running through my mind all day, but I can’t catch her.’ The double entendre here is ‘running through my mind,’ which can mean thinking about someone and pursuing them romantically.

Furthermore, you can swap out generic descriptions like lonely and beautiful for something unique and creative. In the case of ‘beautiful’ when describing someone, you could use ‘a Van Gogh painting.’

Learning how to write a song with wordplay and clever word choices takes lots of experimentation. However, it’s worth it because you can produce something truly unique.

5.   Edit and Refine

Great lyrics are the product of editing and refining. This process allows you to review the lyrics for coherence, clarity, and consistency.

Therefore, read your lyrics and make sure they work well together. Also, make sure the lines are consistent with the message or story you want to tell.

Furthermore, remove any complex ideas, clichés, or unnecessary words. If a line doesn’t add meaning to the overall song and sounds overly complicated, cut it.

You can also add to the lyrics. Perhaps there’s a metaphor or imagery to include that’ll make a line more vivid.

Getting feedback is also essential when learning how to write a song. Seek opinions from fellow songwriters or trusted friends and family members. Then revise your lyrics based on their constructive criticism.

Tips for Writing Great Song Lyrics

Keep it Simple

Balancing complexity and simplicity is hard to master. However, it’s essential to learn to strike that balance when establishing how to write a song with great lyrics. This is because long and complex lyrics will likely confuse listeners. The same goes for highly poetic verses.

Collaborate with a Good Lyricist

While co-writing can be tricky, it can pay off. A co-writer can contribute ideas, experiences, imaginative thinking, and influences to a song different from your own. You could also learn how to improve your songwriting process by collaborating with another lyricist.

Avoid Clichés

Broken heart. Walking on sunshine. Dancing in the moonlight. You’ve probably heard these clichés before.

Because these phrases have been overused, they’ve lost their effect. Therefore, they have no business in a song you want to make unique and a hit.

As you learn how to write a song with great lyrics, you must familiarize yourself with clichés. Then avoid them by putting a spin on them with your unique voice and perspective.

Seek Inspiration

When learning how to write a song, find inspiration. Listening to songs in different genres and artists whose style differs from yours is a great place to start. Also, look at the top hits that inspire you and see how their lyrics are written. Trying different songwriting techniques and exercises can also inspire great songs.

Develop Your Song in Sections

Working on your song in parts might also be helpful when learning how to write a song with great lyrics. Start with the chorus, then let it breathe. After a few days, add more verses until you have a complete piece. Or you can start with the first verse and then move on to the chorus after a break.

Keep a Songwriting Notebook

Another tip on how to write a song is to keep a songwriting notebook. Song ideas will come to you randomly, so you should have somewhere to put them. Alternatively, use the Notes app on your phone. There you can write down things that happen to you or your emotions. Or descriptions, sounds, smells, and tastes.

Try Stream of Consciousness Writing

The songwriting process can be daunting if you’re new to writing lyrics. Therefore, start with stream-of-consciousness writing. This is also a great trick for when you feel creatively blocked.

Grab your notebook or a sheet of paper, or open your phone’s Notes app. Write down what you want to say in your song as if you’re telling a friend about it.

You don’t need to rhyme. Just write down whatever comes to mind. Singing along to the melody may be helpful too.

Review what you wrote from there and pick out lines that could work well together. Ensure they align with your chosen structure and the track’s overall feel.

Elevate Your Songwriting Skills

Understanding how to write a song with great lyrics can set you apart. First, brainstorm what you want to write about, deciding on a theme and message. From there, you can choose a song structure and create a hook. Use the hook to write the verses and chorus and form a complete song.

Remember, practice and experimentation are important when writing songs. And don’t neglect to revise and edit the lyrics. After all, great lyrics come from passion and dedication.

Once you have a song ready, distributing and publishing it will come into play. Sugo Music Group is a seasoned music distributor and publisher. They can get your tracks on over 200 music streaming and download platforms in over 180 countries. Reach out today to ensure you maximize your global reach.

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