It can be challenging to write original lyrics for a song because your goal is to make it personal and specific to you. Good song lyrics have an effect on listeners and attract them. If you want to write unique lyrics, the first thing to do is familiarize yourself with the cliches to avoid and then work on defining your personal style. Then brainstorm your topic and start writing. Afterwards, you need to make sure to perfect the lyrics so that your listeners receive the best version of them.
Part 1 of 4: Avoid cliches
Step 1. Don't use overused phrases
Many different phrases are used frequently in song lyrics. While it may seem innocuous to use them, some of them are so over the top that your lyrics may sound cheesy or make no sense to others. If you want your lyrics to be fresh and original, you should reflect on each verse as you write it and ask yourself if you've heard that phrase before. If you're not sure, you can look up the phrase online to find out if it occurs frequently. These are some of the common phrases in songs:
- "I'm on my knees begging you please …"
- "You don't realize that …"
- "I don't know where I'm going but I know where I've been …"
Step 2. Don't combine rhymes that are obvious
As you write, try not to rhyme with the first or second word that occurs to you. Easy rhymes feature repeatedly in songs, so brainstorm several different options and go for the most original if you want your lyrics to be truly unique. You should try to avoid rhymes with the following words:
- "thing" and "rose"
- "fly" and "love"
- "heart" and "reason"
- "beautiful" and "star"
- "flower" and "love"
Step 3. Stay away from simple rhyme schemes
While it might seem natural to go for an AABB or ABAB rhyme scheme made up of only perfect rhymes, this may make your songs sound familiar or even a bit boring. You should try to rhyme in a creative way. From time to time, add an assonance rhyme to your lyrics, opt for a more advanced rhyme scheme (like ABCB), or give your song an original twist by mixing two different rhyme schemes.
- Assonance rhymes occur when two words that are very similar but have slightly different sounds rhyme. For example, Pablo Neruda uses the assonance rhyme between "dew" and "with me" in one of his poems: "Hear the immense night, more immense without it / And the verse falls to the soul like dew to grass / What does it matter that my love could not keep her / The night is starry and she is not with me ".
- The poem Salicio de Garcilaso de la Vega is interesting, since its rhyme scheme is not coherent and it also incorporates internal rhymes; that is, rhymes within the verses. For example: "The usual course of ingenuity / even if he lacks the genius that moves him / with the escape he carries he runs a little / and although he is now crazy, not for that / he has to give the mischievous his meaning".
Step 4. Avoid pronouns
While referring to your girlfriend as "she" or your dad as "he" in your lyrics might seem natural to you, include their real names, nicknames, or phrases that describe who they are to give your song a unique twist.
- In their song Eleanor Rigby, the Beatles used names. In some of the lyrics there are verses like these: "Father McKenzie, writing the words / Of a sermon that no one will hear / No one comes near" about").
- In their song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, instead of using a pronoun, the Beatles use a descriptive phrase to refer to someone: "The girl with kaleidoscope eyes" ("The girl with kaleidoscope eyes").
Part 2 of 4: Establish an Original Style
Step 1. Listen to musical genres that you don't usually listen to
If all you listen to is country pop music, your songs may be similar to country pop songs because it is the style you are most familiar with. If you want to come up with your own unique style and sound, you should listen to different genres of music, even those that you don't particularly like. Consider what songs belonging to the same genre have in common and how they differ from songs in other genres.
Step 2. Listen to songs that have unique lyrics
As you begin to listen to music of different types, choose songs whose lyrics are particularly interesting and listen to them. Find sample songs whose images are bizarre, use poetic language, and whose choruses are memorable. You can listen to the following songs:
- Life on Mars by David Bowie
- Subterranean Homesick Blues by Bob Dylan
- Both Sides, Now by Joni Mitchell
- Pedestrian at Best by Courtney Barnett
- Fleetwood Mac Landslide
- Get Your Freak On by Missy Elliott
- Eminem stan
Step 3. Mix different influences
Identify what you like and don't like about different songs. When you're writing lyrics and you get stuck, you can think about what you like about music of different types and try to incorporate those aspects into your lyrics. This will help you develop your own style rather than copying a specific style that already exists.
For example, you may find that you like the relatable country music narration and also the fast-paced rhymes of rap. You can try to mix them up when writing your lyrics
Step 4. Experiment with different song structures
Most of the music heard on the radio is in the form of a verse and chorus. However, many excellent songs use other structures. If you think that your song still has an unoriginal sound even though you like the lyrics, you can rearrange the lyrics and put it in verse (AAA) or ballad (AABA) format.
- In verse songs, each successive stanza has the same melody. Ballads, on the other hand, have two identical stanzas, then a unique third stanza and a final stanza that sounds the same as the first two.
- An example of a song composed in the verse format is the hymn Amazing Grace.
- Elvis Presley's song Can’t Help Falling in Love is an example of a ballad.
- Coldplay's Yellow is an example of a song in stanza and chorus format.
Part 3 of 4: Brainstorm and Write
Step 1. Come up with a cohesive and authentic story
You should determine what you want to write about before you sit down to write. It is possible to come up with strong lyrics by choosing almost any subject as long as it is something you care about and think about a lot. If you want a better chance of coming up with original lyrics, reflect on something real when writing rather than forcing yourself to write about something common, like romantic difficulties.
Are you upset right now about something petty your best friend did yesterday? Do autumn leaves sharpen your appreciation for nature? Are you frustrated due to your mental block? Write your lyrics using these real emotions
Step 2. Take a different approach to a familiar topic
For the most part, the songs are written on familiar themes, such as love, loss, family, and heartbreak. You can put a unique spin on a familiar topic. Consider how you could make a familiar topic different or specific to you.
For example, if your recent breakup has inspired you, you can reflect on the unique aspects of that relationship and its end and focus on the lyrics you write expressing those unique details in a specific way
Step 3. Write a surprising first verse
In the first verses of the song there should be a "hook" that attracts the listener and keeps him listening. The opening lines should be created in a way that catches the listener off guard and piques their interest. Don't start with something familiar but instead come up with a statement or image that may seem slightly strange or confusing to your listeners.
For example, the Rolling Stones song Sympathy for the Devil begins with the words "Please allow me to introduce myself / I'm a man of wealth and taste." "). This intro doesn't clearly reveal what the song will be about, so it piques listeners' curiosity
Step 4. Use metaphors and similes
Metaphors compare two things, while similes also make comparisons but using the word "like." Both are excellent literary figures for incorporating specific details into letters. You can use them to uniquely describe your feelings and emotions.
For example, in the song Both Sides, Now by Joni Mitchell, the metaphor of clouds in the chorus is used to talk about the singer's conflicting feelings about love: "I've looked at clouds from both sides now / From up and down and still somehow / It's cloud's illusions I recall / I really don't know clouds at all " of the clouds what I remember / I really don't know the clouds at all ")
Step 5. Use the images to make a drawing
Your song is more likely to stand out to listeners and to be remembered by listeners if the lyrics create a certain image or scene. If you use lines that express what happened in an imprecise way, such as "We spent our time together / And we got to know each other well," your listeners may find them boring. Instead, you need to be more creative and detailed when it comes to how you communicate with your listeners.
For example, in his song BBQ Stain, Tim McGraw creates an image on this topic: "I had a BBQ stain on my white T-shirt / She was killing me in that miniskirt / Skipping rocks on the river by the railroad tracks" ("I had a barbecue stain on my white T-shirt / She was killing me in that miniskirt / Going around in the river by the train tracks")
Step 6. Write lyrics using the inner monologue
You can make your lyrics more spontaneous by trying to sing the first thing that comes to mind at the time. Play a melody and sing whatever you are thinking as it arises. Choose words that fit that melody and write them down.
- For example, if you simply let your imagination run wild and jot down the lyrics as they occur to you, you could end up with a song about life on Mars.
- Then you can review the lyrics at another time and decide which ones you want to keep.
Step 7. Put limits and restrictions on your lyrics
You could challenge yourself to write a song with only certain words or phrases, or try to make each verse you write about a different period of your relationship with your former partner. Choose a concept and apply it to the song so that you must write within specific limits or rules. Perhaps this will inspire you to think more creatively.
For example, you can challenge yourself to write a song about loss without using common words, such as "cry," "sad," or "goodbye."
Step 8. Take a different perspective from yours
Consider what your former partners might think of you now and write from their point of view. You can also try writing lyrics from the point of view of someone whose political or social views are completely different from yours. By taking a different perspective, you challenge yourself to think outside of your comfort zone.
You can also try sitting in a public place and thinking of song lyrics from the point of view of strangers around you, or writing from the point of view of a parent, peer, or close friend
Step 9. Try the clipping technique
This songwriting technique was popular with artists like David Bowie and David Byrne. Photocopy pages of your journal, cut out different words and phrases, and then rearrange them so that they form interesting lyrics for songs.
You can also cut out words from magazines or newspapers and make song lyrics out of them
Step 10. Write with a partner
It may be easier for you to write lyrics collaborating with a friend, relative, or one of your peers. You can ask a close friend or one of your peers to help you come up with unique lyrics for a song. Each could compose a verse of the song and write from their individual points of view on a common theme.
You can also try writing a song that is a duet with someone else. You may both choose to sing your own verses each and then sing the chorus together
Part 4 of 4: Perfecting the Letters
Step 1. Sing the lyrics out loud
Listen to what the lyrics sound like when you say them or sing them out loud and see if they are unique and specific to your point of view or someone else's. Be careful to bring the song to life for listeners by using metaphors, similes, and imagery, as well as changing parts of verses that seem clumsy or too wordy or short. This will improve the flow of the song.
Also, when singing the song out loud, be careful not to have any spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, although it may be permissible to leave these errors if you are writing from the perspective of a person whose character has poor grammar or spelling
Step 2. Share the letters with others
Ask your friends, family, and peers to give you feedback on the song and ask if they think it's unique or different from the others. You can ask them for suggestions on ways to improve it.
Be open to constructive criticism. These will make your song better and more solid in the long run
Step 3. Put the lyrics to music
Accompany the lyrics by playing guitar or piano or use an existing digital recording. This is what can give the last component to the letters and make them feel complete.
- If you don't play any instruments, you could ask your musician friends to compose the music for your lyrics.
- If there is an instrument that you are very familiar with, you may find it easier to compose the instrumental music first and determine the vocal melody and then write the lyrics.