Netphoria Message Board


Go Back   Netphoria Message Board > General Boards > Music News and Discussion
Register Netphoria's Amazon.com Link Members List Photo Album Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 04-20-2016, 10:51 AM   #1
Run To Me
Apocalyptic Poster
 
Run To Me's Avatar
 
Location: Where the frog spoils the leaf
Posts: 4,112
Default Your approach to lyrics

Musicians of netphoria, please share your approach to lyrics. Do you tell stories? If so are they about you? Or do you go impressionistic? If so, are you aiming for a specific meaning? If so how buried are your meanings? Or do you just string together interesting phrases/images and call it a day?

This has always been the hardest part of songwriting for me. I oscillate hard between overly personal/confessional and impossibly obtuse/impressionistic. With the former I'm afraid I'll alienate anyone who hasn't shared my experiences/emotions. With the latter I'm worried the listener won't be engaged or interested in unravelling any meaning.

 
Run To Me is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 07:56 PM   #2
teh b0lly!!1
Braindead
 
teh b0lly!!1's Avatar
 
Location: PROWLING THE BADLANDS
Posts: 15,926
Default

great thread

a few general unwritten rules (and by that, i mean that i only now fully acknowledge that i enforce them every time i write) that i have are:

* they must read as well as a poem, and make sense to me on their own, and not look like lame song lyrics. which doesn't necessarily make sense as a writing rule, because there are plenty of song lyrics that don't necessarily read that great without music, but work perfectly with it.

* i noticed that i have a tendency to use too many I's in my lyrics. it made me very self conscious about being too self absorbed, so i'm trying to minimize that now and speak in more interesting, and perhaps relateable, terms. not that i'm trying to reach a bigger audience or anything like that, it just makes more sense to me i guess.

* sometimes i'll make attempts at stream-of-consciousness stuff and abstract lyrics. usually, as i said, everything has to make perfect sense to me, so sometimes i enjoy just jotting down whatever it is that comes to me at the moment and not thinking too much about it. unfortunately, 9 times out of 10 i'll think it's total bullshit and neglect it.

besides, it's too quick. i'm used to agonizing over songs for days and days and weeks on end, and when a song comes too quickly it makes me feel like it doesn't even count as a song. although to an outside observer both songs will have more or less equal merit.

i have no idea what the fuck i'm even talking about here. my post will probably contribute nothing to no one.
sorry for your time.

 
teh b0lly!!1 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 07:59 PM   #3
teh b0lly!!1
Braindead
 
teh b0lly!!1's Avatar
 
Location: PROWLING THE BADLANDS
Posts: 15,926
Default

actually as a listener i'm often quite fond of very self absorbed lyrics that simply boldly reflect the inner world of the writer.

father john misty (thanks rbg) is a good example of a lyricist i've come to know recently that simply speaks about his life and emotional perceptions in his songs, and i find that engrossing and artful. but i don't really allow myself to do that in my own songs. eh

 
teh b0lly!!1 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 08:01 PM   #4
teh b0lly!!1
Braindead
 
teh b0lly!!1's Avatar
 
Location: PROWLING THE BADLANDS
Posts: 15,926
Default

here is one of my 'abstract' songs that i wrote like two days ago. i still don't know if it's worth anything but this seems like a good place to post them:


the thread so tightly strung
many times wound
a stain inside the lung
heavy gauge bound

a lonely hound
desperate and so proud
late to the party
a stranger in the crowd.


the den is filled with fallout
from the last brawl
give me something solid
to punch through the god damned wall

where are you all?
the forest echoes traffic
give me something solid
to grind into the wall


you know, it's all so tragic
the way the world revolves
coming off the hinges
a senseless shopping mall.

fortress bound
so desperate to be found
late to the party
a stranger in the crowd.

 
teh b0lly!!1 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 08:39 PM   #5
buzzard
Minion of Satan
 
buzzard's Avatar
 
Posts: 5,101
Default

Generally speaking, I seek to describe my experiences as directly as possible and without embellishment. It's upsetting to the genuine among us when others in the game will spit about the corners they never stood on and triggers they never pulled.

 
buzzard is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 08:47 PM   #6
slunken
Virgo
 
slunken's Avatar
 
Posts: 39,010
Default

if i wanted to hear some god damned guy tell me a story i would read a book

 
slunken is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 08:50 PM   #7
Elphenor
Socialphobic
 
Elphenor's Avatar
 
Location: Shivers
Posts: 14,616
Default

I actually get some recording of the music down first then listen to it on repeat until I start to piece together the lyrics and melody

Usually I already have a title and an idea of what I want to say in the particular song it's just a matter of working out how exactly to say it

I go back and forth between wanting to write very direct to the point of being humorous lyrics like say Jonathan Richman or really obtuse type lyrics like Stephen Malkmus

 
Elphenor is online now
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 08:55 PM   #8
teh b0lly!!1
Braindead
 
teh b0lly!!1's Avatar
 
Location: PROWLING THE BADLANDS
Posts: 15,926
Default

post some stuff guys

 
teh b0lly!!1 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 09:12 PM   #9
Run To Me
Apocalyptic Poster
 
Run To Me's Avatar
 
Location: Where the frog spoils the leaf
Posts: 4,112
Default

I know what you mean teh B, about using a lot of first person. There's an inner critic that scoffs, "this isn't generous. This isn't for the listener, this is for you, and it's not even that interesting." But there are songwriters that I love that do it. The Mountain Goats man springs to mind. I wonder what it would be like to write a whole album like that, just say fuck it.

Part of the hesitation is when your friends/fam are like your only audience, e.g., writing about the 5 years I spent trying to recreate, with my own body through crossdressing, a true lover I alienated and hurt thru alcoholic craziness, would be cathartic for me and could possibly approach art if done well. But what's the point if I can't play it for anyone without making them feel exceedingly uncomfortable

btw those lyrics are pretty bitchin, I really like the forest echoing traffic, I've also been obsessed with traffic as an image/theme

 
Run To Me is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 09:21 PM   #10
Run To Me
Apocalyptic Poster
 
Run To Me's Avatar
 
Location: Where the frog spoils the leaf
Posts: 4,112
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poots View Post
To me, lyrics are secondary to melody and the cadence of the phrasing. I've heard guys who devote a lot of time to the lyrics so that they sound poetic but it's awkward because they don't fit well to the rhythm of the song.

I usually sing through to find whatever syllables or accents sound best and then build it from there. The fun part to me is to make great lyrics within those limitations. I've never understood people who write lyrics first and then try to fit them into a song or melody. It seems ass backwards to me.
This describes my approach to songs that are primarily riff-centric, where the emotion/idea seem less important to me than creating energy and motion. Basically I don't want the words to hold the song back, so whatever broad syllables immediately pop out is what I'm gonna start and end with.

Recently I've been doing stuff that's more chord based and wide open melody-wise, so there's room to really "say something." It's amazing how having more freedom to write the lyrics can make it harder to start/finish. I'll write entire lyrics for these type songs, decide I don't believe them anymore, and completely scrap them

 
Run To Me is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 09:26 PM   #11
Run To Me
Apocalyptic Poster
 
Run To Me's Avatar
 
Location: Where the frog spoils the leaf
Posts: 4,112
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by slunken View Post
if i wanted to hear some god damned guy tell me a story i would read a book
This.

Apart from rap music, I can't stand songwriting that tells a very specific story or sports some cute turn-of-phrase to drive home some universal, folksy "point"

I like when it's show more than tell, when the lyrics help the music do what (I think) music does best: express emotions that words can't adequately describe

 
Run To Me is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 09:49 PM   #12
teh b0lly!!1
Braindead
 
teh b0lly!!1's Avatar
 
Location: PROWLING THE BADLANDS
Posts: 15,926
Default

i just find it excruciating to find something that i really feel is worth saying and conveying.

once you have that inner spark that wants to come out, everything becomes so much easier and it's just a matter of refining it. there's a thousand ways to say anything if you know exactly where it is you want to go, and the melody\music comes much easier that way too.

many times i'm not quite sure what it is i'm trying to express, though, so it's just fumbling in the dark and it's much harder to get a good song out of that. some people just have a way with words, and i'm not one of them, save for occasional glimpses of inspiration - but when it comes, it's so easy and fun to just watch everything fall into place.

 
teh b0lly!!1 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 09:58 PM   #13
Run To Me
Apocalyptic Poster
 
Run To Me's Avatar
 
Location: Where the frog spoils the leaf
Posts: 4,112
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by teh b0lly!!1 View Post
i just find it excruciating to find something that i really feel is worth saying and conveying.

once you have that inner spark that wants to come out, everything becomes so much easier and it's just a matter of refining it. there's a thousand ways to say anything if you know exactly where it is you want to go, and the melody\music comes much easier that way too.

many times i'm not quite sure what it is i'm trying to express, though, so it's just fumbling in the dark and it's much harder to get a good song out of that. some people just have a way with words, and i'm not one of them, save for occasional glimpses of inspiration - but when it comes, it's so easy and fun to just watch everything fall into place.
So it sounds like you feel your lyrics should definitively "say things."

I feel this so hard.

When I abandon lyrics it's because I've decided one of two things (1) I don't know what they say or (2) I don't believe anymore what they say

Once I decided that good lyrics must "say true things in new ways." But maybe this is holding us back from writing more songs.

I'm curious: do you usually find yourself with a lot of wordless riffs, chords, melodies? Or do you have more words waiting for music to fit them to?

One of my primary frustrations now = about three years of music with no good words to put to it. The more music I write the more stressed out I get: oh no! Now I'll have to think of something to say!

 
Run To Me is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 10:35 PM   #14
cork_soaker
full of longing
 
cork_soaker's Avatar
 
Posts: 10,508
Default

lyrics: i decided they were not for me

 
cork_soaker is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2016, 10:58 PM   #15
reprise85
garbage person
 
reprise85's Avatar
 
Location: I'm surprised you guys are so big on rap, considering it's the most masochistic music of any genre.
Posts: 29,950
Default

I haven't written in a while, but I'm a self-confession-universal-confession kind of person. I hope to reach themes within myself that are acutely personal and yet relateable at the same time. I may not known your pain and you may not know mine, but we both know pain. You know?

Sometimes I get super personal though, like this song I wrote after whatever happened to me, happened to me. I was still mostly in denial but I knew it was fucked up. I mean this song is all of two chords but I think that's part of what makes it good, somehow. Plus I hadn't played guitar in like 4 years and had just gotten equipment so it was a good place to start again.



What have I become, my precious one?
You made me hate my life,
You made me hate my love.
And I don't even care to change the way I feel.
You don't even know me,
You only love yourself.

I changed the day I met you, and you don't even know.
I am what you made me,
Is this what you want?
And when will it end, when is enough, enough?
Will you ever shut off?
When will it stop?

I have heard a thousand lies
And seen a thousand ways
To break a person down.
I wish I didn't know you
I didn't need you
But I'll learn to live without

Life must be hard without someone to put down
Do you ever wonder
where you'd be now
If there was no one to blame,
If you could be a normal, selfish human being

I have heard a thousand lies
And seen a thousand ways
To break a person down.
I wish I didn't know you
I didn't need you
But I'll learn to live without

 
reprise85 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 12:25 AM   #16
teh b0lly!!1
Braindead
 
teh b0lly!!1's Avatar
 
Location: PROWLING THE BADLANDS
Posts: 15,926
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poots View Post
I've written songs and not understood them until months later. Then I'll hear it and it's obvious what it was about;
yes! this happens a lot to me too.
it's a bit of a strange feeling.

 
teh b0lly!!1 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 01:09 AM   #17
Disco King
Minion of Satan
 
Disco King's Avatar
 
Location: Banned
Posts: 5,324
Default

Every time I try to write lyrics, they are so cringey that reading them literally hurts and I have to throw it away. I can't just throw them away, I have to actually crumple them up and tear them up to ensure that some dumpster diver scavenging for a meal will never stumble across them and laugh at me.

When I try to write music first, my lyrics just end up being nonsense rhyming words that fit in the meter. Like, the kind of thing you'd pluck from a rhyming dictionary. "Something something eye something something butterfly something something sky" etc.

When I write lyrics first, I can't fit them into anything, but it's rare I even get that far, since they suck.

I think one of the reasons I don't improve on anything is that I can't accept that anything one does, one will suck at first. It's just a necessary part of development. But I see my shitty work, and it just deters me from trying further, so I never improve.

 
Disco King is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 02:06 AM   #18
The Omega Concern
Banned
 
Location: stay, far, away
Posts: 8,997
Default

I'm theme oriented at times. I wanted to write a song about a guy going through a black hole. It wrote itself but what was interesting was this natural metaphor to reincarnation.


Bunch of friends of mine were into betting and playing cards and such. So I wrote a song around that idea called Lady Luck and it follows a pattern I developed where a direct 1st verse of the theme really sets up a more provocative 2nd verse that plays off the theme.

oh, and sometimes lyrics come down real cheesy. I'll change em to sound less lame on paper, but that usually screws up the song, so, I'll just accept what came down originally and deal. Lady Luck is a perfect example of starting out silly and somewhat soft followed by a 2nd verse sledgehammer that flips the script a bit.



Big Gulpin 7-11 away
looked at my cards and saw they were straight
rolled the dice twice for my own life
snake eyed twitch done caught my surprise

Playing queen of hearts was never too smart
looking for love and a fresh new start
choosing lotto numbers on a twisted fate
Hoping Lady Luck would save our lives

Cause you know that you are
never too far from your own slave
And I swear that I will
capture my soul on a bonded wave



*all that to really set up the next four lines*


The Emerald Tablet is for the Divine
Secrets revealed to those in line
Somewhat had to say you must carry a cross
For Jesus Christ had his own Judas


Tiara had to say I was wasting my way
Sending my love to the end of time
Won't she be coming to trump my flush?
At least then I'd know, I would feel her touch

Cause she was, oh so right
flicking my soul like a candlelight
where are you lovely light
For I'm right here, fighting the good fight

 
The Omega Concern is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 02:15 AM   #19
The Omega Concern
Banned
 
Location: stay, far, away
Posts: 8,997
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by teh b0lly!!1 View Post
great thread


besides, it's too quick. i'm used to agonizing over songs for days and days and weeks on end, and when a song comes too quickly it makes me feel like it doesn't even count as a song. although to an outside observer both songs will have more or less equal merit.

That's a habit you may want to break. When lyrics and/or songs come down whole, run with it.

 
The Omega Concern is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 02:22 AM   #20
The Omega Concern
Banned
 
Location: stay, far, away
Posts: 8,997
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by teh b0lly!!1 View Post
here is one of my 'abstract' songs that i wrote like two days ago. i still don't know if it's worth anything but this seems like a good place to post them:


you know, it's all so tragic
the way the world revolves
coming off the hinges
a senseless shopping mall.


I like the idea of a stranger in the crowd and I really like this passage here. Good stuff.

 
The Omega Concern is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 07:35 AM   #21
Elphenor
Socialphobic
 
Elphenor's Avatar
 
Location: Shivers
Posts: 14,616
Default

I like how everyone on this board even the conspiracy nut is a tender hearted singer/song writer in their off time

 
Elphenor is online now
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 11:59 AM   #22
slunken
Virgo
 
slunken's Avatar
 
Posts: 39,010
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elphenor View Post
I like how everyone on this board even the conspiracy nut is a tender hearted singer/song writer in their off time
Hahaha

 
slunken is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 01:04 PM   #23
Run To Me
Apocalyptic Poster
 
Run To Me's Avatar
 
Location: Where the frog spoils the leaf
Posts: 4,112
Default

I like how we're describing the words and music as "coming down" to you from elsewhere. It really feels like that sometimes doesn't it? It's kinda like ghost adventures, sometimes. The song, before it's written, is flitting about insubstantial round the room. You start with the EMF meters and ask some basic questions while running EVP recorders cause you don't want to scare it away. If it responds, you get more serious, bust out the proton packs and wrangle that phantom until it's safely transferred to the ghost containment chamber back at your NYC firehouse

 
Run To Me is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 04:21 PM   #24
The Omega Concern
Banned
 
Location: stay, far, away
Posts: 8,997
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elphenor View Post
I like how everyone on this board even the conspiracy nut is a tender hearted singer/song writer in their off time

It's not in my off time Elphy.

 
The Omega Concern is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 04:28 PM   #25
The Omega Concern
Banned
 
Location: stay, far, away
Posts: 8,997
Default

In honor of Prince, its good to look at how he shaped meaning. We don't think in words, we visualize images and use words to best describe the scene we see in our minds eye. You can come up with a single image and never be short of words to describe its meaning:


I guess I should of known/by the way she parked her car/ sideways/ that it wouldn't last...


boom. That's all you need sometimes. If the conclusion of this story is already known to the writer the lyrics will write itself.

 
The Omega Concern is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 05:48 PM   #26
FoolofaTook
Immortal
 
FoolofaTook's Avatar
 
Posts: 23,163
Default

we don't think in words?

bitch u be trippin

 
FoolofaTook is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 05:49 PM   #27
FoolofaTook
Immortal
 
FoolofaTook's Avatar
 
Posts: 23,163
Default

we are shackled by our words, we are IN BONDAGE to language, fool

 
FoolofaTook is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 09:34 PM   #28
reprise85
garbage person
 
reprise85's Avatar
 
Location: I'm surprised you guys are so big on rap, considering it's the most masochistic music of any genre.
Posts: 29,950
Default

yeah but w/o language our evolution would have been stunted. we need language for cooperation, but funny enough not for war

 
reprise85 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 09:43 PM   #29
teh b0lly!!1
Braindead
 
teh b0lly!!1's Avatar
 
Location: PROWLING THE BADLANDS
Posts: 15,926
Default

i think that makes me want to go write a song.

i'll call it: "w/o language our evolution would have been stunted. we need language for cooperation, but funny enough not for war"

 
teh b0lly!!1 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 04-21-2016, 09:45 PM   #30
teh b0lly!!1
Braindead
 
teh b0lly!!1's Avatar
 
Location: PROWLING THE BADLANDS
Posts: 15,926
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poots View Post
I've found that when I sit down and say "I'm going to write a ________________ kind of song" then it just sucks. Musically and lyrically. I stopped doing that years ago and now just do whatever happens. Once I find that thread of something that interests me, then I just follow that to its natural conclusion.
seriously though this is very good advice.
i need to remind myself of that more often.
when you just let it be what it wants to be, it'll always be better than forcing it

 
teh b0lly!!1 is offline
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Google


Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
You must pick ONE song. reprise85 General Chat Message Board 47 12-25-2015 12:35 PM
Beck stole a song from Omega Concern: The Thread D. General Chat Archive 76 04-11-2014 03:55 AM
i have to do an informative essay in english about ANYTHING D. Music Board Archive 21 09-09-2007 09:51 PM
Do Bill's lyrics suck? candycane Pumpkins Archive 132 05-31-2007 06:04 PM
2007 Pisces Iscariot Reference Virex19 Pumpkins Archive 80 04-29-2007 05:01 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:51 PM.



Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Smashing Pumpkins, Alternative Music
& General Discussion Message Board and Forums
www.netphoria.org - Copyright 1998-2014