Song Doctor Blog
Read how to write better songs
Photo by stillness-inmotion via Unsplash
Much music involves the creation of tension and resolving it. A little bit of dissonance here, a little bit of anticipation there and then, relief!
It also means having a conflict to resolve within your lyrics, whether that’s within the story that you tell, the situation you find yourself in or the attitude you express.
This is part of the point of writing a song at all.
That there is something to push against – the lover who dumped you, the one you dumped or the one you’re not sure you want to be with. Then there’s the authority figures you’re totally over, the quest you’re on or the struggles you encounter.
This can happen in a handful of words or a whole host, depending on what genre you’re in. The trick is enrolling us in it as soon as possible. Here’s the opening of Papa was a Rolling Stone by the Temptations.
It was the third of September
That day I'll always remember, yes I will
'Cause that was the day that my daddy died
And Billy Paul’s Me and Mrs Jones
Me and Mrs. Jones
We got a thing goin' on
It can be just the thought of potential conflict like in Dennis Lloyd’s Nevermind
What if I left and it made no sense
And you tell your friends
And they hold your hands
Baby, nevermind, nevermind
Or that while conflict is all around you, you are mercifully buffered from it for now, like in Daniel Caesar’s Get You
Through drought and famine, natural disasters
My baby has been around for me
Kingdoms have fallen, angels be calling
None of that could ever make me leave
Whatever conflict you decide to imbue your song with lyrically, remember that while your audience hears a song ‘linearly’ as real time audio, you don’t have to write it linearly. In fact, the set up may be the last thing you write!
The point is creating some sort of conflict you can supply a release or resolution for lyrically, just as you do musically.
We love it when you do that!
Wishing everyone the best Christmas and summer holidays for 2022!
Thank-you all for reading and feeding back.