One of the biggest challenges in composing music is writing song lyrics. The right words will instantly catch the attention of the listener and cause them to want to keep listening. But the less effective words might literally make them consider switching channels. It’s easy to unintentionally overanalyze phrases until they sound unnatural, so how do you find the balance and deliver strong, memorable lines in your songs?
Lyric writing is about creating a rhythm with each word that reflects or compliments the melody. In fact, arranging certain words together can actually form a melody and guide the direction of the composition. The place to begin depends on what you are trying to accomplish.
If you already have the music written, you will be choosing lines that work within the boundaries of the notes and chords. Brainstorming is a tremendous help because it frees up your subconscious thoughts and allows them to flow from a relaxed state. This is where creativity is at its best and you can have some great thoughts to work with. After you have written a series of random lines, focus on the ones that will fit the music and intent of the song you are writing. You might have to use variations or rearrange them in order to maintain the structure.
When you are starting from scratch, think of a topic that interests you and inspires emotions. By choosing something that connects with you, the chances of it connecting with other people are increased. Whether you think of a title, phrase, or line first, say it out loud. For each group of words, there could be more than one possibility in saying them. Listen carefully to the syllables and features of every word as you are talking. You will notice that some sound better together than others, and that will narrow down the selection.
Another great tip is to expand or exaggerate the parts of a word that evoke a response. It could be a vowel that is elongated, or a consonant that is repeated. Either way, customize the phrasing by placing emphasis on the natural pronunciation of them. When something familiar is enhanced, the human ear is drawn to it, which is why the technique of highlighting them is so powerful.