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Old 02-01-2010, 03:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Beginner's Guide to Writing Sh*tty Lyrics

While there are probably far better teachers than me, I figured it would be nice to have a comprehensive guide for new folks around here to benefit from. After all, who needs creativity when you've got a bland, formulaic lyrical template to adhere to anyway?
  • Don't stray from the list of approved topics. While you might have some lovely ditty you've been working on about tea with your grandmother, it's important to maintain consistency in all your songwriting. Try these topics instead: pain, sadness, death, sadness, depression, love, sadness, insanity, sadness, and sadness. Stick to your guns!

  • Avoid the use of specific words or phrases. It's better still to leave the meaning ambiguous, churning out dull phrases for appropriate, non-directional entities. If you're having a blank you could always substitute "I've lost control" or "I feel nothing" for anything you would have ordinarily written. They're really versatile.

  • Don't worry about your lack of experience. Who cares if you're a thirty-something virgin living in your parents' basement, you can always write about the profound sexual relationships turned wrong that you thought you ought to have had. Although it's best to keep your monologues as vague as possible, there's no sense in scaring listeners with your unimaginative pillow talk.

  • Go for the obligatory political shout. Hey, you might not actually give a shit, but you can at least pretend to care. There's nothing audiences love more than a self-righteous declaration of radical liberalism. Better yet, provoke the audience by attacking an otherwise normal practice for most, like eating meat. They'll appreciate you all the more for your courage to call them assholes.

  • Recycle! Not going to use a cool phrase from your most recently abandoned song? Save it for later! Nobody will ever notice; they're all far too busy enjoying your latest whimsical pop hook. Better yet, chant it repeatedly, someone might mistake it for something meaningful.
Hopefully these tips will set you well on your way onto becoming the next Matt Bellamy or Moz. Good luck!
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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One more rule:

Make sure it's really, really long.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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... truthfully as long as the song doesn't sound like a million other songs fine by me

oh wait i have another rule: Don't Insult the Listener, You Don't Wanna Hurt Their Feelings
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:43 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I don't follow any of those rules, and people always tell me how much my lyrics suck.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Well guys, what do you think of this?

VERSE 1
I'm staring out the window
of my parent's basement
You know, I just can't remember what went wrong
Can you?

VERSE 2
Oh, oh, oh, oh,
I'm hurting, oh
You know, I just can't remember what went wrong
Can you?

VERSE 3
Society just doesn't know
what life is, oh,
I just can't remember, can you?

CHORUS
Oooooooh, I'm lost
Oooooooh, it just feels like frost
Oooooooh, I'm lost
It hurts, it hurts, I hurt,
since the day you left me.....
What went wrong...

VERSE 4
Why is the government
always like this,
oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
ok, yeah, I'm just...
lost

VERSE 5
And why can't people,
why can't you,
just,
understaaaaaaaaaaaand!!!!!

CHORUS
Oooooooh, I'm lost
Oooooooh, it just feels like frost
Oooooooh, I'm lost
It hurts, it hurts, I hurt,
since the day you left me.....
What went wrong...

VERSE 1 [Reprise]

I'm staring out the window
of my parent's basement
You know, I just can't remember what went wrong
Can you?

CHORUS
Oooooooh, I'm lost
Oooooooh, it just feels like frost
Oooooooh, I'm lost
It hurts, it hurts, I hurt,
since the day you left me.....
What went wrong...

VERSE 1 [Reprise 2]
I'm staring out the window
of my parent's basement
You know, I just can't remember what went wrong
Can yooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuu?

It......

hurts.....


I was thinking of having a sort of G, D, E chord arrangement going throughout. What do ya guys think?
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by lucifer_sam View Post
[*]Go for the obligatory political shout. There's nothing audiences love more than a self-righteous declaration of radical liberalism. Better yet, provoke the audience by attacking an otherwise normal practice for most, like eating meat. They'll appreciate you all the more for your courage to call them assholes.
This is my favorite technique to use of all the ones you mentioned. Remember, lucifer_sam, not all writers *want* the audience to like what they hear. This simply may not be the writer's goal.

For example, when I write songs about animal exploitation, I am trying to hold up a mirror to show people what I see them doing. They may not agree with my view, because it isn't a palatable one, or they may see the issue in a different way...though, really, how many different viewpoints are there on an action such as someone picking up a baby pig and bashing its head against the concrete floor? I would be surprised if the combination of criticism and revulsion of "normal practices" I describe in my songs didn't cause distaste in the listener.

What you describe in your post is what I love about art: I am free to express what I want to, and you are free to hate it, dismiss it, think about it, or like it as you will.
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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blah blah blah blah blah
You weren't saying anything important, perchance?
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
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You weren't saying anything important, perchance?
lucifer_sam, what you say in this post, as well as your first one, demonstrates what I love about art: I am free to express what I want to, and you are free to hate it, dismiss it, translate it as "blah blah blah," think about it, or like it as you will.
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If a chicken was smart enough to be able to speak English and run in a geometric pattern, then I think it should be smart enough to dial 911 (999) before getting the axe, and scream to the operator, "Something must be done! Something must be done!"
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