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Lyrics for a new song


Lars68
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Here are some lyrics I'm working on for a new songs. I have the music written, but I'm not ready yet to post any recordings. Just looking for some constructive feedback as to how the lyrics work on their own. Here is what I have right now. What do you think?

 

FAR BEYOND THE RISE

 

a storm is raging outside my door

I can't go out there no more

 

the walls of my room are closing in

I wanna break out but where to begin

 

Chorus

blow away my doubts

blow away my fears

to live without

for the rest of my years

 

through winters I wait for sun rays

while this factory keeps stealing my days

 

I've seen the land of Braves and peach

those carefree days seem so out of reach

 

Chorus

 

same same more of the same

where's the adventure where's the flame

 

security is a devil in disguise

come north wind and blow me far beyond the rise

 

Chorus

Edited by Lars68
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Hey Lars! I do enjoy lyric writing, searching for that perfect word or phrase to say the perfect thing.......perfectly. I often fall short but the thrill is in the hunt. I won't be so bold as to tell you what nor how to write, but for my money this is a bit too wordy. There are several lines that could be stripped of unnecessary words yet retain every bit of your meaning. Think economy.......say as much as possible with as few words as possible. Press on, young man.

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Hey Lars! I do enjoy lyric writing, searching for that perfect word or phrase to say the perfect thing.......perfectly. I often fall short but the thrill is in the hunt. I won't be so bold as to tell you what nor how to write, but for my money this is a bit too wordy. There are several lines that could be stripped of unnecessary words yet retain every bit of your meaning. Think economy.......say as much as possible with as few words as possible. Press on, young man.

 

Thanks a lot, Buc. I went back and edited my first post. I think it works much better now´! There are still a few words that I could potentially cut, but I found them needed for rythm purposes.

 

Lars

Edited by Lars68
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OK, I'll go first in the spirit of 'constructive criticism'.

If I were me, I'd not go quite so heavily into the end of line rhyming mechanism - it gets things stilted by the "AA, BB, CD, CD" convention.

You can ignore it, or loosen it up to be more open - for example "Love her" goes nicely with "Lawyer" even though they're not perfectly rhymed. (And of course, have nothing to do with your song!)

And, yeah - fewer words maybe.. Lose the double negative in the 2nd line. Axe the reference to the Braves and peach - assuming you're talking about Georgia. Red Clay maybe a cliche (sorry. rhyming there) but its a little more visual.

I realize you are writing in an 'adopted' language. I am barely able to ask for another beer in a second language, so I salute your efforts and your achievement here.

Take my 'criticism' with several grains of salt.

And a few slice of lime, and the 3rd, indispensable ingredient for True Inspiration ,,, Jose Cuervo.

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That is a killer couple of couplets. The rest ain't bad either but these are really good.

 

Thanks! This is how all of the songs I have written so far have started. I get a few lines I like and put it to a melody in my head. When I have something I like, I pick up the guitar and try to find chords and licks to suit the melody.

 

Sometimes it works okey, sometimes it's erase and rewind.

 

Lars

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OK, I'll go first in the spirit of 'constructive criticism'.

If I were me, I'd not go quite so heavily into the end of line rhyming mechanism - it gets things stilted by the "AA, BB, CD, CD" convention.

You can ignore it, or loosen it up to be more open - for example "Love her" goes nicely with "Lawyer" even though they're not perfectly rhymed. (And of course, have nothing to do with your song!)

And, yeah - fewer words maybe.. Lose the double negative in the 2nd line. Axe the reference to the Braves and peach - assuming you're talking about Georgia. Red Clay maybe a cliche (sorry. rhyming there) but its a little more visual.

I realize you are writing in an 'adopted' language. I am barely able to ask for another beer in a second language, so I salute your efforts and your achievement here.

Take my 'criticism' with several grains of salt.

And a few slice of lime, and the 3rd, indispensable ingredient for True Inspiration ,,, Jose Cuervo.

 

I appreciate these tips very much, thank you. I'll take them to heart and see what I can do.

 

The song is about personal experiences, and yes the "Braves and peach" bit is indeed a reference to Georgia (I used to spend some time there about 25 years ago, at a time when the Atlanta Braves happened to do very well. Good pitchers, if I remember correctly [biggrin]). I did another song a while back, which is sort of a sister song to this new one. I called that one Red Dirt of Dixie. So I had to come up with a new reference this time around [biggrin]

 

Being from Sweden, English is of course a second language, and I probably express myself slightly better using my native language. However, I do speak and read English a lot, always have, especially for work. So I don't regard English as an adopted language, at least not in the sense that I'm trying to write in a certain style, or pretend to be something I'm not. I see English as just another language at my disposal, and since it is in my best interest to use it when posting stuff here, well, the choice is fairly easy. I tend to use English when writing about more universal themes, and Swedish when writing songs geographically connected to where I live.

 

I like lyrics that mix very detailed, but yet vague, personal stuff with very universal themes. That was at least something I tried to do here. I have listened a lot to Jason Isbell, and a Swedish singer named Thåström (extra credit if you know who he is...Em7 does... [thumbup] ) recently, and both are phenomenal lyricists and can achieve this mix of personal and universal extremely well. By the way, I think Isbell is the very best lyricist I have come across in the Americana genre, right next to Townes van Zandt. Thåstöm works in a whole different genre, so no need to talk about him here.

 

Thanks again for taking the time to comment and give me food for thought.

 

Lars

Edited by Lars68
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Can we here it in the song ?

 

As have been blatantly obvious here in the past, singing on pitch is not something that comes naturally to me. Let's just say that currently there is an embarrassingly large discrepency between the song I hear in my head and what my mic picks up when singing it. I will post a version when I get closer to where I need to be.

 

The world is a better place without the music of this one, at least for now... [biggrin]

 

Lars

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I offer the below with the caveat I may be wrong about everything. As a songwriter, you have to follow your own path and get comfortable with what YOU write. And, as the great Tom T. Hall once said, "Any song worth writing is worth rewriting."

 

With that as prologue, a few thoughts that I offer in the spirit of constructive insights, but keep in mind I MAY BE WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING.

 

-- LOVE the title. But if you're using a geographic term like "rise," I want to hear/see some other references to geography in the song. Your protagonist sounds depressed, like he's down in a valley. If you're in a valley, you're looking for the rise. Also, I want to hear the phrase more than once.

 

-- The first line just seems cliche to me. Change "storm" or "raging" and you're better off.

 

-- It is hard to suss the rhyme scheme without a melody, but I feel "any" would fit better than "no" in the second line.

 

-- We assume it is your room. How about, "Walls of this room"?

 

-- Your fourth line confuses me. In the second line, you say you can't go out, but in the fourth line, you say you want to break out. But you know you can't go out because of the storm. What you want is for the storm to end.

 

-- I need some foreshadowing of what your protagonist's doubts and fears are about. You spring those on me in the chorus. All I know up to this point is there's a storm and you can't go out.

 

-- I'd go with winter, singular. And maybe add "the" before "sun's rays."

 

-- LOVE the line about the factory stealing your days.

 

-- There's a phrase, "Land of the free, home of the brave." You could turn a nice phrase if you wrote, "Land of the peach, home of the Braves." It doesn't sound corny.

 

-- That, of course, would require a new line following it, but I'm confused anyway because you mention carefree days out of the blue and I want to hear more about them. Good songwriting is about irony and contrast. Something turned bad in the protagonist's life, and I want to know what it is. Tell me about those carefree days and why they were carefree.

 

-- The next couplet is pretty good. Like it.

 

-- So is the next couplet. But I want a different phrase (or word) than "blow me..." Aside from the sexual innuendo (or maybe I just have a dirty mind) it seems too gentle. It's got to be strong enough to push out the storm AND propel the protagonist.

 

-- The couplet "Security is a devil..." is what the song is really about. Maybe IT is your chorus....

 

Again, I want to stress that I am no expert, that you need to do what you're comfortable with and I MAY BE COMPLETELY WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING. Write the song YOU want to sing.

Edited by dhanners623
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David, this is just fabulous! I can really use this going forward. You have given me some new general ideas, but also some detailed, specific input.

My first response was an urge to "correct" your interpretation, and instead explain my intentions, but after thinking about it for a while, I quickly realized that your take as an unbiased listener is actually more relevant than whatever intentions I actually had. If I can't get my ideas fully across, the lyrics are not doing their job properly. That is my biggest take away from your comments; I need to give the reader better input.

 

Your rewrite of peach and Braves is genius, and I'm stealing that one, if you don't mind? The bit about "blow me" was careless on my part. I might use "throw me" instead. It is more aggressive, which works better (and no need for a warning sticker about explicit lyrics, should I ever do another CD [biggrin])

 

As for your other comments, some have given me input to maybe go in a completely new direction, while other I might tweak a bit.

 

In the end I will have to trust my instincts, but this thread has really resulted in a better set of lyrics. Just what I hoped for!

 

Thanks again

Lars

Edited by Lars68
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A big 'thankyou' for sharing some songwriting ideas and thoughts...…[thumbup]

 

Some people purport to have 'written a song in 15 mins'...…:blink:

 

Others, like perhaps Johnny Mercer and Burt Bacharach.....rewrite and refine over a longer period....even years.....

 

There are books by people like Jimmy Webb and Pat Pattison....

 

ABBA have shown the world the infinite possibilities of writing accessible songs in their 'second language'.....[biggrin]

 

The beauty of music is found in it's complexity.....and it's simplicity...…[thumbup]

 

V

 

:-({|=

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The song is a great concept, Lars, and it'll be a winner when you're done. And I can't even begin to imagine writing a song in a second language.

 

And, yes, feel free to use (or not) any suggestion I had. If I'm just helping you tweak a line, you're not stealing anything.

 

When we write a song, we are telling a story. That story has to have certain elements (and those elements have to be in a certain order) for the song to make sense to the listener.

 

There's an American folkie by the name of Ellis Paul (out of the Boston folk scene) who came up with a tool known as the editing wheel. Google "Ellis Paul" and "editing wheel" and look for images. You'll see photos and diagrams of a wheel and each of a song's necessary elements is a spoke in that wheel. He describes how each of those spokes can be improved.

 

The center of the wheel -- the hub, if you will -- is the song's "mission statement." Yeah, it sounds like corporate doublespeak, but a song needs a mission statement, a clear, concise statement of what you want the song to be about. You'd be surprise how many songwriters don't do this, or can't tell you in a single sentence what their song is about. Once you have come up with that, then you can determine whether the details you're adding as a particular spoke helps tell the story or just confuses the listener.

 

I have a personal theory that a songwriter must work to eliminate a song's "exit" or "break" points, or bumps in the narrative road that cause a listener to stop and think about something because he/she has just heard a line that doesn't make sense. A listener will sit through a couple of these points and stay with you, but if there is one bump after another, the listener gives up on you and the song. That's why I mention the song's internal inconsistency about not wanting to go out in the storm, yet a couple of lines later, the protagonist is wanting to break out. As a listener, I'm sitting there thinking, "But, wait... He just said such-and-such, but now he's saying...." and while my brain is trying to reconcile what it perceives as an inconsistency, the song is moving forward so I get a few lines behind you and the next thing you know, I'm lost. So instead of listening to your song and thinking about it, I'm mentally putting together a grocery list of things I need to pick up at the supermarket on my way home from the coffeeshop.

 

Reduce or eliminate these bumps in the road and the listener won't be able to leave the song. He/she will hang on every word you're singing and they'll stay with you from start to finish.

 

And the reason I know this stuff is because I've written plenty of songs that not only lost listeners, but led them alone down a dark alley where thugs beat them up and stole their wallets.

 

The other bit of advice I'd have -- and, frankly, this isn't a problem for you, I don't think -- is write economically and edit mercilessly. I see a lot of songs that are just too darn long. They outstay their welcome. They spend five verses telling us a story we understood after three verses. A lot of good songwriters I know over-write by about one-quarter, then they edit it down. Writing and editing require two very different brain functions. You cannot edit while you write. When you write, you just have to let the words and thoughts flow. Spill your guts. Don't hold back.

 

Once you've done that, it is time to put on your editing hat and make sure every word earns its right to stay in the finished product. Good editing isn't just about cutting fat from the bone; sometime it is about cutting bone, too. In his "Songwriting Manifesto," the late singer-songwriter Jack Hardy said this about editing:

 

“The first step of editing is to get out anything that is bad writing. The second step is harder to learn: You have to get out even the good writing if it does not serve the point. It is difficult. The lifeboat is leaving. There are too many people for it. They are all good and deserving people. But if they all go in the lifeboat, it will sink!”

 

If you did a good job writing, you probably over-wrote. You probably wrote five or six verses when three of four would tell the story. I can't tell you how many times I've been to an open mic and heard somebody perform a 6- or 7-minute song and think, "That would've made a good 3-minute song." You can tell a pretty good story in less than 3 minutes.

 

As songwriting professor Pat Pattinson (look up his great videos on YouTube) says, "Write fearlessly!"

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Lars, you've come a long ways on your songs. Good stuff. Keep in mind that you're being critiqued by folks who speak primarily English, while English is your 2nd language. We use some words differently and phrase things differently. Beyond that, there's no way I could speak two languages as well as you do, my friend.........On this song I like the opening lines,

a storm is raging outside my door

I can't go out there no more---- but the very first line is redundant. You don't need to tell us that storms rage, because that's what storms do. Just saying "there's a storm outside my door" tells us what we need to know. It sounds a bit minor, but as others have said---say it in as few words as you can.

 

the walls of my room are closing in

I wanna break out but where to begin----speaks volumes. Really draws a great picture of anxiety and chaos. Works well with the opening line about the storm and I know where the song is going. Saying "my room" tells me it's your life that has the walls closing-in. Hope I interpreted that right.

 

Chorus

blow away my doubts

blow away my fears

to live without

for the rest of my years-----I like this, but maybe tell us that it's the north wind you want to blow things away. Still, I kind of like it as it is. Raises my interest. BTW, I also was a bit confused by the song title. Didn't make the connection until the very end. What if?---you added far beyond the rise at the end of the chorus----for the rest of my years far beyond the rise. For me, that tells me where you want your mind to go.

 

through winters I wait for sun rays

while this factory keeps stealing my days

 

I've seen the land of Braves and peach

those carefree days seem so out of reach---The factory stealing your days paints a good picture, but it kind of makes me want to know more about the factory while the other verses are more general. The references to Braves and peach are good. Your use of English is different in some ways, but I get the idea of "the good old days" when life was easy-going.

 

same same more of the same

where's the adventure where's the flame----this pulls me away from where I thought the song was going. Are you just bored and looking for hot women, being young again, more excitement in your life, or, are you just wanting life to calm down and let you return to being "you." That's what I thought you meant when you talked about a storm.

 

I really like this kind of song. My stuff tends to be dark at times and nostalgic. I understand where you are coming from. The main thing I can think of is to stay focused on the direction of the song. It often happens, in the middle of writing a song, that we come-up with a line or phrase that is truly clever and unique that we really like and it "almost" fits the song, so we end-up forcing it to fit into the song while it really kind of hurts the song. I do that often and have to literally force myself to drop the line.........Also, keep in mind that you are also fighting the grammar issues of English being a 2nd language....lol....and you do speak it well. Keep us informed as this song progresses. You might finish it tomorrow, next month, or maybe a couple years from now. There's no time limit. When it's done, it's done. Don't force it.

Edited by MissouriPicker
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Larry, I appreciate your thoughts. I'm working on a rerwrite, and I think it will address several of the points you bring up. I will post it when it's done. Your interpretation is very close to my intentions. So in that sense the lyrics did okey.

 

Lars

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I want to thank everyone who has helped me improve these lyrics. David and Larry, you guys are great and helped me focus the words and steared me, generally and specifically, in the right direction. Thanks so much!

 

This is a learning experience, and I now know a little bit more about lyric writing, just from posting on this wonderful forum.

 

I did a major rewrite, expanded the choruses, changed verse order, and even changed the title. The song is about fighting feelings of unease and self doubt, even when all important pieces, like love, family, and work are in place. The responsibilities and demands of everyday life are becoming a little too heavy. I deal with this from time to time myself, and I think a lot of people might be able to relate.

 

I enjoy this writing process tremendously, and had I been thirty years younger, I would have considered majoring in English... [biggrin]

 

Lars

 

TO SUNLIT SKIES

 

A storm rips through my mind

I long for calm that I can't find

 

walls of confusion close me in

I long to break free but where to begin

 

Chorus 1

blow away my ghost

blow away my fear

those who love me the most

are all still right here

 

through winter I wait for warm sun rays

while this cold factory steals my days

 

same, same, more of the same

try welcome each day and relight the flame

 

Chorus 2

blow away my doubts

blow away my fears

to live without

for the the rest of my years

 

I've seen the land of the peach and the home of the Braves

carefree Southern days my soul now craves

 

security is a devil in disguise

come north wind and lift me to sunlit skies

 

Chorus 3

blow away dark skies

blow away my fears

love's right before my eyes

cherish the blessing, shed no tears

Edited by Lars68
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