Word lyrics to songs

Table of Contents

We express the same things but with different words
We acknowledge the same curve and those might-have-heards
Just like the last line you draw to remind of past-time
A fast-winded feeling of freedom presumed to be recognized
And I can hear your doctors calling from here, to say:
Killed by his independecy and akilles-heel
‘Cause he armed himself with stealthy mass-appeal.
Where’s my muse, where’s my muse
It feels like every word slipping through my mouth has been used
Staggering like the old man feeding the dirt
With my glass eye reflecting all the things that I’ve learned
A windowless frame in a transparent room
Filling up the cracks with plastic assumes
Shapeshift
A nuance
A venue
Chorus:
Don’t stop dreaming ’cause this ain’t over
Wreck of your life, aim ’til you get sober
Don’t stop dreaming ’cause this ain’t over
My friend
Verse 2
I wrestle myself as I walk along the weary-
motely watching i find myself staring
building up an empire, of my great desire
while fumes/fuel from my thought process take me higher
Higher and higher, I aint stoppin there,
My avalanche of color starts over there,
And Ive got the solitary key to go through.
Grey and delicious
The traps can be so vicious
Prepare for the ultimate takedown.
Part time experience
Might save you from deliverance,
But will it serve the greater cause?
Chorus:
Don’t stop dreaming ’cause this ain’t over
Wreck of your life, aim ’til you get sober
Don’t stop dreaming ’cause this ain’t over
My friend

Examples of Tautology

Sometimes a tautology involves just a few words that mean the same thing. Consider the following sentence:

  • I went to see him personally.

This is an example of tautology, because the adverb “personally” repeats the idea already expressed in the single word “I”. In everyday conversation, the addition of “personally” is used for emphasis to point out that the subject of the sentence is invested in the action, has overseen something, etc. Technically, the word “personally” doesn’t add any new information and could be cut from the sentence without changing its meaning.

In the realm of logic, a tautology is something that is true in all circumstances. A common example of a logical tautology is the following:

  • The dog is either brown, or the dog is not brown.

This sentence is always true because one or the other must be so. This is different than a statement that says, “The dog is either brown, or the dog is white,” because dogs can be black, gray, or a mix of colors. Note that when you put both halves of the logical tautology together, it feels a bit redundant, just like a verbal tautology.

Tautology in Everyday Language

A tautology often involves just a few words in a sentence that have the same meaning, or in which one word is part of the definition of the other word. Though tautologies are common in everyday speech and don’t diminish clarity, they should be avoided in formal writing so you don’t repeat yourself unnecessarily.

The highlighted words in these examples are tautological; that is, they have similar meanings. This is no need to use both:

  • Remember when 4G cell phones were a new innovation?
  • The evening sunset was beautiful.
  • I need a new hot water heater.
  • Charlie proudly told his mom he made the hand-made scarf himself.
  • The careful, there is a lot of frozen ice on the road!
  • I know it’s true because I heard it with my own ears.
  • She always over-exaggerates.
  • In Rome, we saw dilapidated ruins.
  • Let’s order a hoagie sandwich.
  • Alice started her presentation with a short summary.
  • He is always making predictions about the future.
  • The school was in close proximity to the explosion.
  • The Gobi is a very dry desert.
  • In my opinion, I think he is wrong.
  • The storm hit at 2 p.m. in the afternoon.
  • The students will take turns, one after the other.
  • Having a drug test is a necessary requirement for the job.
  • They hiked to the summit at the top of the mountain.
  • I’m sorry to hear about your sad misfortune.
  • She was a dark-haired brunette.
  • The hotel room wasn’t great, but it was adequate enough.
  • I loved reading Sam’s autobiography of his own life.

Tautologies From Famous Speakers

Even the best speakers and writers will sometimes let tautology slip into their work. Politicians are particularly prone to this verbal tic as they speak for hours on end and often give slightly different versions of prepared remarks during many campaign stops.

  • “It’s no exaggeration to say the undecideds could go one way or another.” – George H. W. Bush
  • “Our nation must come together to unite.” – George W. Bush
  • “It’s deja vu all over again.” – Yogi Berra
  • “They are simply going to have to score more points than the other team to win the game” – John Madden
  • “If we do not succeed, we run the risk of failure.” – Dan Quayle
  • “Smoking can kill you, and if you’ve been killed, you’ve lost a very important part of your life.” – Brooke Shields.
  • “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right.” – Abraham Lincoln

Tautology in Literature

Occasionally tautologies are more than just needless repetition; they can add beauty or cause the reader to think about a subject more deeply. Examples of tautologies in literature show them at their best, whether for dramatic or comedic effect:

Tautology in Song

Song lyrics are often a treasure trove of tautologies, as in this case repetition can be artistic. Additional words can help fill out the rhythm or make a rhyme in song, so this repetition is often in service of the artistic work as a whole rather than accidental:

Tautology in Acronyms

Sometimes there is tautology with the use of abbreviations and acronyms, when part of the acronym that stands for a word is then repeated in conversation. For example, saying “the ATM machine” is a tautology, because the M already stands for machine. Other examples include:

  • DVD disc
  • GPS system
  • HIV virus
  • ISBN number
  • PIN number
  • Please R.S.V.P.
  • RAS syndrome
  • SARS syndrome
  • UPC code
  • VIN number

Tautology in Advertising

Repetition is often a key feature in advertising. Marketers want to make their messages stick in people’s minds to encourage them to buy. For this reason, tautology is common in store signs and advertising slogans:

  • Enjoy your added bonus!
  • McDonald’s new Zesty Mango McMini is really zesty.
  • Please prepay in advance.
  • The store is giving away free tickets!
  • The World’s Greatest Spokesman in the World!

Logical Tautologies

In a logical tautology, the statement is always true because one half of the “or” construction must be so:

  • Either it will rain tomorrow, or it won’t rain.
  • Bill will win the election, or he will not win the election.
  • She is brave, or she is not brave.
  • I will get in trouble or not get in trouble.
  • Mary will pitch a no-hitter, or she won’t pitch a no-hitter.

This easy-to-use guide will show you how to write a song, from finding a great title to writing your melody. Hands-on songwriting exercises will jump start your creativity, while ‘how-to’ video tutorials are a fun way to find out more.

by Robin Frederick. Request permission to reprint

What comes first, melody or lyrics? How does an idea become a whole song? How do you know if your song is any good? Well, I’ll answer the first two questions in this article. The third question – How do you know if your song is good? – is answered like this:

  • If a song genuinely expresses your feelings, then it’s a good song. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
  • If a song expresses your feelings AND touches other people, moves them emotionally, or gets them on the dance floor – that’s a good song with the potential to become a HIT.

So, how do you write a song that moves other people and makes them want to listen? Well, that’s where song craft comes in.

‣ What is song craft and why do I need it???

Good songwriters use song craft to give their songs emotional impact and create a memorable experience for listeners. The tools and techniques of our craft are not arbitrary; they weren’t invented just to drive us crazy or make us write copy-cat songs without depth or originality. They exist because, over hundreds of years, songwriters have found that they help listeners to understand, experience, and remember the message at the heart of a song.

The simple, time-tested ideas on this page will help you create a song that expresses your feelings and moves listeners, keeping them involved and interested in what you have to say. Like any skill, though, song craft takes a little practice, so be sure to try the “Go Ahead and Do It” exercises that follow each step.

‣ How does a song get started? (Good question!)

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Getting started can be one of the hardest tasks in songwriting. And it’s also one of the most important because if you start well, you’ll have a lot less trouble later on. You’ll know where you’re going and you’ll have plenty of things to say.

There’s always the temptation to jump right in and begin with the first thing that occurs to you. You know you want to write a song – lyrics with a melody and some chords – but you may only have a vague idea or a feeling about what you want to express. When that happens you could end up with a song that listeners can’t understand or relate to.

So which comes first – lyrics, melody, or chords? My answer is: None of the above. There are a lot of ways to start a song and you could start with one of those, but I’m going to suggest that you start with THE TITLE.

The title is going to be the line that everyone remembers. More important, it’s going to define the message of the song. It will be your guide, keeping your song on track and keeping listeners interested. Think of your title as the peak of a pyramid. The rest of the song is made up of the building blocks that support it.

Start your song with a title that appeals to you. Make sure it’s a phrase that rings true in your ears. Something that makes you say, “I’ve got to know more about that!” Because if YOU want to know, others will want to know.

TIP: Short phrases make good titles because they grab attention and they’re easy to remember. The ideal length for a title is one to five words.

Where to find good titles
Keep your eyes and ears open for good titles that have energy for you. Action words, images, or short phrases make good titles. Attention-grabbing newspaper headlines are full of good titles. Here are a few examples of titles I picked up by reading through a popular magazine: “A Dream On The Edge,” “Hiding in the Shadows,” “What You Can’t Change,” “Slipping Away.”

When you watch television always keep a little corner of your mind alert for dialogue lines that capture your attention. Listen to your friends and family to see if you can pick out interesting phrases. Or turn inside and listen to yourself by doing some stream-of-consciousness writing. Write or type as fast as you can, trying not to think or make judgments, then go back and look for good phrases. Start keeping a list of these potential titles.

GO AHEAD & TRY IT – Start your title list right now. Pick up a book or magazine, or scan for interesting short phrases. Write down at least three phrases. Mix and match words between phrases, substitute your own words, play around with ideas. Try to come up with at least one phrase that makes you want to write a song. Keep looking for more phrases until you have something you like. Draw a big circle around that phrase. Then keep reading.

Get a boost from Robin’s book “Song Starters” at Amazon.com.

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‣ Turn a title into a lyric. Here’s how.

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Now, let’s begin to turn your title into a great lyric by simply asking a few questions – the questions suggested by your title. If you use these questions as a guide when writing your lyric, you’ll be able to…

  • Finish every song you start
  • Keep listeners with you
  • Make your song say what you want.

Ask the questions hidden in your title
Every title suggests questions that need to be answered. Some of the questions will be ones that you want to explore, others will be questions that listeners have. You’ll need to answer both. Let me give you a few examples…

Take a classic song title like “Heartbreak Hotel.” Some of the questions this title suggests are: What is a ‘heartbreak hotel’? What happens there? Where is it?

Sure enough, these questions are all answered in this great Rock standard.

  • What is a ‘heartbreak hotel’? A place to go when your baby leaves you.
  • What happens there? Brokenhearted lovers cry.
  • Where is it? Down at the end of Lonely Street.

A title like Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” suggests questions like “Who was trouble?” “What kind of trouble?” and ‘How did things turn out?” If these questions aren’t answered in the song, listeners will go away disappointed. Here’s the lyric. Take a look to see how these questions were answered.

In a big Country hit like “You’re Gonna Miss This” recorded by Trace Adkins, listeners will be asking “What is it we’re going to miss?” and “Why will we miss it?” Check out the lyric. You might be surprised by the answer! That’s the sign of a great song. It draws the listener in with questions, then answers them in a fresh way.

Of course, you’ll also have questions you want to write about. Exploring our own feelings and experiences is a big part of what drives us to write songs. So, here are a few questions you might want to answer.

  • What does your title mean?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • Why do you think that happened?
  • What do you hope or fear will happen next?

If you’d like to hear a lyric example, listen to “Be With You,” a song I wrote with singer-songwriter Ed Patrick for our duo Neverway. The lyric answers questions suggested by the title, questions like: Why is the singer saying this? What’s happening? Who is involved? What is the singer feeling? Why is it important to him?

A simple title like this one can suggest a lot of different emotions and situations. Ed and I wrote about the feelings we wanted to express, but another songwriter could go in an entirely different direction with the same title. You can choose the questions you want to answer and the way you want to answer them.

GO AHEAD & TRY IT – Go back and look at the title you circled in the previous exercise. What questions does it suggest to you? What would you like to say about it? Write down the questions you’d like to answer. Then add any questions you think listeners might have.

Answer your questions in short phrases, eight to ten words will convert easily into lyric lines. Write more than you think you’ll need; you won’t use all of it. Remember, it’s just raw material. Explore the possibilities. Don’t worry about rhyming, just say what you want to say. That’s the best place to start.

Check out my books at Amazon. You’ll find hundreds of shortcuts you can use to take your songs from good to great!

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‣ Why is song structure such a big deal?

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Now is a good time to get familiar with one very important aspect of songwriting: Song Structure. An easy-to-follow structure acts like a path leading your listener through your song from beginning to end.

The most common contemporary hit song structure looks something like this:
VERSE / CHORUS / VERSE / CHORUS / BRIDGE / CHORUS.

Listeners like this song form because it provides enough repetition to feel familiar and enough variety to keep them interested. It also gives you, the songwriter, the chance to add emotional dynamics to your song. Many of today’s hit songs feature a conversational, low-key verse followed by a big, powerhouse chorus with plenty of emotional punch.

Once you get familiar with this basic song structure, there are plenty of add-ons and variations to play with. Some songs have a pre-chorus or extra post-chorus hook. But try using this one to get started. It’s been the foundation of many huge hits and many more to come.

Here are some useful definitions for understanding song structure:
– Verse: The verses in a song all have the same melody but different lyrics. The verse lyrics give us information about the situation, emotions, or people in the song.

– Chorus: We may hear the chorus of a song three, four or more times. The lyric and melody remain the same each time it recurs.The chorus lyric sums up the heart of the song. The title of the song almost always appears in the chorus section and may be repeated two or more times.

– Bridge: The bridge has a different melody, lyrics, and chord progression from the verse or chorus. It provides a break from the repetition of verse and chorus. The lyric often provides an insight or revealing moment.

GO AHEAD & TRY IT
Use the song form VERSE / CHORUS / VERSE / CHORUS / BRIDGE / CHORUS.

Look at the questions you wrote down in the previous section and choose a question to answer in each section of your song. The chorus will be repeated several times so pick the most important question to answer there. Often, that question is “How does that make me feel?”

Be sure to use your title in your chorus! Fill in a few lines around your title answering some of the questions you think listeners might have. Make sure your listeners understand your song by having the singer come right out and say what he or she really feels at least once in the chorus.

When you have a rough idea of your chorus lyric, move on to a verse. Verse lyrics tend to be more conversational, so keep it simple and just answer the question you picked for each verse in an open, honest way.

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‣ Add images & related words to bring your song to life

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Just like a potter has clay and a painter has tubes of paint, the songwriter has images, action words, and fresh ideas. These are your raw materials. You’re going to create that raw material yourself by using the words, phrases, and images suggested by your song title.

Make a list of words and images the title suggests
Let’s say your song title is “You Make Me Smile.” To create raw material based on this title, think of words and images associated with smiling. We can start with obvious ones like “happy,” “sunny,” “bright,” and “fun.” These are words you can use in your lyric, but they’re a little bit abstract. Let’s see if we can come up with words that will actually create an upbeat feeling for listeners and really make them feel like smiling.

Take the words “happy” and “fun,” for instance. What are a few things that are fun, things that make people smile? Parties, dancing, weekends, and vacations. The sound of laughter and music. Favorite foods and a day at the park with friends. A trip to the beach, a night on the town. Bright lights and crowds and carnival rides.

These are just rough ideas. Try not to judge whether they’re good or not at this stage. Just write down everything that comes to you. You won’t use all of it, but you never know what might end up in your song.

Now, let’s try the word “sunny.” Obviously that word makes me think of sunshine, which makes me think of summer and being outdoors, which makes me think of grass, trees, and flowers. Flowers make me think of colors – gold, red, purple – and bees buzzing around.

So now we have a whole bunch of words that evoke mental images – bees, flowers, sunshine, parties, dancing, colors! They all have to do with smiling and feeling good. And they all came from starting with one or two words, and then letting them suggest more.

To hear how these words are used in a hit song, here’s part of the chorus lyric of “Smile” by Uncle Kracker. Notice how many words are similar to the ones we came up with.

You make me dance like a fool
Forget how to breathe
Shine like gold
Buzz like a bee
Just the thought of you can drive me wild
Oh, you make me smile

Now the listener is able to picture how the singer is feeling instead of just having to take her word for it. This is one of the most important tools a songwriter has. Check out “Smile” by Uncle Kracker on Spotify, read the lyrics online, or watch the video to hear even more fun images and ideas based on smiling.

BONUS TIP: After you have a list of related words, make a list of contrasting words and images, ones that suggest the opposite. For example, I wrote a song called “California Girl.” Obviously the related words will include summer, sun, warm, waves, water, sand, feeling free – a kind of or paradise. Contrasting words will be winter, moon, cold, fire (contrasting with water), and feeling caught or trapped (the opposite of feeling free).

If you’d like to hear how I turned these lists of related and contrasting words into a lyric, watch the video of my song “California Girl” or listen and read the lyrics here.

GO AHEAD & TRY IT – Make a list of words, images, and phrases related to your title. Write down single words or short phrases. Don’t think about rhyming or making sense of things at this point. And try not to be critical of your ideas – just write down what comes to you. Then, make a list of contrasting words, images, and phrases. Write as many words as you can think of in each column. Let one idea suggest another and follow the trail wherever it takes you. This is a great exercise for stretching your creativity.

When you have a good list of words, try plugging some of them into your verse and chorus lyrics. Replace a statement with an image or action that helps to express the emotion in your song and makes the listener feel what you feel or see what you see.

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‣ Look for the melody that lives in your lyrics

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Every time you open your mouth to speak, you start singing! Don’t believe me? Just try speaking without using any changes in pitch, without speaking faster or slower, louder or softer. You can’t do it! You end up sounding like a robot. Although we usually think of singing as something quite different from talking, we actually use a lot of melody when we talk.

When we talk we use pitch, volume, phrasing, and rhythm – all the elements of a song melody. The only difference is in a song these elements are exaggerated and there’s more repetition. So if you have a few lyric lines, all you need to do is speak them to get a raw melody started.

Melody, speech, and emotion
It’s the melody part of speech that communicates emotion. In fact, just by changing the melody you can give the same words an entirely different emotional meaning. Try this: say the phrase “Oh, no?” as if you are asking a simple question. Now, say the same phrase — “Oh no!” — as if you are anxious and frightened. Notice the difference in the melody? In the question, the melody goes up at the end. In the frightened version, the pitch starts higher and then the melody moves downward. Exaggerate the emotion in the second phrase and you’ll really hear it. Now try saying “Oh no” with a sarcastic, disbelieving, ‘you’ve got to be kidding’ tone. It’s an entirely different melody from the other two.

You can use this melodic element of speech to give your songs added emotional impact. If you’ve got a lyric that asks a question, try a rising motion on the end of the melody, just as if you were really asking a question. Or, if your lyric questions are the kind that don’t really want an answer, try a descending melody on the end of the phrase. You’ll make the meaning clear and sound natural and believable to your listeners.

GO AHEAD & TRY IT – To achieve the conversational tone of many of today’s verses, try speaking your verse lyric in a casual, conversational style, then exaggerate it a little to begin creating your verse melody. Keep the pauses that occur naturally and exaggerate the little ups and downs in your speaking voice. You’ll want to make changes later but, for now, this will give you a good place to start. Remember, this is your raw material, not the finished melody.

Choruses often have more energy and urgency, conveying more of the song’s emotional heart. As we saw with the “Oh, no!” phrase, the more emotion there is, the higher the voice tends to be. That’s why very emotional Pop and Rock choruses work well in a higher note range. Speak the chorus lyric with as much emotion as you can put into it. Now, exaggerate the pitches, keeping the rhythm of the words and any pauses that occur naturally. This will get you started on your chorus.

Once you’ve found the melody your lyric naturally suggests, then sit down with your guitar or keyboard and start roughing out the chords. I like to record my vocal ideas before I even start to add chords, that way I can recall the original “spoken word” melody in case I want to go back to it. Of course, there are other ways to write a song melody but this one will give you a great place to start.

Make your melody one that listeners can’t forget: Read this tip!

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‣ What happens next?

Writing both lyrics and melody
If you play guitar or keyboard and you’re going to be writing your own melody and chords. Skip down to the next section for some ideas on how to find and use chord progressions that work well for today’s songs.

Work on the melody and chords using the verse and chorus lyric you have, gradually smoothing and changing until you have something you like. Then write the rest of the lyric to the final melody.

Writing lyrics only
If you’re going to be looking for a collaborator to put music to your lyrics, then you should go ahead and finish the lyric now. Filling in the rest of the lyric while sustaining the emotional tone of what you’ve done is a tough job but if you’ve gotten this far, you can do the rest.

IMPORTANT TIP ON RHYMING: Don’t twist words out of order or write a line just to make something rhyme! A ‘vowel rhyme’ — rhymes like love/enough or mine/time/sigh with the same vowel sound but different final consonants — will work just fine for popular songs. (Songs for musical theater are different – they usually do require perfect rhymes.) Check out a web site like Rhymedesk.com or B-rhymes.com to find lists of interesting, closely rhyming words to use.

Read my post To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme on my blog site.

Know when to take a break
Work on your lyric for short periods of time. If you’re not getting anything usable, walk away… literally. Take a walk and let things settle for awhile. Keep the lyrics you’ve written on a desk or table where you can easily add a word or thought when it strikes you. Keep the hit song melody in your head. The most important thing (and the most difficult) is to keep the emotional integrity of the song intact. Don’t settle for anything less. There are times when you’ll lose your way. Stop working! Go away and come back when you’re fresh. You’ll be able to see what needs to be fixed. Keep working on the lyric until you are genuinely moved and excited by it.

Check out my books at Amazon. You’ll find hundreds of shortcuts you can use to take your songs from good to great!

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‣ Finding the chords

Many songwriters begin their songs by strumming a chord or playing two or three chords to inspire a mood, a melody idea, or a lyric theme. Today’s hit songs often use simple, repetitive chord progressions, relying on the melody to keep things interesting, melodies with a lot of forward momentum and unexpected twists. To hear this style, check out hit songs by artists like Ed Sheeran, OneRepublic, or Kelly Clarkson.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel
There are loads of useful chord progressions that depend on just three to four basic chords. While song melodies and lyrics are copyrighted, in general, these familiar chord progressions are not. C-Am-F-G belongs to everyone! You can use this type of generic chord progression in your own songs. I’m going to suggest that, for now, you do just that.

These progressions aren’t hard to pick up. Listen to a recent hit song and learn to play along on either guitar or keyboards. There are many YouTube videos that will show you how to play recent hits. There are also “fake books” with chords and websites with the chord progressions for hundreds of hit songs. Just do a quick web search using the song title and the word “chords.”

If you decide to use one of these chord progressions to practice writing a song of your own, just be sure you don’t use any of the melody or lyric from the hit song. These are protected by the copyright law.

Here’s a page with chord progressions that will get you started.

Learn to play chords
If you already have an idea for your melody, you can hunt for the chords that fit. If you don’t play piano or guitar, take a few lessons. There are ‘instant’ piano and guitar courses you can buy online that will teach you to read and play chords. Check out my Resources page for a good one. Or you can take a few lessons from a local music teacher. Many music stores offer lessons. Your local community center or college may have classes. Or ask friends and neighbors to refer a teacher. If you decide to take lessons, be sure to tell the teacher you want to learn to read and play CHORDS. You don’t need to learn note reading.

In general, songwriters don’t have to be great musicians. We know chords, we know song craft, we know how to follow our emotions – none of this has anything to do with how many dazzling riffs and licks you can play. Just strum or chord along with your voice and keep the emotional feel front and center.

Use a karaoke track
Here’s a resource for those of you who don’t play an instrument – and even those who do! Karaoke tracks offer an instant backing track that can inspire ideas and get you singing your lyrics to a contemporary beat. Go ahead and write a song for friends and family or just for songwriting practice. The track itself is copyrighted but generally the chords are not. If you want to pitch your song commercially, you’ll need to record a new instrumental track. You can keep the chords or adapt if needed.

Read on my blog: How to Write a Song if Your Don’t Play an Instrument.

‣ Songs for Film & TV

Many of today’s top TV dramas and films use songs to add mood, energy, and atmosphere to scenes. A lyric with a single, strong emotional focus is ideal for this use. If you’re interested in learning how to write a song for this market study how songs are used in commercials, TV shows, and films. Notice how they enhance and deepen the effect of the scene.

As an exercise, choose a scene and try writing a song that would work with it. Record your vocal and a simple guitar or piano part, then play it softly under the scene to see if it increases the emotional impact. For more information, read my book “Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV” available at Amazon.com.

Read more about writing songs for the film & TV market.

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‣ Find a co-writer.

So let’s say you have this fabulous lyric. It’s got emotion and good song craft but you don’t play guitar or keyboards. Maybe writing melodies just isn’t your strength. Or you’re a musician who doesn’t write lyrics. Time to look for a co-writer!

Copyright your work
Before you show your lyric or melody to a co-writer, before you enter it in a contest, or otherwise spread it around, it’s a good idea to copyright it with the U.S. Library of Congress. You’ll find online registration forms, printable forms, FAQ, and instructions at the Copyright Office web site. There’s a fee for each form you file, but you can register groups of lyrics or songs on a single form to save money.

Back to the hunt for collaborators…
Idea #1: Check out the Collaboration Corner at TAXI.com. You don’t have to be a TAXI member to join in the forum discussions and meet collaborators. Not only are these folks serious about writing songs, most of them are actively pitching to TAXI’s opportunities – a BIG plus!

Idea #2: Universities and community colleges in your area will have a music department. Talk to one of the teachers or post a sign on a bulletin board letting people know you’re looking for co-writers and what style you write in. Also, check to see if there is a campus club or group interested in music or songwriting.

Idea #3: Check out clubs in your area that feature local artists. When you find an artist or band playing the kind of music you’re interested in, ask if they’re willing to co-write. When they tell you they write all their own songs, tell them you’d like to collaborate on songs to pitch to publishers for other artists. They’ll be interested.

Idea #4: Check out local music stores. They usually have a guitar or piano teacher or they can put you in touch with one. The teacher might be interested in writing with you or may know a student who is looking for a collaborator.

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‣ The next step.

Once you’ve written a strong song with a memorable melody, emotionally evocative lyric, and good structure that keeps the listener’s attention, you’ll want to make a demo to show it off. Advances in recording technology have revolutionized home recording. It’s now relatively easy and affordable to put together a home demo studio. Although a course in home recording is beyond the scope of this article, here are a couple of ways to get started…

HOME MIDI STUDIOS: There are many inexpensive software programs that include both MIDI sequencers (for use with MIDI keyboards) and audio recording capability (to record vocals and guitar). Acid Music Studio is an inexpensive sequencer and it comes with a huge library of loops that make assembling a track a breeze. For Mac users there’s Garageband for MAC. It’s included with your Mac or get it at the Mac App Store on your computer, iPhone or iPad. You’ll need a MIDI keyboard for use with both of these programs. Apple has one for under $100. Yamaha makes a good inexpensive keyboard.

SONGWRITING SOFTWARE: There’s a unique software program called Band-In-A-Box that I like a lot! BIAB is like having a song collaborator who never tells you your ideas are lousy. It will create a chord progression or you can type one in or play one on a MIDI keyboard. It will create a drum, bass, piano, guitar, and string arrangement based on your chords. BIAB will even create a melody and a title! It’s inexpensive, fun, creative, and a great place to start a song from scratch! To find out more, visit my Resources page. There are versions for both PC (BIAB for Windows) and Mac (BIAB for Mac).

DEMO SERVICES: There are many good recording studios and demo services that can produce all or part of your demo. They can record the instrumental tracks so you can do your vocal at home, or they can give provide just the guitar or drums. You’ll have a chance to give input or talk with the producer ahead of time. I suggest giving the service an idea of what you want by playing existing songs with a similar style, sound, or feel. Here’s a list of services and online musicians I’ve used.

‣ One last thought…

Of course, all I have given you here is a doorway into songwriting. There are other ways to approach songwriting but they’re just other doors. Once you go through the door, that’s when you really begin to learn. Everything you need to know is right there on the radio, in your CD collection or on your iPod.

Study songs by your favorite artists to learn what they’re doing. Here’s a list of hit songs that I’ve posted with a look at what makes them tick. You’ll find tips on how to use these ideas in songs of your own. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you write a song. Stand on the shoulders of giants; use what others have discovered and build on it. Make it your own! Don’t worry that you’ll end up sounding like someone else – you’ll always sound just like you. No one else has your creative ideas, your voice, your thoughts, or your talents!

May your songs flow. ~ Robin Frederick

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The posts on this website are based on my songwriting books. You’ll find hundreds of useful, real world tips and techniques to get your creative ideas flowing and help you craft songs that work for today’s music market. Find out more about all my print and eBooks on my Author page at Amazon. Copyright Robin Frederick. All rights reserved. Request permission to reprint.

19 Songs To Listen To When You Are So F*cking Over The Way Someone Treats You

As a typical Minnesotan I’m extremely conflict averse. I hate upsetting people and I generally just want to make everyone happy. But there’s only so much you can do. You get to a point in every relationship, romantic or otherwise, where the idea of leaving is suddenly less scary than the idea of putting up with being walking on like this indefinitely.

Only Girl In The World — Rihanna

All problems in life could be solved if everyone understood that this is the way to treat people you don’t want to lose.

With Every Heartbeat — Robyn, with Kleerup

“We could keep trying, but things will never change.”

What Goes Around… Comes Around — Justin Timberlake

For an explicit, country version of this song try Jo Dee Messina’s Lesson in Leavin.

Loyal — Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne, Thank You God Always

A very down to earth question that demands an answer: “Why give a bitch your heart when she’d rather have a purse?”

California — Delta Spirit

“You’re not for me.”

Run, Run, Run — Phoenix

Beautiful lyrics: “No more favors, I know what we can do about it: I think I’d better run, run, run, run.”

Wrecking Ball — Miley Cyrus

“All you ever did was wreck me.”

You Make Me Like Charity — The Knife

“You make me like charity, instead of paying enough taxes.”

Push — Matchbox Twenty

The perfect jam for when you just don’t care anymore. You get to sing “I want to take you for granted” and think about how this is how other people who aren’t as nice as you must just feel all the time.

Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do — Robyn

This is literally the best song to listen to when you are sick of people’s shit.

Problem — Ariana Grande

“I’ve got one less problem without you.”

I Don’t Fuck With You — Big Sean

All your base thoughts in musical form.

Good Girls (Don’t Grow On Trees) — Cris Cab ft. Big Sean

This is what your ex will be singing to himself for years and years to come. 😊💅

Karma — Lloyd Banks

Only include this song if you are cool to still fuck with whoever is fucking you over — under a new regime of understanding. If you want them out of your life, skip it.

Gives You Hell — All American Rejects

And underrated nostalgic hit.

Really Don’t Care — Demi Lovato, Cher Lloyd

Repeating “I really don’t care” as many times as your lungs can handle is the first step to actually not caring. Science.

Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now — The Smiths

“Why do I give valuable time to people who don’t care if I live or die?”

Love Song — Sarah Bareilles

“Convinced me to please you, made me think that I need this too.”

Wide Awake — Katy Perry

I love that this one works on an existential level. You can fool someone for awhile, but eventually they are going to wake up.

20 Best rock songs to listen to when going through a breakup

Love is a plethora of emotions that deliver romance, attraction, connection, virtue, desire, compassion, friendship, loyalty, excitement, and pleasure. If love is real, it is everlasting and never goes away; but if love is simply not meant to be, that is where breakups come in. The separation can be ultimately devastating, leaving a person heartbroken. After crying into a pillow for hours because of the love lost, some of the greatest ways of dealing with the situation are simply by listening to music. Music is medicine. In fact, many professionals use music therapy as way to help other people. So, what are the top 20 breakup songs in rock music?

20. “Addicted” by Kelly Clarkson
Released in 2004, this Breakaway hit proves that giving up love is a must. Especially if you are addicted to them and you know they are bad news. “It’s like you’re a drug, it’s like you’re a demon I can’t face down.”

19. “Second Chance” by Shinedown
When you are going through a dark time, do you think there are second chances? From Shinedown’s album, The Sound of Madness and released in 2008, this hit is definitely a hit among rock music enthusiasts who are going through heartbreak.

18. “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morissette
“And I’m here to remind you, of the mess you left when you went away.” From Morissette’s 1995 album, Jagged Little Pill, this tune is one of the best breakup tunes around.

17. “In The End” by Linkin Park
As part of the Hybrid Theory album, released in 2000, this is not only the song that blew the band into stardom, but one of the greatest breakup songs. I’ve tried so hard and got so far, but in the end it doesn’t even matter.

16. “Blurry” by Puddle of Mud
When going through a really bad breakup, this song is a true savior. Released in 2001, “everything’s so blurry, everyone’s empty, and everything is so messed up.” Definitely describes a breakup.

15. “Tainted Love” by Marilyn Manson
Although this song was originally released by Soft Cell in 1981, Manson really made this song so incredible when he released it in 2002. As one of the best breakup songs ever, no relationship is safe with tainted love. “Once I ran to you and now I’ll run from you.”

14. “Careless Whisper” by Seether
Although this song was released originally by Wham! in 1985, this epic cover by Seether released in 2007 has an edgier delivery and makes you believe that he should have known better than to cheat a friend.

13. “Time For Change” by Motley Crue
Does everything always stay the same? From Motley Crue’s Dr. Feelgood album released in 1989, this magical love ballad is one of the best breakup songs of all time. Do you think it’s time for change?

12. “I Try” by Macy Gray
“I try to say goodbye and I choke. I try to walk away and I stumble. Though I try to hide it’s clear, my work crumbles when you are not near.” Released in 1999, this song is what a failing relationship is all about.

11. “Don’t Cry” by Guns N’ Roses
Released in 1991, this breakup song is one to not only love, but appreciate more so. Especially if you are going through a dark time. Don’t you cry tonight, I still love you baby. If you are going through a break up, just think it is possible that no love really is lost.

10. “Pictures of You” by The Cure
“Remembering you fallen into my arms. Crying for the death of your heart.” Released in 1989, this love song paints a picture of memory breeding experiences. If you can lie on your bed and cry for another person, you can remember the good they brought into your life, too.

9. “With or Without You” by U2
“I can’t live, with or without you.” Released in 1987, this epic breakup tune is what I refer to as a love/hate kind of song. It’s a known fact that every relationship is bound to have a struggle, but this tune really comes in handy when it’s time to call it quits.

8. “Tangerine” by Led Zeppelin
Released in 1970, this song is all about reminiscing about love and the memories shared between two souls. “Going from dark to light, as going from black to white. Tangerine, living reflection from a dream. I was her love, she was my queen.”

7. “Whataya Want From Me” by Adam Lambert
“Just don’t give up, I’m workin’ it out. Please don’t give in, I won’t let you down.” Released in 2009, this song is one of the greatest songs to listen to, especially when you part ways with your former significant other.

6. “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele
“We could have had it all, rolling in the deep.” Released in 2010, this song is one of the best breakup songs ever in music. Although it isn’t hard rock – it’s more of a pop rock/blues fusion – it’s a great breakup song.

5. “I Remember You” by Skid Row
Released in 1989, this rock ballad truly epitomizes the ending of a relationship, but it also allows you to remember the good because there is hope. Meaning, the future may place you together again. “Remember yesterday, walking hand in hand, love letters in the sand, I remember you.”

4. “Alone” by Heart
Released in late spring of 1987, this power rock ballad proves to be one of the best breakup songs ever. “Till now, I always got by on your my own, I never really cared until I met you. How do I get you alone?”

3. “It’s Now or Never” by Elvis
Released in 1960, this epic love song is one of the best songs to cry your eyes out to. As one of the first generational rock tunes, it really defines what love is all about. “It’s now or never, come hold me tight. Kiss me my darling, be mine tonight. Tomorrow will be too late, it’s now or never. My love won’t wait.”

2. “It Must Have Been Love (But It’s Over Now)” by Roxette
“From the moment we touch til the time had run out.” Released in 1990, this song will forever remain one of the greatest rock breakup songs in the history of music.

1. “What It Takes” by Aerosmith
Released in 1990, this power ballad is the best breakup song in all of rock music. “Tell me what it takes to let you go, tell me how the pain’s suppose to go.” This song is evergreen and will get you through any breakup.

Welcome to Lyrics.com

Playlist

Break My Stride

Matthew WilderBuy this song

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Matthew Wilder

Matthew Wilder (born Matthew Weiner, January 24, 1953, Manhattan, New York, New York) is an American musician, composer and record producer. In 1983 he had a Top 5 hit, “Break My Stride”. more “

Year: 1994 22,235 Views Last night I had the strangest dream I sailed away to China In a little row boat to find ya And you said you had to get your laundry cleaned Didn’t want no one to hold you What does that mean And you said Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride Nobody gonna slow me down, oh no I got to keep on movin’ Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride I’m running and I won’t touch ground Oh no, I got to keep on movin’ You’re on the road and now you pray it lasts The road behind was rocky But now you’re feeling cocky You look at me and you see your past Is that the reason why you’re runnin’ so fast And she said Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride Nobody gonna slow me down, oh no I got to keep on moving Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride I’m running and I won’t touch ground Oh no, I got to keep on moving Never let another girl like you work me over Never let another girl like you drag me under If I meet another girl like you, I will tell her Never want another girl like you, have to say, oh Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride Nobody gonna slow me down Oh no, oh no, I got to keep on moving Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride I’m running and I won’t touch ground Oh no, I got to keep on movin’ Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride Nobody gonna slow me down Oh no, oh no, I got to keep on moving Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride I’m running and I won’t touch ground Oh no, I got to keep on movin’ Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride Nobody gonna slow me down Oh no, I got to keep on moving Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride I’m running and I won’t touch ground Oh no, I got to keep on movin’ Ain’t nothin’ gonna break-a my stride Nobody’s gonna slow me down, oh no

Playlist

Written by: Greg Prestopino, Matthew Wilder

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

Spotify’s lack of full lyrics support and its minimal attention to voice are beginning to become problems for the streaming service. The company has been so focused on the development of its personalization technology and programming its playlists, it has overlooked key features that its competitors – including Apple, Google, and Amazon – today offer and are now capitalizing on.

For example, in the updated version of Apple Music rolling out this fall with iOS 12, users won’t just have access to lyrics in the app as before, they will also be able to perform searches by lyrics instead of only by the artist, album, or song title.

And Apple Music is actually playing catch up with Amazon on this front.

Amazon Music, which has quietly grown to become the third largest music streaming service, allows users to view the lyrics as songs play, and ties that to its Alexa voice platform. Amazon Music users with an Alexa device can also search for songs by lyrics just by saying “play the song that goes…”.

The company has been offering this capability for close to two years. While it had originally been one of Alexa’s hidden gems, today asking Alexa to pull up a song by its lyrics is considered a standard feature.

Though Google has lagged behind Apple, Spotify and Amazon in music, its clever Google Assistant is capable of search-by-lyrics, too. And as an added perk, it can also work like Shazam to identify a song that’s playing nearby.

With the rise of voice-based computing, features like asking for songs with verbal commands or querying databases of lyrics by voice are now expected features.

And where’s Spotify on this?

It has launched lyrics search only in Japan so far, and refuses to provide a timeline as to when it will make this a priority in other markets. Even tucked away in the app’s code are references to lyrics tests only in the non-U.S. markets of Thailand and Vietnam.

Spotify is testing viewing lyrics within mobile app.

For some reason, the code suggests this feature might be rolled out to Japan, Thailand and Vietnam pic.twitter.com/7fQbIZgR5k

— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) June 1, 2018

Those tests have been underway since the beginning of the year, we understand from sources. But the attention being given to these tests is minimal – Spotify isn’t measuring user engagement with the lyrics feature at this point. And Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wasn’t even aware his team was working on these lyrics tests, we heard, which implies a lack of management focus on this product.

Meanwhile, competitors like Apple and Amazon have dedicated lyrics teams.

We asked Spotify multiple times if it was currently testing lyrics in the U.S. (You can see one person who claims they gained access here, for example.) But the company never responded to our questions.

Image credit: Imgur via Reddit user spalatidium

Some Spotify customers who largely listen to popular music may be confused about the lack of a full lyrics product in the app. That’s because Spotify partnered with Genius in 2016 to launch “Behind the Lyrics,” which offers lyrics and music trivia on a portion of its catalog. But you don’t see all the song’s lyrics when the music plays because they’re interrupted with facts and other background information about the song, the lyrics’ meaning, or the artist.

That same year, Spotify also ditched its ties with Musixmatch, which had been providing its lyrics support, as the two companies could no longer come to an agreement. There was expectation from users that lyrics would return at some point – but only “Behind the Lyrics” emerged to fill the void.

Demand for a real lyrics feature remains strong, though. Users regularly post on social media and Reddit about the topic.

Hey @Spotify

Could you make it possible to show the lyrics while playing a song somehow?
Not, that i do not apreciate some trivia, but i would enjoy your App more if i could sing the text right ^^”

Thank you 🎵🎶💚

— Felycitas Black (@FelycitasBlack) August 15, 2018

Remember when @spotify had a pretty good song lyrics feature but then their third party lyric provider told them to fuck off so they removed it and never bothered to replace it?

— Daria (@imhkr) August 14, 2018

guys shall we open a petition to have back the lyrics on @Spotify? #wewannasingalong 🎼🎤👩‍🎤

— alessia (@cheekyprofile) August 10, 2018

I miss the days when @Spotify had lyrics available for songs

— Raikar (@Raikar_tv) August 12, 2018

A request for lyrics’ return is also one of the most upvoted product ideas on Spotify’s user feedback forum. It has 9,237 “likes,” making it the second-most popular request.

(The idea has been flagged “Watch this Space,” but it’s been tagged like that for so long it’s no longer a promise of something that’s soon to come.) There is no internal solution in the works, we understand, and it’s not working on a new deal with a third-party at this time.

The lack of lyrics is becoming a problem in other areas, as well, now that competitors are launching search-by-lyrics features that work via voice commands.

In fact, Spotify was late, in general, to address users’ interest in voice assistance – even though a primary use case for music listening is when you’re on the go – like, in the car, out walking or jogging, at the gym, biking, etc.

It only began testing a voice search option this spring, accessible through a new in-app button. Now rolled out to mobile users on Spotify Premium, the voice search product works via a long-press on the Search button in the app. You can then ask Spotify to play music, playlists, podcasts, and videos.

But the feature is still wonky. For one thing, hiding it away as a long press-triggered option means many users probably don’t know it exists. (And the floating button that pops up when you switch to search is hard to reach.) Secondly, it doesn’t address the primary reason users want to search by voice: hands-free listening.

Meanwhile, iPhone/HomePod users can tell Siri to play music with a hands-free command; Google Assistant/Google Home users can instruct the helper to play their songs – even if they only know the lyrics. And Amazon Music’s Alexa integration is live on Echo speakers, and available hands-free in its Music app.

Even third-party music services like Pandora are tapping into the voice platforms’ capabilities to provide search by lyrics. For example, Pandora Premium launched this week on Google Assistant devices like the Google Home, and offers search-by-lyrics powered by Google Assistant.

Spotify can’t offer a native search-by-lyrics feature in its app, much less search-by-lyrics using voice commands option, because it doesn’t even have fully functional lyrics.

Voice and lyrics aren’t the only challenges Spotify is facing going forward.

Spotify also lacks dedicated hardware like its own Echo or HomePod. Given the rise of voice-based computing and voice assistants, the company has the potential to cede some portion of the market as consumers end up buying into the larger ecosystems provided by the main tech players: Siri/HomePod/Apple Music vs. Google Assistant/Google Home/Google Play Music (or YouTube Music) vs. Alexa/Echo/Amazon Music (all promoted by Prime).

For now, Spotify works with partners to make sure its service performs on their platforms, but Apple isn’t playing nice in return.

Elsewhere, Spotify may play – even by voice – but won’t be as fully functional as the native solutions. With Spotify as the default service on Echo devices, for example, Alexa can’t always figure out commands that instruct it to play music by lyrics, activity, or mood – commands that work well with Amazon Music, of course.

Other cracks in Spotify’s dominance are starting to show, too.

Amazon Music has seen impressive growth, thanks to adoption in four key Prime markets, U.S., Japan, Germany and the U.K.. With now 12% of the music streaming market, it has become the dark horse that’s been largely ignored amid discussions of the Amazon vs Spotify battle. But it’s not necessarily one to count out just yet.

YouTube Music, though brand new, has managed to snag Lyor Cohen as its Global Music Head, while Spotify’s latest headlines are about losing Troy Carter.

Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook just announced during the last earnings call that Apple Music has moved ahead of Spotify in North America. He also warned against ceding too much control to algorithms, in a recent interview, making a sensible argument for maintaining music’s “spiritual role” in our lives.

“We worry about the humanity being drained out of music, about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world instead of the art and craft,” Cook mused.

Apple was late to music streaming, having been so tied to its download business. But it also had the luxury of time to get it right, knowing that its powerful iPhone platform means anything it launches has a built-in advantage. (And it’s poised to offer TV shows as a part of its subscription, too, which could be a further draw.)

How much time does Spotify have to get it right?

Despite these concerns, Spotify doesn’t need to panic yet – it still has more listeners, more paying customers, and more consumer mindshare in the music streaming business. It has its popular playlists and personalization features. It has its RapCaviar. But it will need to plug its holes to keep up where the market is heading, or risk losing customers to the larger platforms in the months ahead.

How to Find the Name or Title of a Song by Lyrics

Heard a song on the radio recently and can’t remember the name of it? This happens to me all the time because even though I wait, half the time no one ever says which band played the song or the name of the song! Luckily, you can just search for lyrics online and find out instantly the name of the song and the band.

If you can remember a line or two from the song, probably just performing a simple Google search will bring up all the info you need without having to go to a lyrics search site. A simple search like “it doesn’t even matter” on Google will give you the correct band, Linkin Park and the correct song title, In the End.

As you can see, the first result is from a lyrics site called azlyrics.com. Since all of those sites are indexed by Google, performing a search on Google for song lyrics will give you the correct answer most of the time. On top of that, you get links to YouTube videos, etc in case you were searching for that also.

You can also just add the word “lyrics” to the end of your search in Google and you are almost guaranteed to get the correct answer.

However, if the search is not working in Google because the lyrics are common, then you can try out a couple of useful lyric sites. There are literally hundreds of them, but I’ll only mention two here since I’ve never had to use any other service beyond the three I mention below. Also, I tried to stick with ones that weren’t full of ads or simply indexed other lyric sites.

MetroLyrics

MetroLyrics.com is probably my favorite site for searching for lyrics because it gives you a lot more information beyond what you were even looking for. The search feature is also pretty awesome in that it will search your keywords in not only lyrics, but also artists, song names, videos, album names and even the news.

I clicked on Lyrics just to see those results and as you can see, it found the song I was looking for plus a whole bunch of other songs. Sometimes having too many results can be overwhelming, but MetroLyrics does a good job of showing the best matches at the top and then showing the less relevant results below. Also, I really like their search because there are a lot of times I can’t remember the exact words from the song, so I end up searching for the wrong lyrics. This site shows exact matches, but also shows close matches, so if you don’t get every word right, you should still be able to find the song.

On the actual lyrics page, you can print the lyrics if you like, watch the music video if it’s available and even correct the lyrics since it’s community edited like Wikipedia. I also like the fact that it tells you who actually wrote the song, an item most lyric sites don’t mention.

Overall, this site is fine if you only want to search for lyrics, but it’s really good at keeping you engaged with a lot of other info if you’re someone who is interested in music.

SongLyrics

SongLyrics.com isn’t as nice looking as MetroLyrics, but it still returns very good results. Firstly, go ahead perform a search using the search box at the top.

As with MetroLyrics, you can search on Artist, Album, Song Title and Within Lyrics. You can also do an exact match search if you want. In my case, I went ahead and checked only Within Lyrics and then I got the Linkin Park result I was looking for:

If you click on the link, you’ll get the lyrics page. One nice feature is the ability to listen to the song while you have the lyrics up. It doesn’t require you to sign up or anything, a simple web player pops up and starts playing the song.

I’m not really sure what people did before the Internet, but now when you hear a song on the radio and if you didn’t already Shazam it while driving, then you can easily do a search to find any song, old or new, in just a few seconds. Enjoy!

If Jack Ely had stood closer to the microphone on the morning of April 6, 1963, when he entered a Portland studio to record a version of the song “Louie Louie,” then the history of popular music would have been different. Ely, a former vocalist of the Portland garage-rock band the Kingsmen, passed away at his home in Oregon last week. He was seventy-one years old. For five years, from 1959 to 1963, Ely sang with the Kingsmen, a group he founded with a childhood friend. The Kingsmen’s most famous recording is “Louie Louie,” a song written by Richard Berry and first recorded by Berry and his band, the Pharaohs, in 1957.

On that April day in 1963, the only microphone available to Ely was located several feet above him, hanging from the ceiling. Ely was wearing dental braces, and his bandmates, who were gathered around Ely in a circle, played their instruments loudly. The result was an incomprehensible vocal that, in time, would make Ely the most celebrated interpreter of a song which is close to being pop Esperanto. “Louie Louie” has nonetheless made brethren out of musicians as various as Black Flag, the Beach Boys, and Barry White. A, D, E minor, runs the chord progression. Easy. As for the lyrics, it doesn’t matter how you sing them, or even really what you sing, though you might consider beginning with the words “Louie Louie / Oh no / Me gotta go.” Really, though, the floor is yours. Sing your grocery list. Pull random words from a hat. “Blue eye, blue eye / Oh no / A wig on a cone,” as one version on YouTube has it.

The legend of the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie” has been told almost as many times as the song itself has been covered. (There’s no accurate count for either, but both must number in the thousands.) First released in May of 1963, and then re-released that October, the Kingsmen’s version climbed to No. 2 on the Billboard singles chart. The song’s popularity among a new generation of rock-and-roll teen-agers brought it to the attention of some concerned citizens. One of them, the father of a teen-age girl, wrote to Robert Kennedy, who was then the Attorney General, to complain about the song’s possible obscenity, prompting an F.B.I. investigation. “This land of ours is headed for an extreme state of moral degradation,” the incensed parent wrote to Kennedy. (Remember this the next time someone tries reminiscing to you about the good old days before pop music was full of sex and vulgarities.)

Several possible versions of the song’s lyrics, included with the F.B.I.’s report, do make for a rather startling read. In the second verse, for instance, Ely might sing, “At night at ten / I lay her again / Fuck you girl, oh / All the way.” Or perhaps his words are more onanistic: “Every night and day / I play with my thing / Fuck your girl / All kinds of ways.” The F.B.I. investigation dragged on through 1965, with each laboratory examination of the record deemed inconclusive: no one could determine what Ely was singing, so the record couldn’t be declared obscene. Ben F. Waple, the secretary of the Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.), wrote to Wand Records, which was responsible for the October, 1963, pressing of the record, to ask “whether, even though unobjectionable lyrics were used in recording the song, there was improper motivation on the part of the singers … in making the recorded lyrics so unintelligible as to give rise to reports that they were obscene.”

Ely’s performance was a result of accident rather than design. Though the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie” has gone down in pop history as one of the medium’s more endearing (and enduring) moments of amateurism, the group’s members were not inexperienced musicians. Ely studied classical piano as a child, and joined a vaudeville group called the Young Oregonians when he was eleven years old. The group performed cover versions of Elvis Presley songs, to which Ely contributed guitar and vocals. It was through vaudeville that Ely met a young drummer named Lynn Easton, with whom he would form the Kingsmen. The Kingsmen learned “Louie Louie” not directly from Richard Berry’s original but from another cover version by the Wailers, whose recording of the song was released in 1961. It was this version, which he heard played on local jukeboxes around Portland, that Ely brought to the band’s rehearsal room.

It was surely a reflection of the era’s unspoken desires that so many listeners, including those at the F.C.C., were eager to hear obscenities or “improper motivation” in the Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie.” The song was kept from the Billboard top spot in late 1963 by “Dominique,” a piping acoustic ditty about the good deeds of Saint Dominic, performed in French by Jeanne Deckers (otherwise known as The Singing Nun), a member of the Dominican Order. The Beatles were only months away from their first Billboard No. 1 hit, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Never mind if the obscenities were imagined—“Louie Louie” promised its listeners stronger stuff. As a member of the Flint Junior Woman’s Club argued, with admirable logic, in a 1965 letter to J. Edgar Hoover, it hardly mattered what the actual lyrics were when “every teenager in the country ‘heard’ the obscene not the copywritten lyric.”

The longevity of “Louie Louie” as a sordid and subversive rock-and-roll anthem could hardly have been predicted by its original author, Richard Berry, who wrote his song’s lyrics in a fake Jamaican patois, in an attempt to capitalize on the American calypso craze of the mid-fifties. (Harry Belafonte’s album “Calypso” reached the top of the charts in 1956, the year before Berry recorded “Louie Louie.”)

The song’s origins go back further still. Berry lifted his iconic riff straight from “El Loco Cha Cha,” a song by the Cuban-American bandleader René Touzet. In Touzet’s arrangement the riff was played on piano, complemented by a jaunty brass section. In Berry and the Pharaoh’s recording of “Louie Louie,” the riff was sung in the manner of doo-wop. The mixed and uncertain origins of “Louie Louie” (even “El Loco Cha Cha” was based, in turn, on another Cuban tune) have helped to make the song infinitely renewable. For what it’s worth, my favorite version is the 1972 recording by the Jamaican group Toots and the Maytals. Though their arrangement dispenses with the stomping garage-rock rhythm that made the Kingsmen’s version so influential, the lead singer, Frederick (Toots) Hibbert, rivals, even exceeds, Jack Ely for indecipherability, and for sheer verve.

Ely never recorded another hit with the Kingsmen—he left the group while “Louie Louie” was still on the charts, in late 1963, after a dispute with Lynn Easton. It was Easton who was responsible for the sole actual obscenity on the Kingsmen’s recording, one which the F.B.I. never picked up upon. The song was recorded in a single live take. Fifty-six seconds in, Easton drops his drumstick. “Fuck!” he yells. You can hear it, if you listen hard enough.

These Lyrics Do Not Exist

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10 Love Songs With the Most Creepy and Disturbing Lyrics

Sometimes the best way to express your undying love and devotion to someone is through song. But sometimes, either purposefully or accidentally, love songs can turn unsettling. Obsession, codependency, and paranoia can be aspects of love that when explored in a love song make the tune go from romantic to dark and creepy. Here’s a list of ten of the creepiest love songs ever. These songs range from awful misfires to songs that are considered some of the greatest of all time.

1. ‘One Way or Another,’ Blondie

Debbie Harry of Blondie | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Blondie frontwoman Debbie Harry wrote this song from the perspective of an ex-boyfriend who’d been stalking her, according to her biographer Cathy Che. The hit from Blondie’s third album and the record that made them huge Parallel Lines sees Harry taking on the perspective of an obsessed stalker who follows her love object on the bus and to the supermarket. The narrator of the song is constantly watching but never seen, determined that “one way or another / I’m gonna find ya / I’m gonna get ya get ya get ya get ya.”

The song was included on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time and is one of Blondie’s best-known songs. But it’s still a creepy love song written from the eyes of a stalker.

2. ‘Lemon Incest,’ Serge and Charlotte Gainsbourg

French singer and film director Serge Gainsbourg in 1983 at a press conference | Ralph Gatti/AFP/Getty Images

This duet between father and daughter about an incestuous relationship was highly controversial for obvious reasons. Serge recorded this with Charlotte in 1984, when she was just 12 years old. Some of the lyrics Charlotte sings are a bit ambiguous about a sexual relationship between a father and his daughter, which isn’t helped by the fact that the pair singing the song have that relationship in real life. The song caused a scandal, raising accusations that it glamorized incest and pedophilia, but it still became a hit in France anyway.

The video, which features Charlotte laying in bed in just a shirt and panties with Serge shirtless in jeans pushed buttons even further. Charlotte has since said that she doesn’t regret recording the track, though she acknowledges it was purposefully provocative. “I don’t think I understood the provocation,” she said in an interview. “Because I knew my father, of course I sang on it, but I wasn’t shocked by it at all.”

3. ‘Every Breath You Take,’ The Police

The Police in 1979 | Martyn Goddard/Evening Standard/Getty Images

The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” was a massive hit, spending eight weeks at the top of the Billboard charts, but the lyrics are undeniably creepy. This song is interesting because musically it takes the form of a typical pop love song, but lyrically Sting was thinking of things like surveillance, control, and the dystopian world presented in George Orwell’s 1984 when he was writing the song.

To this day, many people misinterpret the track as a romantic love song when really it’s about an omniscient Big Brother-type presence that’s always watching. “It sounds like a comforting love song. I didn’t realise at the time how sinister it is. I think I was thinking of Big Brother, surveillance and control,” Sting said in an interview with The Independent.

4. ‘I’m Slowly Turning Into You,’ The White Stripes

Meg White and Jack White of The White Stripes | Michael Buckner/Getty Images

You know how they say people who’ve been together a really long time will even start to look alike and have similar physical mannerisms? This exploration of longtime love from The White Stripes takes that a step further and suggests that frontman Jack White’s love has literally turned him into his love object. “And it might sound a little strange for me to say to you / But I’m proud to be you,” he sings, even though some of the things his love object does are annoying.

This complicated song covers the highs and lows of romantic companionship in just three verses. The ultimate conclusion that White is “proud to be you” is either a beautiful and romantic declaration or a horrifying vision of codependency and loss of self depending on your perspective.

5. ‘Drain You,’ Nirvana

Album art from Nirvana’s album Nevermind | DGC

Another codependency song, this track from Nirvana’s breakthrough record Nevermind describes a love relationship as a fetal bond in which the lovers feed off of each other’s bodily fluids. “Chew your meat for you / Pass it back and forth / In a passionate kiss / From my mouth to yours,” Kurt Cobain sings over the song with the most guitar overdubs on the album.

Visions of medical tubes, pupils, and infections dominate as Cobain describes himself draining his lover of life. The medical and bodily imagery was a precursor to themes he would explore more in-depth on the follow-up record, In Utero.

6. ‘Closer,’ Nine Inch Nails

Atticus Ross, Trent Reznor, and Robin Finck of Nine Inch Nails perform in Los Angeles. | Christopher Polk/Getty Images for FYF

This ‘90s alternative-industrial anthem became a big hit despite the incredibly dark, sexual, and profane lyrics that see Trent Reznor trying to use sex as a way to escape self-hatred and obsession. Of course, the most famous line in the song’s chorus is “I wanna f*** you like an animal / I wanna feel you from the inside.” This is an incredibly disturbing song about self-destruction, but the shock value of that line has caused many to misinterpret it as a sex song.

The music video directed by Mark Romanek earned a ton of controversy and had to be heavily edited for television airplay just as the song did for radio airplay, but it’s now considered to be one of the greatest music videos of all time. Reznor commented in an interview featured on a DVD of Romanek’s work that he likes the song “Closer” even better in conjunction with the dark, twisted video.

7. ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’

Dean Martin, with Sammy Davis Junior and Frank Sinatra in 1961 | Express/Express/Getty Images

This song popularized by Dean Martin and having been covered by every singer of jazz standards and/or Christmas music definitely holds the title of the rapey-est Christmas song of all time. What’s supposed to be a cute duet about how when you’re with someone you’re really into, it’s so hard to pull yourself away and go home turns super creepy when the male singer pressures and pressures the woman to stay despite her protestations that she needs to go home now.

Everyone’s had that feeling, where you’re hanging out with someone you’re so into that it feels impossible to leave even though you know you need to go home and get back to your responsibilities, but this song definitely misses the mark in conveying that sentiment. At one point the female singer alleges that he’s put something in her drink while he responds “What’s the sense of hurting my pride” to her repeated “no, no, no”s. This song is not cute, Zooey Deschanel, why did you have to help revive it?

8. ‘Where the Wild Roses Grow,’ Nick Cave ft. Kylie Minogue

British musician Nick Cave | Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Working with pop star Kylie Minogue helped give gothic blues-rocker Nick Cave his biggest hit to date and gave Minogue more artistic credibility than she’d ever received. The song was written for the album Murder Ballads and so fittingly features two lovers going for a walk that ends in him killing her.

The male figure in the song describes how the woman is as beautiful as a rose, then takes her to go see the roses growing on the bank of the river, and then kills her with a rock to the head and plants a rose between her teeth. The song is influenced by traditional folk songs with similar narratives, like “Down in the Willow Garden.”

9. ‘Father Figure,’ George Michael

George Michael | Miguel Medina/AFP/GettyImages

You could probably guess what’s wrong with this song just from the title. Michael sings in the chorus “I will be your father figure / Put your tiny hand in mine / I will be your preacher teacher / Anything you have in mind.” Somehow it became a number one hit anyway.

10. ‘Wrong Way,’ Sublime

Cover art from Sublime’s self-titled album | MCA

This song is about a guy wanting to have sex with a 12-year-old prostitute. Not kidding. “Annie’s 12 years old, in two more she’ll be a whore / Nobody ever told her it’s the wrong way,” the song begins. The narrator of the song is half singing a sad love song for the poor, broken Annie and half disgustingly justifying his reprehensible actions based on his gender. Not romantic.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

Now that the people of Ask Reddit have pointed out how creepy these lyrics are, you’ll never be able to listen to their songs the same way again. Unsplash / Eric Nopanen

1. Delilah by Tom Jones

“He sees the shadow of his girlfriend having sex with another man. He later knocks on her door and she laughs at him, so he stabs her to death.” — 4737CarlinSir

2. Don’t Stand So Close by The Police

“Sting had this to say about it:

‘I wanted to write a song about sexuality in the classroom. I’d done teaching practice at secondary schools and been through the business of having 15-year-old girls fancying me – and me really fancying them! How I kept my hands off them I don’t know… Then there was my love for Lolita which I think is a brilliant novel. But I was looking for the key for eighteen months and suddenly there it was. That opened the gates and out it came: the teacher, the open page, the virgin, the rape in the car, getting the sack, Nabokov, all that.’” — PatheticPathologist

3. Semi-Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind

“Such a 90’s alternative staple. Hearing this song non-stop on the radio as a kid, you’d figure it would be a pretty harmless song. Found out later it was about a drug user’s descent into crystal meth and giving out ‘favors’ for a fix.” — bvill89

4. Little Talks by Monsters And Men

“Little Talks by Monsters And Men is about an elderly lady who recently lost her husband and is losing her mind while waiting to die so she can be with him again.” — kitjen

5. No Rain by Blind Melon

“The song is about crippling depression. The bass player who wrote it was asked what it was about and he said, ‘The song is about not being able to get out of bed and find excuses to face the day when you have really, in a way, nothing.’

‘At the time, Brad was dating a girl who was going through depression (she would sleep through sunny days and complain when it didn’t rain), and for a while he told himself that he was writing the song from her perspective. He later realized that he was also writing about it himself.’” — BringYourEhGame

6. Hands Clean by Alanis Morissette

“Alanis Morissette’s really catchy acoustic single “Hands Clean” is seemingly about statutory rape/being forced into a relationship with an adult producer when she was a young teen. It’s a creepfest filled with backhanded ‘compliments’ she received.” — loudbears

7. Mack The Knife

“Originally a German murder ballad from the Threepenny Opera (Die Moritat Von Mackie Messer), it was turned into an upbeat jazz song by singers in the 50s (Darin, Armstrong, etc.)

Still though, some lyrics are pretty dark, speaking about Macheath’s actions of robbery, murder, and referencing Macheath’s various love affairs during the opera. That being said, its no where near the original version (or most accurate English translation) in terms of the darkness of the lyrics.” — imbatmawn

8. The Show Must Go On by Queen

“I’m not sure if it’s really popular but The Show Must Go On by Queen is chilling. Freddie Mercury knows he’s dying and he writes this song about how he has to find the will to live.” — Jimmy422

9. The Way by Fastball

“Fastball – The Way. It’s about a real elderly couple that went missing.” — superherofive

10. I Put A Spell On You by Jay Hawkins

“Fun fact – He was so drunk when during the recording he didn’t actually remember doing it. ” — sveitthrone

11. Bullet by Hollywood Undead

“Hollywood Undead is awfully cheerful for a song about suicide.” — TomKiisk

12. Polly by Nirvana

“Polly was inspired by a newspaper article Kurt Cobain read in which a girl that was kidnapped tricked her kidnapper into thinking she actually liked him in order to escape. That’s why in the last two lines, the girl gets away.” — QuoProQuid

13. Mary Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty

“I can’t believe no one’s mentioned Mary Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty. Everyone just assumes it’s about marijuana, but it’s actually about a promiscuous wild child who ends up throwing herself off a balcony.” — Oafah

14. Tyler by The Toadies

“Tyler by The Toadies is about stalking and presumably raping a woman after breaking into her house and stealing a beer from her refrigerator. But the tune and the lyrics make it sound kinda fun.” — karma_carcharodon

15. Pumped Up Kicks by Foster The People

“Definitely Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People… so many people played that song into the ground without ever realizing that that catchy upbeat melody was about a mass shooter.” — thestes

16. Every Breath You Take by The Police

“Saw Sting in concert about 9 years ago in the States. He told the audience that he didn’t know why so many people had wanted that song (Every Breath You Take) for their wedding song… ‘It’s about stalking,’ he said.” — HumanBeingSilly

17. 99 Luftballons by Nena

“It’s about two countries who start a war, because 99 balloons get mistaken for an air attack.” — Pizza_Delivery_Dog

18. The Macarena

“That kid’s party song families love and sing and dance to? About a girl who cheats on her boyfriend whilst he’s off on duty:

‘Macarena has a boyfriend who’s called…

who’s called the last name Vitorino,

and while he was taking his oath as a conscript

she was giving it to two friends …Aaay!’” —

19. Copacabana by Barry Manilow

“What could be jauntier than a song about a carefree brazilian dancing girl? This:

‘Her name is Lola, she was a showgirl But that was thirty years ago, when they used to have a show Now it’s a disco, but not for Lola Still in dress she used to wear Faded feathers in her hair She sits there so refined, and drinks herself half-blind She lost her youth and she lost her Tony Now she’s lost her mind.’” — CourageOfOthers

20. Run for your Life by The Beatles

“Well I’d rather see you dead, little girl Than to be with another man You better keep your head, little girl Or I won’t know where I am

You better run for your life if you can, little girl Hide your head in the sand little girl Catch you with another man That’s the end ah little girl

Well I know that I’m a wicked guy And I was born with a jealous mind And I can’t spend my whole life Trying just to make you toe the line

You better run for your life if you can, little girl Hide your head in the sand little girl Catch you with another man That’s the end ah little girl

Let this be a sermon I mean everything I’ve said Baby, I’m determined And I’d rather see you dead

You better run for your life if you can, little girl Hide your head in the sand little girl Catch you with another man That’s the end ah little girl

I’d rather see you dead, little girl Than to be with another man You better keep your head, little girl Or you won’t know where I am

You better run for your life if you can, little girl Hide your head in the sand little girl Catch you with another man That’s the end ah little girl Nah nah nah Nah nah nah Nah nah nah Nah nah nah (fade out).” — Wilhelm_Amenbreak

21. Crash by Dave Matthews Band

“Crash by Dave Matthews Band is pretty obviously about a peeping Tom but most folks seem to miss that.

‘I watch you there through the window while I stare at you wearing nothing but you wear it so well.’” — SimpleManSC

22. Sonny Came Home by Shawn Colvin

“Popularized as a love song in the movie Jerry McGuire it’s actually a song about a woman snapping and burning her house down:

Sunny came home to her favorite room Sunny sat down in the kitchen She opened a book and a box of tools Sunny came home with a mission

She says, ‘Days go by, I’m hypnotized I’m walking on a wire I close my eyes and fly out of my mind Into the fire’

Sunny came home with a list of names She didn’t believe in transcendence And it’s time for a few small repairs, she said Sunny came home with a vengeance

She says, ‘Days go by, I don’t know why I’m walking on a wire I close my eyes and fly out of my mind Into the fire’

Get the kids and bring a sweater Dry is good and wind is better Count the years, you always knew it Strike a match, go on and do it

Oh, days go by, I’m hypnotized I’m walking on a wire I close my eyes and fly out of my mind Into the fire

Oh, light the sky and hold on tight The world is burning down She’s out there on her own, and she’s all right Sunny came home

P.S.my aunt Julie Speed painted the artwork used as the album cover that this song is on.” — Zebrog

23. Fancy by Reba McIntyre

“It took me 15yrs (first heard it when I was about 10) to realize what she meant by ‘just be nice to the gentlemen Fancy, and they’ll be nice to you.’

I grew up thinking her mom sent her to a nice ball (like Cinderella) and she met a rich man and lived ‘happily ever after.’ Oh the ignorance of youth.” — Kacke0525

24. Minnie the Moocher by Cab Calloway

“My GF said I ruined ‘Minnie the Moocher’ for her by pointing out the lyrics.

It’s usually played in an upbeat jazzy style and the playful call-and-respond scat lines makes it popular for children’s groups such as school classes or boyscouts etc.

The lyrics however are a little more gloomy. Minnie is basically a lower class girl who gets mixed up with a bad boyfriend with a coke addiction because she is not financially independent(moocher) which she solves with her sexuality (hoochie coocher) and partially because she’s a bit too naive and forgiving(heart as big as a whale). He takes her to an opium den and in the haze of the drug she fantasizes escaping her miserable situation by being handed wealth by the king of Sweden. ‘Poor Minnie’ being repeated at the end leaves you with no doubt this is not a happy drug story.” — bjornartl

25. Slide by The Goo Goo Dolls

“‘Don’t you love the life you killed? The priest is on the phone. Your father hit the wall. Your ma disowned you.’ Definitely about abortion. More dark than creepy, but still.” — grallen0