The Highs and Lows of Writing Lyrics

Though the above picture is somewhat skewing in it’s portrayal of current lyrics, it’s also partially right on point. Lyrics, in the early part of this millennium (in the pop music hemisphere) have officially hit an all time low for creativity and meaning.

For me, lyrics make up 80% of a song’s appeal. Anyone can write a sweet guitar lick that can be appreciated by anybody..I did it the other day my first time touching a guitar. It’s a lot harder to fit actual words with meaning into an ordered phrase that can then easily emanate throughout society. But I feel like a lot of people stopped trying!

I myself write lyrics, and I take a lot of time with them. Lyrics are the most important thing a band or artist can focus on, besides the live re-production of them. Don’t just use cliches or feel good phrases..take more than 2 minutes to think about your next line before you actually write it down. Try to create new dimensions, new thoughts, and new pictures within people’s minds when you write your lyrics. Visualize what you want to portray and sculpt it with the words. At least paint a scene with some depth to it. If you were to paint the picture of “G6” above, it’d look exactly like every other club pop hit out in the last decade…I’m getting pretty tired of that shit, how bout you?

What happened to lyrics like Imagine by John Lennon, or Changes by Tupac? The song doesn’t have to be weak or lame because the lyrics are good, or because they’re not talking about popping bottles or “making it rain.” Trust me, even though the mainstream might be pumping that shit heavily right now, that shit is wack, and it will be dead soon enough.

Another big factor that will contribute to the downfall of horrible music, most commonly heard on “the radio,” will be the downfall of major record labels. Labels, the ones with the monetary keys to the major studios – have long had their hand in deciding which music comes out, and essentially, which words get said. If a label doesn’t like a song an artist did for their album, they can deny it and demand another song be cut. Obviously you can see the trend the labels have been following over the last decade, basically only letting music through that meets the same criteria over and over again. They seem to want to reinforce a certain – party – anesthetized – ignorant to the real world – kind of mental portrayal in the songs they put out, and quite frankly, it’s got a lot of people pissed off.

I think that this will go away once we see a retreat in the major label stronghold over mass distribution and marketing, which is going on now. The web continues to push the envelope of what’s now possible, and independent artists, free of this way of thinking, will establish a new standard, using a new platform (the web), that will actually allow these artists to take things farther than the Labels and the previous model would even allow. This is happening as I speak. Power is shifting back into the artist’s hands, and with that power, will eventually come the major studios.

This all makes me think about a post I wrote a while back called The REAL Difference Between Rap and Hip Hop – The REAL difference, is really, all about the REAL.

My view of the situation:

If you’re a lyric writer, please, stay real. If you want to hear what some real lyrics sound like, check out my man Emmanuel Jackson ripping up this verse. This is why I say a lot of mainstream writers are in trouble. Lyrics that are dope and mean something will kill every time. You just can’t fck with this shit:

Written by: Dante Cullari  Founder & CEO Beat-Play, LLC

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