Have you noticed how there are some songs that don’t sound that great at first, but later on, you can’t get them out of your head? On the other hand, there are songs that you fall in love from the first moment you hear them. Both these types of songs will remain logged in the listener’s brain for a maddening period of time.
These are the songs that all songwriters try to write. Yes, even the first kind. In fact, there isn’t a single song written in our world that has had the same effect on all.
Why is this?
Different kinds of music influence people in different way. We all have our preferences. So, your goal as a songwriter is to create a song that’d be labeled an ‘earworm’. It will be a song some people will fall in love with. It will also be a song that other people might not like at first based on their music preference, but will still remain embedded into their memory.
Now, prep yourself for a very short, yet very fun way to create such a song. Here are the five tips I believe are crucial in writing catchy lyrics for a song.
1. The Seed and the Form
The seed of a song is the idea behind it, the essence of the song itself. Before you move onto writing the lyrics and the chorus, even the title, you need to decide what the idea of the song will be. Will it be a romantic song? Will it be a happy song? Or, will it demonstrate the pain inside you, trying to connect with those who feel such pain, too?
It’s what makes you sit down to write a song in the first place. You already have the feelings ready and some idea of what the song will do. That’s the seed and to me, it’s the simplest part.
When you’re certain of what it will be, it’s time to make the road map for your song. This is the form of the song, the musical structure. It comprises of different sections that may repeat or may not. Generally speaking, the basic song structure consists of an intro, verses, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, and outro.
2. The Verse
Next, it is time to move onto the thing that people will keep singing after they hear your song – the verse. Think of the verse as an introductory paragraph for your school essay. You might even want to look at some quality free essay examples for inspiration.
The verse is the point where you start sharing your story through the song. It’s the point where you reveal those involved in the song. Since it is the first thing the listener will hear, it must be impressive and compelling. But, most of all, it has to capture the attention. Otherwise, they’ll just change the song or the channel – and your chances to impress are gone.
3. The Pre-Chorus and the Chorus
The chorus is what comes next in a song, but did you know that there’s something between the verse and it? Yes, there’s a pre-chorus in songwriting. This is something like the transition sections you use in essay writing. It’s something that creates a sense of anticipation and tension before the chorus begins.
Not every song has a pre-chorus, but you should definitely know that most of the catchy ones do. That must mean something, right?
4. Bridge and Contrast
Next, we move onto the next section – the bridge. This is the thing that creates somewhat of a contrast between verses and chorus. It can portray an emotion or a revelation that somehow differs from the song.
Just think of ‘Senorita’ by Justin Timberlake. Throughout this song, the singer sings about a girl whose boyfriend mistreats her. When the bridge comes, he offers a solution – for her to be with him instead.
Naturally, your song needs more than just ideas spread around. It needs contrast between the sections. If your lyrics have the same length or the same rhyme scheme, it will never be a catchy song.
5. The Schemes
Speaking of rhyme schemes, the final thing you must have in your song are patterns. These are what help the attention of the listener. When it comes to schemes, it’s all about rhymes.
A rhyme scheme will help you determine which lyrics lines rhyme. They use points like the beginnings and endings of lyrics to determine these. Moreover, schemes use letters to find the rhyming patterns in a song. The most common schemes known in modern music are AABB and ABAB.
The impression a song leaves depends greatly on the lyrics. This is why it is important to dig into the structures of lyrics to figure out how a catchy song is made. Learn by practice and by example – and try the tips above.
Emma Rundle is a songwriter from Los Angeles. She’s also a singer, but her main specialty is lyrics creation. Thanks to her great writing skills, Rundle is also known for her great stories, poetry, and blogs that help other musicians.