Songwriting – How to Keep Your Lyrics Conversational So People Will Listen

 Songwriting – How to Keep Your Lyrics Conversational So People Will Listen

 

Lyrics usually work best when they sound natural and conversational. Songwriters tend to twist and tweak the lines in their lyrics in a lot of different ways to get Harry Styles – As It Was Lyrics  them to fit into their songs. That results in lyrics that don’t sound natural when we hear them in our melodies.

One way we force lyrics to sound unnatural is by inverting our lines. Sometimes we do that in order to get the line to rhyme how we want. Other times, it’s to get a melody to fit our words. Whatever the reason, inversions happen when you contort a sentence into doing what you want, but usually the result is a phrase that sounds unnatural.

Let’s look at an example of this happening. These two lines are from the song “Payphone” by Maroon 5:

I’m at a payphone trying to call home

All of my change I spent on you

The second line is inverted. “All of my change I spent on you” isn’t how we’d normally say that phrase. However, in this case it appears it was used because Maroon 5 needed that line to be a certain length to fit their melody. Check out the melody at the very beginning of the song.

You can hear that the line “all of my change I spent on you” was inverted to fit into the melody, but it was at the cost of having that lyric sound unnatural. It would sound much more conversational to say “I spent all my change on you,” but that would have created a shorter line, which wouldn’t fit into the melody they came up with. Try singing “I spent all my change on you” to the current melody. It doesn’t quite work does it? So they sacrificed the lyric. I don’t advise doing that.

While we’re on the topic of this song and unnatural sounding lyrics, let’s take a look at another aspect of the song, which isn’t quite hitting our ears right.

The first two lines of the song read like this, lyrically:

I’m at a payphone trying to call home

All of this change I spent on you

We already talked about the issue in the second line,

 

 

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