Anyone up for lyrics bashing? (with quick audio demo)

Anyone up for lyrics bashing? (with quick audio demo)
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#1

Hey people,

I don’t usually write songs, let alone lyrics, but I have this song almost ready to record (melody and chords) for which I just need to do arrangements and polish the lyrics. English isn’t my native language so I could use some help with things that sound awkward, or just not beautiful. The song is about a social misfit who expresses what he feels to his/her lover. I don’t like the second chorus line, so any suggestions there specifically are appreciated.

edit: I recorded a very quick demo so you get an idea of the melody, just one verse and one chorus. https://soundcloud.com/jean-marc-boulier/misfit/s-YQgVT

Verse 1
What do you want to know
What else is left to say
The words refuse to flow
I’d like you to meet me halfway
I feel so numb and weary
It’s the same old scheme recurring over and over again
Please let me out

Verse 2
If I spoke the truth about me
If I dared to say it out loud
Would you listen with empathy
Would you care just like you vowed?
I feel so numb and weary
It’s the same old scheme recurring over and over again
Please let me out

Chorus 1
Hiding in my lonely place I’ve been staying clear
Of strangers and their normalcy ‘cause I just can’t take any more fear

Verse 3
I wish you’d want to know
I can tell you think it’s whimsy
There’s no way I’m speaking now
Let’s just say that I’ve been clumsy
I feel so numb and weary
It’s the same old scheme recurring over and over again
Please let me out

Bridge
I want out, I want out

Chorus 2+3
Hiding in my lonely place I’ve been staying clear
Of strangers and their normalcy ‘cause I just can’t take any more fear
Excuse me while I take this call, the truth is I need space
All I want is isolation I’m sorry to be such a disgrace

Outro
If I spoke the truth about me
If I dared to say it out loud
Would you listen with empathy
Would you care just like you vowed?


#2

Hi Lophophora, this looks promising, you have some good things here.

Lyrics can take many forms obviously, so you the writer define that and we the listeners either accept it or we don’t. When I first read your chorus lyric I thought "No, theat’s too awkward and ‘wordy’, " but after I heard you sing it in context with the rest of the song I think it can work, but this is a difficult song to sing and right now you have a ways to go to make the whole thing sound good.

If it were me I would simplify that second chorus line, maybe:

“Of strangers and their normalcy, I can’t take any more fear”


#3

Hi there,
this song has a really cool feeling underlying it… nice to be able to hear the soundcloud take to get it in context. There are a couple of ‘English’ bits that did feel a little not-quite-right to me.

I wasn’t sure about ‘normalcy’ as it is not usually used quite like that but when you sang it it sounded fine… ‘normality’ could be a possible substitute…

‘disgrace’ felt a little ‘old fashioned’ in that context although it does rhyme nicely with space… Two lines that did really catch my ear are

While someone can listen with empathy, it is not usually something that you would say quite like that… it feels just a little too scholarly… rather than ‘would you listen with kindness’ or some such thing… and the second line just doesn’t really work for me… I think also because ‘vowed’ is an old fashioned concept and not usually used… rather than something like ‘promised’…

But you have such a gorgeous accent you will be able to get away with these words, I am just lyric bashing as you asked :wink:


#4

Very thoughtful lyrics, it has some potential for healing wounds I think. I don’t have any thoughts on changing anything at the moment.

I was going to ask what the heck does Lophophora mean, have been wondering for awhile. My buddy Google says:
“Lophophora is a genus of spineless, button-like cacti”
Looks like peyote to me. :sunglasses:


#5

Are we speaking from experience here?


#6

Thanks to you @ingolee @Emma and @Stan_Halen!

The second chorus line definitely bugs me. Although I wanted to express this idea of being out of phase with normality I can’t think of a subtle and nice way to word it. I think I’m going to write an altogether different sentence: it’s the chorus after all, so it has to sound good.

Emma I have carefully noted your feedback and will work on that. About “vowed”, what I wanted to imply is that the narrator speaks to his wife (I was thinking “wedding vows”).

And yes my nickname has been inspired by this particular cactus flower :wink:


#7

Ha, yes. :crazy_face: I tried it once, a l-o-n-g time ago. I didn’t eat enough to make me heave (which is pretty normal with a larger quantity), just had kind of a nice trippy buzz for awhile. :sunglasses:

The lyrics seem to really describe the experience of a sensitive introvert quite well. The challenge with writing lyrics (a story) and then singing them can be challenging, in terms of getting it to roll out smoothly and have the impact you want.

If I might make a suggestion, the lyrics describe a “dark night of the soul” type contemplation (IMO) - a somewhat heavy and serious topic, but certainly not depressing. And then the music sounds rather happy and cheerful. It seems like it could use some more melancholy parts in there, maybe a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, a bit darker vibe for the parts about struggling to fit in and then a happier vibe at the end or something. Kind of resolution for the story. However, the lyrics kind of leave a cliff-hanger ending it seems. We don’t know how it actually resolves. That’s okay, some movies do that … which can frustrate the audience, but it depends on what you’re trying to achieve with the song. Leaving the resolution open-ended might prompt some to explore the topic further on their own. I just thought I’d point that out so you can consciously see where you’re going with it.

Cool! :slightly_smiling_face:


#8

Haven’t tried peyote myself, but I have always been fascinated by psychotropics, especially those that are natural/organic.

You have said exactly what I think about this song, I’m glad you got it so accurately, it means that the message has been conveyed.

The challenge is indeed to make it sound good, now.

About the ending, yes I want it to be a cliff-hanger. The outro is on the verse chords, but the way I see it, everything but acoustic guitar and vocals stop playing, tempo slows down a little and the guitar goes from upbeat strumming to quiet arpeggios.


#9

Reconsidering my previous statement, having the music sound fairly happy and upbeat through much of the song could be an effective counterpoint to the lyrics. Obviously there is no right or wrong with those types of choices, but what you want it to be and intend for the listener to experience. The actual singing of the lyrics though, could reflect the concerns of what the lyrics talk about in regard to expressing the emotions. Kind of going hand-in-hand as it were, the voice conveying the emotion of the particular words or phrases. These can sometimes be very subtle things, just some food for thought.


#10

There definitely is a contrast between the rather upbeat music and the serious lyrics. It is not something I originally intended, just turned out this way. Whether I am going to be able to utilize this to my advantage is another story though! :sweat_smile:

Thank you for your interest!


#11

One thing you might try, but only if you want to, is to think about words you could use in place of the word “I’ or “I’d” in a number of places. Sometimes this brings the listener in a little more by not focusing the song on one particular person.
For instance, in the first verse “I’d like you to meet me halfway” could become “Can’t you meet me halfway”, which changes the cadence and possibly the meaning just a touch. “I feel so numb and weary” could be “You make me feel so numb and weary”. Kind of drives the point home in a different way.
Just kind of a different way of expressing the meaning without it becoming so " You and I” focused.
Same with the chorus: " I’ve been staying clear" becomes “always staying clear” then maybe “Cuz strangers and their normalcy play upon my fear”, or something to that effect.
I personally get self conscious when I use "I’ a lot in a song, mostly because I want the song to be applicable to as many people as possible, if that makes any sense.


#12

“I” agree. :slightly_smiling_face: It is something I noticed in my early songwriting, since it was getting in touch with my own feelings and writing about them. I noticed at some point that it seemed awkward and “all about me”. I can’t even write this to you without saying “I” a lot. :smirk: Maybe a cultural thing. I believe there was a songwriting guru that said something similar when talking about songwriting guidelines. That said, I think I have heard at least a few very popular songs that used “I” at the center of the lyrics and it actually worked. I think it can work very well sometimes, but perhaps only in certain circumstances.


#13

Me, myself and I agree too :wink: That sound like wise advice. Well now I don’t feel like re-writing everything to avoid this but I’ll definitely try to at least remove some of the Is.


#14

I quite like that contrast. King of happy songs with depressing lyrics must be Eels, or mister E. He is definitely one of my favourites!


#15

Well I haven’t been able to take away much of this “I-me-myself” feel but I made quite a few changes. Does it sound better to your native ears?

Verse 1
What do you want to know
What else is left to say
When the words refuse to flow
Can’t you meet me halfway
Makes me feel numb and weary, it’s the same old movie playing over and over again
Please let me out

Verse 2
Shall I speak the truth about me
Shall I dare say it out loud
Will you tune in or disagree
Will you keep me from the crowd
Makes me feel numb and weary, it’s the same old story repeating over and over again
Please let me out

Chorus 1
Hiding in my secret place I’ve been staying clear
Of the madding crowd cause I just can’t take any more of this fear

Verse 3
If only you’d want to know
I can tell you think it’s whimsy
There’s no way I’m speaking now
Let’s just say that I’ve been clumsy
Makes me feel numb and weary, it’s the same old movie playing over and over again
Please let me out

Bridge
I want out, I want out

Chorus 2+3
Hiding in my lonely place I’ve been staying clear
Of the madding crowd cause I just can’t take any more of this fear

Excuse me while I take this call, the truth is I need space
All I want is isolation I’m sorry to be such a disgrace

Outro
If I spoke the truth about me
If I dared say it out loud
Will you tune in or disagree
Will you keep me from the crowd


#16

@Lophophora it sounds good to my native ears. Honestly it’s a lot more literate than the majority of lyrics that I’ve heard in pop music in general and I think that’s an asset.

But the real test of course is to sing it convincingly which becomes more difficult when you have lyrics that are more complex. I would say as you put this to music don’t be afraid to cut some corners or make changes to help it flow.

I look forward to hearing the final version!


#17

Just wanted to chime in and say I listened to the sample again, and I wanted to compliment you on the chord progression. Some very nice changes to work with. I agree with ingolee that singing it convincingly will be very important. After hearing it again, I think you should work on how you are going to sing it, since the lyrics are going to need to be sculpted so they flow like the chords. The rewrite is improved, now you just have to put the puzzle together.


#18

Thanks, I appreciate your feedback. I have started recording the rhythm section this week. I might call on you guys again once the music is done, I think the melody is OK but the prosody might not flow like it should, in terms of word splitting/stressing.


#19

Yes, writing lyrics is tricky… I haven’t written much that I am happy with.
I write for a living, but that’s a different style, obviously.

I reckon we’d need a “slider” that goes from impressionistic and psychotropic - to logical and clean.
The writing I do on a daily basis is the latter.
And with your lyric, I think you could nudge the slider at bit further to the left. It’s as if you’re still in logical story-telling mode…
The meaning of a song isn’t mainly conveyed by logic… but by the images and the emotions…
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…

S


#20

Hi No help here. It sounded a little America with the guitars:) Like the lyrics except for normalcy or whatever that was. ha ha Seems like this story could be better served with a whole different background. Like to hear more minor chords for a sad feeling. Just a couple thoughts. Oh I forgot this was about lyrics. Good luck