1.1 Why Write Lyrics?

My poetry professor stood before the class. “If you have something to say,” she announced, “you should be a speechwriter, not a poet.” Slouching like a cool kid in the back of the room, I raised my hand. “You’re wrong,” I said.*

I think one of the best ways you can make a point is through poetry. And song lyrics are poetry at its most powerful. If you want to say something that will have an impact, there’s no better way to do it than through song lyrics.

However, you don’t have to be saying something with your lyrics. You may just be talking about what a great day it is, or how miserable you feel. Or, in some cases, you may just be playing with words.

Playing with words is okay for a lyricist, just like playing with colors and lines is okay for a painter. It’s possible to create a beautiful abstract painting, right? Well, then, it’s also possible to create a beautiful set of lyrics that are utter nonsense. Hey, if it’s okay for instrumental music not to be saying anything — not to make any sense — why not vocal music?

Let’s talk in the next few posts about the various reasons for writing lyrics.



*Most of this first paragraph is a complete and utter lie. Also, my poetry prof was awesome, even if I disagreed with her about this.

Featured image by Maria Carrasco.

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