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The worst rhyming cliches in songwriting....

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(@mstrymn)
Active Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 9
 

rhyming is definately not required in a song, when it works out that way its great, but otherwise, dont worry about it. make the content work, then make rhythms/timing work. don't worry about rhymes.


   
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(@saryu)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 49
 

Rhymeing words can make a song be remembered better i guess. I 'm just discovering writing songs myself and its the first thing i tried to do. Sometimes you can use words that almost rhyme or sounds similar instead of an exact rhyme

I agree, the rhyme doesn't have to be perfect. Singing is quite versatile and can turn very loose assonances into rhymes. It is still good to have the rhymes there though. The human brain is an excellent pattern-matching machine, and by having rhyming lyrics with a constant meter you are creating a nice big obvious pattern, which is pleasing to the brain. Conversely, if your lyrics wander here and there, with no obvious pattern, it creates more work for the brain and thus may not be as popular.

Disclaimer: This is just my opinion based on my observations. It isn't a rule, just a generalisation (and as we know, all generalisations are incorrect :lol: ), so there are bound to be exceptions.

Speaking of cliched lyrics: I'm a Bon Jovi fan and I've noticed that they fall back on old cliches quite a bit....interestingly enough, the cliches seem to show up a lot in their most popular songs. So I guess using cliches can be a good thing if it's done well. I've lost count of the amount of times I've heard "die", "lie" and "cry" in a Bon Jovi song lol.


   
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(@margaret)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1675
 

This is an interesting thread.

However, I'm going to stick my neck out and say I wish a mod would move it to Opinions and Polls.

Everything I've seen on the GN Songwriting Club forum is encouraging and nurturing, even when there is constructive criticism offered. It seems to be a cradle for even timid, first-time songwriters to try their wings in a safe place.

This thread, however, seems to invite us to say what NOT to do, and even if we add, "all rules are made to be broken", or "of course, this is a generalization", the negatives can still stick in one's mind and be a DIS-couragement rather than an EN-couragement.

It's like the outdated fashion rules of never wearing white shoes before Memorial Day or after Labor Day, or not mixing gold jewelry with silver. We know that it is ridiculous and meaningless, yet there is that niggling voice in the head that can inhibit free expression of individuality and creativity.

JMHO.

Margaret

When my mind is free, you know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue, the guitar's comin' through to soothe me ~


   
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(@zaiga)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 64
 

This is an interesting thread.

However, I'm going to stick my neck out and say I wish a mod would move it to Opinions and Polls.

Everything I've seen on the GN Songwriting Club forum is encouraging and nurturing, even when there is constructive criticism offered. It seems to be a cradle for even timid, first-time songwriters to try their wings in a safe place.

This thread, however, seems to invite us to say what NOT to do, and even if we add, "all rules are made to be broken", or "of course, this is a generalization", the negatives can still stick in one's mind and be a DIS-couragement rather than an EN-couragement.

I completely disagree with this. Of course, this is just my opinion, but I find this one of the few worthwhile threads in this forum, together with the "why does everyone write about loneliness and despair" thread. Why? Because there's actually discussion going on in these two threads.

I think it's great that people post their lyrics in this forum, but how worthwhile is it that then only two or three people respond with little more than "nice", "great", etc. People don't become better lyric writers through such comments. When I post lyrics I want to be able to hear what is good about it, but also what could be improved. Especially what could be improved, because this will make me a better lyric writer.

I agree that negativity isn't a good thing, but a good constructive criticism is. Yes, this thread focuses on what not to do, but that is very much part of the game as what to do. If we move threads like this away from this forum, and there's no room for the more critical comments, then we'll be left with a very weak and lifeless songwriting forum, which I'm personally not very much interested in.


   
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(@tiger-jam)
Eminent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 21
 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with rhymes or cliches. Its a matter of how you use them. They can be crutches or they can be tools for inviting the listener into the lyric with a sense of the familiar.

Cliches can be great tools, when you take a familar cliche and twist it. For example, here are two cliches which mix cliches to create a slightly different meaning than the original cliches:
(1) "I'm a seventh son of a rolling stone"
(2) "sleight of glad hand"
I'm sure there are more effective examples that escape me at the moment, but the idea is a cliche can be used to draw the listener in with the comfort of the familiar, and then pull the rug out with an alteration. The tension between the familiar and the unexpected creates interest and provokes thought.

Rhyming gets a bad rap because of the sing-songy couplet pattern (AA BB CC) and ballad pattern (ABAB) which are relatively easy (and can fall into the nursery rhyme trap). But that is by far not all their is to rhyme. A song is a rhythmic form of expression and rhymes are fabulous ryhthmic tools. But no one wants to listen to something that is not interesting. Consider different ryhme patterns.
A sonnet for example can be done in ABCDABCD ABABCC. What is mundane about that?
Or AABCCB (where the A and C lines have half the meter-length of the B lines)

Unusual rhyme patterns can be challenging to pull off, yet in the end they can be quite rewarding not only to the listener, but to the writer. An earlier poster criticised rhyme schemes on grounds that the writer might change the meaning of the song in order to fit the form. But I say that can be a great thing, when the writer approaches the task seriously and not half-heartedly, because often the first words that come to mind are not the best anyway. Close, maybe, but could use improvement. The challenge of fiting a lyric to a rhyme structure can force the writer to struggle with every word, and in the process the writer may (and often does) develop nuance, or double entendre, or allusion which actually adds new layers to and deepens the meaning of the song.


   
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(@dneck)
Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 630
 

I completely disagree with this. Of course, this is just my opinion, but I find this one of the few worthwhile threads in this forum, together with the "why does everyone write about loneliness and despair" thread.

I agree that it is good to discuss things, but I also think that both threads send a message that there are themes and words you should avoid because "its been done". Writers write about life, if you've never lived through some sort of lonliness and despair your a lucky man. I think they are very simplistic views on songwriting. They both begin with the premise that its somehow cheating or copying to do these things that have already been done, AND that when you use these clishes you ruin your song. This is the wrong frame of reference, a song itself can be cliche and badly written but there are only so many words that rhyme in the english language.

They don't get mad at painters for making the sky blue in a picture, even though you could use any color really depending on what your going for.
And they actually sell a rhyming dictionary out there in the market...talk about that

Of course they do, its a tool. It convienently arranges the words that rhyme so you don't have to. All those words are in dictionaries and thesauruses, if for some reason youd like to compile a list yourself you can but the thing is, it would turn out the same, its not cheating to know the language.

"And above all, respond to all questions regarding a given song's tonal orientation in the following manner: Hell, it don't matter just kick it off!"
-Chris Thile


   
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(@surly)
Trusted Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 60
Topic starter  

i suppose i should add my two cents considering i started the two posts in question:

I wrote them because i didnt really agree with 'everything is right' attitude that seems to be so popular. It was as if we were all saying, 'when it comes to songwriting, there really is no wrong way to do it' Which I think is wrong. Its a bad way to write and its a bad way to encourage better writing.

If you think writing is simply about venting your feelings then I suppose you can go about that however you wish. It may be true that with this attitude to songwriting everything may actually be right. So long as you feel better after having written your song then the song has served its purpose.

I think good songwriting is more than this. You need to make other people think, feel or see things the way you do. But simply telling people what you think or how you feel doesnt make them feel it with you. However so many songs attack the listener with cliches and hyperbole. Using more floral expressions of love or lamenting darker and deeper pits of despair isnt a good way to make listeners feel how you feel.

Someone said that songwriting tends to move to the extremes of human emotion ie: love, despair, loneliness, joy etc but very few good songs are simply the description or expression of a single strong emotion. Good songwriters explore the subtle aspects between emotions and personal relationships. Usually by telling stories and using characters and interactions between people and places.

Soapboxing your own emotions rarely makes for a good song.


   
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(@dneck)
Prominent Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 630
 

If use ANY rhyme you can be sure that somewhere sometime somebody has rhymed those two words together. If you sang in french then rhyming would be totally different. Some languages don't rhyme at all.

I think you could write two different songs with all of the rhyming words the same.

"And above all, respond to all questions regarding a given song's tonal orientation in the following manner: Hell, it don't matter just kick it off!"
-Chris Thile


   
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(@margaret)
Noble Member
Joined: 18 years ago
Posts: 1675
 

dneck wrote: I think you could write two different songs with all of the rhyming words the same

Sounds like an idea for the Sunday Songwriter's assignment. :idea: Everyone starts with the same list of rhyming pairs (or even "sets" of rhymes from which to select), and then see how differently everyone works them into lyrics.

Margaret

When my mind is free, you know a melody can move me
And when I'm feelin' blue, the guitar's comin' through to soothe me ~


   
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(@barnabus-rox)
Famed Member
Joined: 19 years ago
Posts: 2957
 

Since so many members took part in this thread on songwritting I am very interested in seeing how many will take up the Sunday Song Writters forum next week and write a song .

Since so many members had so many opinions on this suject now lets hit SSG next week and follow the assignment and write a song , using your beliefs that were posted here .

I'm guessing the regular crowd will be there but how many from this thread will have a go ?

I 'll be writting no doubt will you ?

Hilch

Here is to you as good as you are
And here is to me as bad as I am
As good as you are and as bad as I am
I'm as good as you are as bad as I am


   
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