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#536524 - 05/13/19 06:34 AM [Songwriting] Attracts Me Like A Cauliflower
Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 511
Loc: Virginia
Belladonna Offline
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Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 511
Loc: Virginia
Hey guys sorry I haven't had much time as of late to be on the forum or comment on songs. Finished my busy tax season and now committed to a solo art show in July where I need 20 paintings, so I'm busy painting away. Hope to get back to music in the late summer. I saw this post on another site this morning and thought it was interesting to lyricists out there. Just wanted to share and see what others might do when stuck on a line?

One bad line of lyric can make an entire verse or chorus sound lame. So what do you do when you’ve got a verse that you really like, except that there’s that one line that just seems to be elusive: you just can’t come up with anything.

It might be that the line in question is glaringly bad, or it might be that you’ve got this blank spot, where the line (whether good or bad) just isn’t happening.

George Harrison struggled to find a completion to “Something in the way she moves/ Attracts me like ____”

John Lennon’s advice is really great: “Just say whatever comes into your head each time: ‘Attracts me like a cauliflower’, until you get the word.”

Improvising until the word happens is great advice. But there are other ways to tackle the problem: write a short paragraph, or even just a sentence, to summarize what you’re trying to say.

Let’s say you’ve got “Though I fall in love with you each day/ __________” what do you do when you can’t complete the thought? Write a sentence or paragraph that expresses what you hope your eventual line of lyric will express:

“I always live in fear that you don’t feel the same way that I do, and you’ll eventually reject our love.”

So at least now you’ve got the basic sentiment of what you’re trying to say, and you’re not just floundering about with no direction at all. And you’ve got more than that: you’ve also got a basic rhythmic pulse, which should match that first line. Now you test out some random ideas:

“I fear the words you’re going to say”
“I fear the consequences, come what may”
“I’m scared to think of what you might say”
“I wish I knew that we’re OK”
…and so on. Just keep coming up with new lines. You can do this as part of an improvisatory process, as Lennon suggests, but you may have luck speeding things up by writing a sentence or two before improvising.

Before long, you’ll stumble on a word combination that works and adds meaning to your lyric.

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#536530 - 05/13/19 06:51 AM [Songwriting] Re: Attracts Me Like A Cauliflower [Re: Belladonna]
Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 5086
Loc: South Carolina
Charlie Fogle Online   content
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Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 5086
Loc: South Carolina
Good advice. I also look at lists, guides and signs and many other avenues for quips, quotes and phrases.

I was having trouble with a line and had the rest of my song "My Sad Story" finished. Setting in Church listening to the sermon and the preacher uttered, "living and dying by.. " and out of nowhere, that phrase was quickly modified and merged into my lyrics perfectly binding my lyrics together.


I think it's as much to staying alert to your surroundings for possibilities to quips, quotes and phrases as anything.
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#536551 - 05/13/19 08:26 AM [Songwriting] Re: Attracts Me Like A Cauliflower [Re: Belladonna]
Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 511
Loc: Virginia
Belladonna Offline
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Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 511
Loc: Virginia
Charlie, you are spot on. Yes, I try to carry a little notebook in my purse for gems I hear. My husband is particularly clever and funny and comes up with some good lines. In addition, I look for good advertisements, titles, you can even google phrases and quotes. Lots of material if you look. I'll be glad when I can do some music again, missing you all.

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#536566 - 05/13/19 10:51 AM [Songwriting] Re: Attracts Me Like A Cauliflower [Re: Belladonna]
Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 6450
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 6450
Yep... and this is often where having a good co-writer comes in handy....and why.

We tend to get very narrow sighted and exclude so many options from our minds.... it is usually a subconscious thing... we get stuck in the proverbial rut and can't for the life of us, think of anything else.....

A co-writer has a totally different perspective on the song. They don't see it, or approach it like we do and are thus able to see other viable lines and rhymes that we totally miss.
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#536622 - 05/14/19 04:17 AM [Songwriting] Re: Attracts Me Like A Cauliflower [Re: Belladonna]
Registered: 08/21/18
Posts: 646
Tangmo Online   content
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Registered: 08/21/18
Posts: 646
When I used to write lyrics for other people's backings, I got to the point I wouldn't do it unless they named the "file" something other than something like "acoustic progression # 7". If they couldn't come up with simple phrase that came to mind on writing or hearing the piece, they couldn't expect me to. But just that phrase or title from their perspective was often enough to jar a complete lyric out of me.

BTW: Look for my new song, "Attract Me Like a Cauliflower" coming to a showcase near you.

Maybe.


Edited by Tangmo (05/14/19 04:19 AM)
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#536636 - 05/14/19 06:49 AM [Songwriting] Re: Attracts Me Like A Cauliflower [Re: Belladonna]
Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 511
Loc: Virginia
Belladonna Offline
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Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 511
Loc: Virginia
Guitarhacker, as they say "Two Heads are better than one". That is if they know what they are doing?

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#536640 - 05/14/19 07:04 AM [Songwriting] Re: Attracts Me Like A Cauliflower [Re: Belladonna]
Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 511
Loc: Virginia
Belladonna Offline
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Registered: 09/09/17
Posts: 511
Loc: Virginia
Tangmo, totally agree. Let's don't be boring such as here's Sonata #23. I like improvising a word that's a little unique in some cases as it stimulates the brain, more so than just "You're back again so soon?" or "Seem to be having a flashback?" (which is what you're meaning). Or "Stuck in a revolving door." Ha! Ha!

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#536717 - 05/14/19 03:50 PM [Songwriting] Re: Attracts Me Like A Cauliflower [Re: Belladonna]
Registered: 01/18/16
Posts: 1572
Joe -PG Music Offline
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Registered: 01/18/16
Posts: 1572
That is fantastic advice Belladonna! Really intriguing process. Thanks for sharing!
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#536736 - 05/14/19 05:20 PM [Songwriting] Re: Attracts Me Like A Cauliflower [Re: Belladonna]
Registered: 06/19/17
Posts: 1786
Loc: Victoria, BC
Ember - PG Music Offline
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Registered: 06/19/17
Posts: 1786
Loc: Victoria, BC
I feel like that explains a lot of what the Beatles did with their songs in general. That method makes a lot of sense when I look back at some of their lyrical choices.
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#536802 - 05/15/19 09:21 AM [Songwriting] Re: Attracts Me Like A Cauliflower [Re: Belladonna]
Registered: 06/16/00
Posts: 1260
Loc: Texas
Jim Offline
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Registered: 06/16/00
Posts: 1260
Loc: Texas
Lennon was great at word games...
I think I read somewhere he even liked to have the tv on in background while he was writing...
Moreover IMHO Biab is a great resource for this situation...
Notate the melody & fill in whatever words & nonsense words you have until the right words come along...
Adjust the melody to fit the words & the words to fit the melody until you are happy with result...
Plus you create a very small file that will sit on your hard drive for years waiting for you finish the song.
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#536854 - 05/15/19 05:18 PM [Songwriting] Re: Attracts Me Like A Cauliflower [Re: Jim]
Registered: 06/19/17
Posts: 1786
Loc: Victoria, BC
Ember - PG Music Offline
PG Music Staff

Registered: 06/19/17
Posts: 1786
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Jim
Lennon was great at word games...
I think I read somewhere he even liked to have the tv on in background while he was writing...


I'd have such a hard time with that. When I'm writing anything, even if it's just a story, I need to have no music at all or strictly songs without words. I have a bad habit of transcribing what I'm hearing instead of what I'm thinking.
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#538470 - 05/27/19 08:06 PM [Songwriting] Re: Attracts Me Like A Cauliflower [Re: Belladonna]
Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 3971
Loc: Alabama, USA
Al-David Offline
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Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 3971
Loc: Alabama, USA
I've finished several of my songs because of what I read on a highway billboard or saw in a print ad. Also, just listening as others talk sometimes gives me a great idea.

My biggest challenge is naming my instrumentals.

Anyway, good article Donna - thanks! And some great replies by other forum members.
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