Mar 12, 2017, 04:10 PM
I’m back, but I’m not finished with you yet. Ha!!! In my previous post I mentioned to you about telling a simple story behind your lyrics so any listener can easily follow. Your story should have a beginning, middle, and end. The problem I had with your last re-write was there was no end to your story. You had a beginning; with a guy entering a situation that may not turn out well for him; you had a middle by mentioning a girl that may have added to his misfortune; but you had NO END. What happened; what took place; how did it end??? My rewrite was meant to be an example for you to tell a complete story, you may not have liked the direction I took your story but you and the listener knew how it ended (Joe got his a** kicked). Ha!!!
Let me copy your first verse and show you an example of vague lines that don’t add to the story. You wrote:
(Dave’s 1st verse):
I thought this bar stool would clear my head
Wound up trippin’ on a down hill sled
Troubles’ kinda lookin like its gonna be found
Falling off the ground in Ramble Town
Note I’m going to keep your lyrics as you wrote them in 1st person, and exactly how your wrote them, just to show you what I mean by vague lines that don’t advance the story. In your first two lines you write:
“I thought this bar stool would clear my head”
“Wound up trippin’ on a down hill sled”.
What does “trippin’ on a down hill sled” really mean??? I assume it’s a metaphor of some sort but it sounds more like a clever line without adding anything to the story for me. You only have so many lines to paint a vivid picture to draw your listener into your story, the more you waste them on vague, clever lines the more chances you miss to paint a vivid and descriptive picture for your listener to feel they are in that bar with you and your character. Using a line like “trippin on a down hill sled” adds nothing to allow the listener to feel the bar experience you are trying to take them into.
Then your next two lines go:
“Troubles’ kinda lookin like its gonna be found”
“Falling off the ground in Ramble Town”
Okay; the line “Troubles kinda lookin’ like it’s gonna be found” is okay, that helps set up your story; but what about the following line when you write: “Falling off the ground in Ramble Town”. What exactly does “falling off the ground” mean??? Once again, another example of trying to write a clever line and perhaps writing to a rhyme with ground/town; but it makes no sense and doesn’t advance your story (to me anyway).
Now, let’s look at your chorus. The chorus should be the summary of details from your verses and bring your message home to include your hook at the end. Every line of your verses should be written towards your hook and give vivid detail off what your hook means and support your hook so your story all makes sense. Now allow me to copy your chorus:
Things hit bottom at the Bar None Grill
One buck shots and a ten buck bill
I Need a ride down to the higher ground
The devils’ gonna get me in Ramble Town
Okay, your first line is okay, we know things are going bad and your second line is okay also except I can’t imagine a place with $1 dollar shots unless they are jello shots and I don’t think that is what you had in mind. All a part of keeping your story realistic, even though it may sound as if I’m nit-picking a little. Also; you DON’T mention your character buying the girl drinks also; but the scenario of him buying her drinks seems very believable and most likely to me; which is why I changed that line to “where two buck shots blows ten buck bills”. I was trying to suggest he was buying them both shots and he blew more than ONE ten dollar bill.
Now let’s look at the third line in your chorus. You say “I need a ride down to higher ground”. Exactly what does that line really mean??? I can’t help but believe it’s another vague metaphor that doesn’t advance the story; except to come up with another clever line and write to a rhyme for ground and town in your next line.
Also realize a common mistake by newer writers. You have written your song with 3 verses which is NOT recommended anymore. That may have worked with songs 30 years ago but no-longer with modern songs. The reason being today’s listener’s have very short attention spans; it’s really important to change the melodies from verse to chorus to keep the listener interested in your song. That is why some writers will separate a verse from the chorus by adding a “Lift” which will have a slight change in melody leading into the large powerful chorus that is repeated 3 times by design to allow the listener to recognize the chorus lyrics and be able to sing along. So the more you repeat a melody of a verse (as in 3 verses) you run the risk of your verse melodies becoming repetitive and boring to the listener. That is why a writer will write a Bridge with a different melody (instead of a 3rd verse) to break up the melodies from the two verses and rpeated choruses a little bit. Whew!!! That was a lot to explain, I hope I didn’t confuse you.
Any questions or comments please feel free to ask.