These days, music instruments and gear have become quite accessible to the general public, and just about anyone can purchase a very good sounding guitar, bass, keyboard, or a drum set. And the same goes for information on how to master those instruments – it’s very accessible and with just a bit of time and effort it became fairly easy to rise up at least to the intermediate level of instrumental skills.
But the same cannot be said for lyricist. The ability to reach someone through lyrics and resonate within the listener though music isn’t something that can fully be mastered just through the power of the internet. It requires an extra effort, a pinch of magic if you will. Writing top-notch lyrics for rock music is not an easy process and you’ll have to figure out many things on your own through life experience, but we’ll gladly lay some foundation for you with our brief introductory guide on how to write lyrics for a rock song.
Master the song structure
Yes, art is a free form, but when you want to write a rock song, it’s impossible to avoid at least some sort of structure. So unless you are aiming to delve into the real of avant-garde rock, these are the basic structure elements you’ll need to know.
Chorus – the hook of the song, the part that strikes the listener the most and therefore needs to be compact and concise. It’s the part that sums up the message that you’re trying to convey, never forget that.
Verse – There are typically two or three verses. This is the part where you can elaborate your emotions, explain them in greater detail and warm up the listener for the incoming big message within the aforementioned chorus.
Bridge – This part can be purely instrumental, but it is a common case that bridge also has lyrics. Musically, the point of the bridge is to shake things up and break any monotony that the verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure might impose, and the same goes for lyrics. Spice things up, take an unexpected turn, a leap of faith, grab the attention for that final verse and chorus.
The thing about rock crowd is that these are people that enjoy to see a genuine artist expressing himself or herself through music. It’s that ability to bring one’s emotions and life story through music that attracts people to listen and follow. And that means one thing – raw emotion. If you are not capable of delivering this, go outside, live your life, let things happen to you and than transform them into music. Pay attention, though, you never know when the inspiration might strike.
Think of the melody
Rock lyrics are written for rock songs, and the vocal melody is very often its crucial point, its driving force, and essentially – its hook. Soon when you craft lyrics, keep in mind at all times that there should be a melody to it.
There are variations here, of course; for example, if you have an instrumental melody that you are supposed to back up with vocals, that half of the job is done, but if you only have a chord structure or chord progressions, than you need to think of the vocal melody. Therefore, our final advice is.
Keep an instrument by your side
Because you need to think of a melody to fit the chords, it is best to keep a guitar or a piano by your side. Having an instrument nearby helps you get the big picture of how the lyrics and the melody will fit the whole tune.
It also allows you to make instant adjustments and find the combination that makes the entire song work. You can also play the melody that you are after and memorize it. Needless to say, you should also keep a pen and paper, or a laptop or tablet nearby for jotting down words.
Structural knowledge, honesty and true inspiration, focus on the song and the melody, and knowledge of musical instruments – make sure that these are checked before venturing forth. From then, it’s up to you and no one else to deliver the magic.