Having a thrifty Valentine’s Day, this year? Or wanting to create something, for your loved one, that is stamped with your personality and vision? Swide’s Love Song tips can sort that out…
Love it or hate it, Valentine’s day is just around the corner and there is most probably someone that you have a thing for; whether that special someone is in fact your real-life partner, the hottie who works on the office floor above you, a Facebook friend or maybe the person that you stare at for too long on the metro (you know which one I am talking about), there is always someone who we find pleasantly distracting.
And if you, like me, are thinking of a way to express yourself to this special person, no matter what the consequences may be, then Swide is here to help you shape the lyrics to the perfect love song. Do you fancy being the next PJ Harvey, Neil Young, Joanna Newsom, Adele or even Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys? Well, there is no time like the present. All you need is a little patience, the guts to do it and, you could say most importantly, a personal experience of love that you can draw from.
1) DREAM UP YOUR LOVE THEME: First of it is up to you to decide what kind of love you want to convey to this person, seeing as it is YOU who is the author of these lyrics; romantic love, needy love, sad love, puppy love, jealous love, possessive love, passionate love or even hardcore love. It’s up to you to decide what kind of love you project towards this person (subject). For Swide’s example, I’m opting for: Love and desire.
2) LET IT ALL OUT: Before starting to craft the lyrics, get yourself a pen and paper and simply write about the person. Set your emotions free and let them wander freely through the pen, writing whatever comes to mind, putting everything down on paper. This method of writing will not only clear your mind but it will also bring out ideas that can later be formed into lyrics. To kick-start the exercise, try writing about how the person makes you feel or maybe about their physical attributes or even try describing their emotional attributes (are they courageous/strong/tactile/warm/lonely). It doesn't have to be neat and nice. This is a personal exercise and so you can put your thoughts down in any manner that you want.
3) INSPIRATIONAL STEALING: Don’t rush into piecing your words together; give yourself time to be inspired either through research or just by chance. You never know when you’ll be hit by it, so, keep a pen and paper with you at all times. If you are at a loss or in need of a quick fix for ideas, then just think about the artists that channel the same sort of love that you want to. In Swide’s case, Martha Reeves is the perfect match and, in particular, her song ‘Heat Wave’. This song deals with a girl who gets that tingly feeling whenever she is with her special man… and by tingling she means burning desire. It goes:
Whenever I’m with him
Starts to burning
And I’m filled with desire
See how simple it is to say exactly how you feel? It’s just up to you to take a little of what you have put down on paper, what you’ve got in your heart and what you’ve learned from other artists and start playing with word order and sentence structure on paper.
4) ADD MYSTERY TO THE MEANING: Great love songs are those that avoid clichés and mix up how the messages within the lyrics are delivered. No one likes a song that goes:
I love you it’s true
you complete me
you smell so nice
let’s get married in the future
I can give you all you need
Babies seal the deal
I mean… if you were to hear lyrics like these I guess you could be happy that the author of them is being direct but it does take away the element of surprise that many love songs contain. Try putting a spin on things with metaphors and similes (turning ‘you make me feel good’ into ‘shining brighter and brighter each day, the sun never leaves my side’). By exploring these possibilities you are sure to create a love song that will evoke the desired reaction... or possibly not.
5) BE MOODY: An important element of any good love song is the overall mood in which the lyrics and message are conveyed. The mood of the song can start to take shape at any moment of the creative process and is free to change as your lyrics develop. This will also influence the musicality, rhythm and the structure of the song, something that you can develop on, if you feel it is the next step you should take. What mood do you want your theme to have? You can have sad lyrics delivered with an upbeat tempo. Just take Swedish electro pop hero Robyn for example, whose running themes of sad/difficult love are often delivered with arse kicking beats. After all, love makes people do the strangest things and you never know how it will decide to express itself.
6) LET THE LOVE GUIDE YOU: Although this is an obvious point to make, make sure you let your feelings for this person guide you. If the love you feel for them is simple, keep your words simple. If what you are feeling is too complicated to make sense, take that person on a lyrical journey and bring them to a clear, straight forward stop, where your feelings are finally conveyed in one strong sentence. Also, by letting the love guide you, you can be sure that what it is that you say to the person is the truth... even if it scares them and sends them running.
So, there you have it. Swide's guide to writing the perfect love song lyrics. Are you ready to serenade your valentine? I know I am.
Why not share you love lyrics with Swide? Maybe we'll share ours with you...