On Writing Lyrics With Meaning

all songs have a meaning, in this case I’m talking about lyrics which address big issues.  Ideas like free will, mass manipulation, racism, war, terror, cynicism,self doubt, improvement or faith.

Powerful ideas change the world

Freedom, Injustice,  Narcissism, Discipline, Power, Authority, Superstition, Sexuality, Indifference, Obedience, Nationalism.  All concepts that people have wondered about for a long time, and considered from many, many angles.  By stepping into the world of your own thoughts and beliefs you can write lyrics that change the world.

I’m not a big listener of Bob Dylan, but his lyrics are extremely powerful and have been hugely influential in their time and ours.  Songs like “The Times They are a Changing“, “Hurricane” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” reflected how Dylan viewed the world, and undoubtedly changed the world.  There are also many ways to play with meaning and interpretation for example Growing On Me by the Darkness.

Song plots can get extremely complex when you get to bands like tool who write songs about the eternal constant phi – a number that recurs throughout nature, but the underlying meaning they try to convey is that our nature is inescapable, like we are trapped in a foregone conclusion.  Parabol/Parabola

The message I seem to be finding recently around the place is that few artists write about big issues anymore. The anti war movement of the 60’s, the punk revolution, the rebellion of rock and roll.  The last modern song I can think of was Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song” way back in 1995.

Unique ideas make for unique lyrics

I’ve recently been watching alot of George Carlin, Bill Hicks and Bill Maher.  One of the messages they put out there is that American citizens are losing all their privileges of freedom and are too comfortable to do anything about it. George Carlin calls it ‘circling the drain

What’s special about these 3 is that the message they convey is incredibly compelling and powerful.  It’s the same as the punk rock, the 60’s protest songs and Rage Against the Machine.  The only difference is the method of sharing the message.

It doesn’t have to be a message of outrage or apathy, it doesn’t even have to be a massive issue with every song, but write about what you really feel strongly about, and bring back that spirit of power in your songs.

The number one song on the day I started writing this was Louder, and the meaning is… bullshit.  I guarantee you this song will be completely forgotten about in 2 months.  Compare that to Blowin in the wind, Sweet Child of Mine and Candle in the Wind, songs that are powerful enough to change the way you think, songs that lasted lifetimes even to this day.

Some songs have even changed my life, and I’m sure you can relate. A big one for me was Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror.

Writing this way adds new depth to your lyrics, hope to hear them soon.