The great lyric writers seem to find ways to say so much in so few words. The fact is, when you really only have 2 or 3 verses and a chorus in which to communicate, you quickly begin to recognize the importance of the tiny words. When writing a lyric, every single word counts. For you young folks, think of it like Twitter, where you can’t afford to waste a character … where you use short-links and you sum it all up in a very limited space.
There are no “throw-away” words and certainly no “filler”, in songwriting. Choose your words wisely. Recognize that even the tinyest words can sometimes make the biggest difference in a lyric. Become a master of the small words; they deserve your attention.
According to songwriter, Jimmy Webb in his book, Tunesmith- Inside the Art of Songwriting,
“Conjunctions such as “but”, “of”, “and”, “or”, “when”, etc. can have a surprisingly potent effect on an entire line.”*
He gives the following examples to show how conjunctions matter:
- I loved her but she let me down
- I loved her and she let me down
- I loved her when she let me down
So be careful not to discount the importance of the small words. You have a confined space in which to work, so don’t waste a word.
* Copyright 1998 Jimmy Webb. Available here at Amazon.com