• Sophie

Cheap Lyrics



Have you ever found yourself listening to a song for the very first time, and without even trying you're already able to predict the lyrics? While some may chalk this ability up to being a secret talent of theirs, I prefer to give the credit of these cheap lyrics to the laziness of the artist. Now that may sound harsh, but in my opinion lyrics are one of the most important components of a song, and they should not just be hastily scrapped together at the end of the production process.

You may be wondering what exactly I mean by the term 'cheap lyrics', so let me explain a little more in depth about what constitutes this phenomenon. First of all, a good song should have original and well-thought out verses that are organized in a way that makes sense for getting a particular message across. Just as an in an essay or a movie plot a song should unfold naturally in order to tell a clear story. This may be obvious, but in addition to telling a story the words of a song should also be real and true to the experience of the artist, because believe it or not it is obvious to an audience when the artist doesn't connect to the words of their own song.

Rhyming is perhaps one of the most obvious clues as to whether or not a song has cheap lyrics. While rhyming is a great way to create a hook, and make a song easy to sing, too much of it can come across as lazy and childish. Some of the most popular lyrical rhymes include 'me'/'see', 'you'/'do', 'my'/'time', 'go'/'know', 'me'/be' - I think you get the point. In addition to the exploitation of rhyming, cheap lyrics may also be the repetition of the same 5-10 sentences over and over. Obviously the bridges and choruses of a song may be repeated several times, although there are some artists who find creative and sneaky ways to subtly change these parts of their songs as they unfold; however, the repetition of versus is in my opinion a lyrical sin. Here are a few examples of cheap lyrics:

1) While "Brand New Eyes" by Bea Miller has a clear message considering it was composed for the film Wonder, it still falls victim to the cheap lyric phenomenon by its exploitation of rhyming. While the mere two verses do an alright job of telling a story, both the bridge and chorus are full of obvious rhyme pairings that immediately detract from the feel-good story.

Lyrics in question:

[Bridge]

I'm wide awake now / I'm free of the doubt

Don't want to look down

And if I fall down / I lay on the ground

And look at the clouds

[Chorus]

It's like I've got brand new eyes / And I can finally see

What has always been right there in front of me

And with these brand new eyes I'll take in everything

And I will finally see me


2) "I Hate Everything About You" by Three Days Grace is a very clear example of lyrical repetition considering that the entire second verse is comprised of the first four lines of the first verse, and then abruptly goes into the bridge. In addition, what makes these lyrics lazy is that they took an easily rhymable word and placed it at the end of each line, and then without fail made the following line rhyme it. It's almost as if they were so eager to make a seemingly angry song that they used a first-grader's english homework to write the verses.

Lyrics in question:

[Verse 1]

Every time we lie awake

After every hit we take

Every feeling that I get

But I haven't missed you yet

Every roommate kept awake

By every sigh and scream we make

All the feelings that I get

But I still don't miss you yet

Only when I stop to think about it

[Verse 2]

Every time we lie awake

After every hit we take

Every feeling that I get

But I haven't miss you yet

Only when I stop to think about it


3) "Geronimo" by Sheppard is yet another clear example of cheap lyrical repetition. However, while the verses are actually quite well-developed, it is the chorus and post-chorus that falls victim to laziness with the same three lines taking up both sections.

Lyrics in question:

[Chorus]

So say geronimo / Say geronimo

Say geronimo / Say geronimo

Say geronimo / Say geronimo

Say geronimo

[Post-chorus]

Can you feel my love? / Bombs away

Bombs away / Bombs away

Can you feel my love? / Bombs away

Bombs away / Bombs away


As you can see, cheap lyrics are unfortunately not immune to any genre of music. While pop and rap are some of today's top perpetrators of this phenomenon, other genres such as indie, alternative, and rock are also plagued by the simple rhyme schemes, repetition, and ingenuousness of cheap lyrics. However, just because a song lacks lyrical complexity doesn't necessarily mean that it's a bad song because everyone has a right to their own musical tastes and preferences. So next time you're sitting in the car jamming to your favorite tunes, ask yourself how important the lyrics of a song are to you, and then analyze for yourself whether or not you've fallen for the simplicity of cheap lyrics.

Sophie XOXO

#stringsofthought #beintune

© 2018 by Sophie Van Remortel