Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stupid song lyrics

In my current work in progress (I'm at 50,000 words but I still have a few scenes to write and then the whole thing to revise. Thankfully, the bow-tied one is being patient.) the main characters are teen pop stars. At one point I have the guy write a song for the girl called: Give First Impressions a Second Chance.

I keep thinking that I should put in a few lyrics because after all he does sing it to her. But here's the thing. I'm lousy with song lyrics. I had to put in song lyrics in Revenge of the Cheerleaders and no matter how long I worked on them they always sounded stupid. (They were supposed to be a little cheesy, but still.)

The thing is, most song lyrics sound stupid without the music. Really. Here are a few song lyrics from popular songs of the past that I'm pulling off of the top of my head (because I'm too lazy to google them).

She loves you, yeah,yeah, yeah. She loves you, yeah yeah yeah.

Hey Mickey you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey.

I believe in miracles. Where did you come from, you sexy thing?

And the possible all time stupidest song lyrics: Some one left the cake out in the rain, and I don't know if I can take it, cause it took so long to bake it, and I'll never have the recipe again!

I'm not totally mocking stupid song lyrics. I mean, I just bought a song from Itunes which starts out: Uga chacka uga uga uga chacka. Uga uga uga chacka, Really, it does that for ten seconds before normal lyrics start. And it's a great song. Check out Hooked on a Feeling, if you've never heard it.

But the point is, I'm clearly not equipped to write song lyrics if even popular song writers frequently come up with stupid ones.

If anyone out there is a budding lyricist (is that a word?) feel free to send me some good ones about how if you judge people by first appearances you're likely to miss out on love. This song should be a duo. Nothing sappy.

Otherwise I may have to revert to stealing the Uga chacka lyrics.


Chillygator said...

Probably less helpful, but here are some more BAD song lyrics for you!

Melanie Jacobson said...

Um, is it wrong that I think the Uga Chacka thing has a catchy ring to it? Guess I'm not the girl for the job!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Aren't all song lyrics sappy?

A tough challenge...I shall have to mull it over!

Danyelle Ferguson said...

Hmm . . . I am not the one to help on this. The last time I wrote song lyrics, my own mother cringed. :)

Asenath said...

Have you seen the music video for Hooked on a Feeling? It's so bad I almost can't believe it's real.

Steelefamily said...

If I could write I would not be so eagerly awaiting your next book, I would write my own! Unfortunatly I lack all impressive skills and am forced to wait for you to publish yours:)

tenacious d said...

I hate the song McArthur Park with a passion, too.

Janette Rallison said...

I just watched David Hasselhoff sing Hooked on a Feeling. (Originally done by Blue Swede) David does indeed look as though he is hooked on something, but probably something a little more potent than a feeling . . .

Anonymous said...

How so a duet? as in he sings it to her and she sings it back, or as in two people sing it to her...

-Jane Deere

Janette Rallison said...

Well, he wrote it as a duet and wants her to sing it with him. But in the story he just sings it to her to see if she likes it.

Jenn said...

I have scenes in both of my books I'm working on where people write songs. In the one, it's an amateur pianist/songwriter, and in the other, it's a teenage boy (regular musically talented boy, not pop-star). My thoughts on the lyrics for those situations is that they don't have to be that good. These guys aren't supposed to be that good.

But, even with that said, I read them and think they sound so... bad.

So I don't know if I can be of any help because I can't even help myself. ;)

As with all things I don't understand, though, I always turn to my most helpful and informative friend, Google. I typed in "how to write song lyrics" and came up with some non-helpful stuff, but also this article: I didn't read through the whole thing, but it looks really helpful.

Anyway, good luck. :)

Heather Moore said...

All I know is that they are supposed to rhyme. Crystal helped me with some lyrics the other week.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm not a lyricist really, but I like playing with songs (and I love your books) so I'll give this a shot.

The thing is, you really want to have the verses reference events in the story so I'll give you a chorus to show where it can go. We could expand this via email if you think it'd be helpful. Anyway here's a chorus that might work:

Go ahead and judge a book by its cover
Save a stranger your last dance
Watch a pot until it boils over
Give a gift horse a second glance
All I'm asking from you baby
Is to give first impressions a second chance

Anonymous said...

Give First Impressions a Second Chance (slow R&B ballad)

Here we are, girl, in the middle of goodbye
You’re walking out the door before you give our love a try
I have waited forever for this moment
Only to see it slip away

I know I don’t seem like the man you’re looking for
A woman like you deserves everything and more
But, baby , please don’t turn your back on what could be a lifetime love
Before you go, I’ve just got to say

Can’t you Give First Impressions a Second Chance?
I’ve got the love you need. I’ll show you the romance
That you don’t think you see in me
I’m begging you, please,
Give First Impressions a Second Chance

So, if this a duet, this would be his opening and the chorus.

Janette Rallison said...

Wow, Jacob and annonymous, I am seriously impressed with your lyrics! How do you do that?

No, on second thought, don't tell me as it will probably be something like when my husband tries to explain how to do technical things on the computer and I just want to cry.

Annonymous, were those lyrics you had before or did you just make those up?

And Jacob, I'll email you.

Anonymous said...

Yea, I did, but it was a great title. Great titles create a mind set and make the lyrics easier to write. I'm sure when you get a GREAT idea, it makes things easier to write.

Besides, cheesy ballads are easy. They have a form that has to be followed, just like the blues or country. Words are that much easier when you only have to spin the wheel, not reinvent it.

And, I agree with Kimberly when you're talking about ballads. They are all cheesy. Some are just wonderfully so.

I enjoy your work, and I've enjoyed this exercise. Challenges are always fun.

Anonymous said...


Were you going country here? Or did you have music in your head? Just curious. I like it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know from country (I'm more a pop/hard rock kind of guy). I didn't really have any music in mind for that. I'm no good at actual music composition, so I have to lean on friends or theft for any of my stuff to actually work in the real world.

Anonymous said...


Hope I didn't offend. Not much of a country guy myself, but your lyrics just sort of struck me that way.

Anonymous said...

Oh no. Not offended at all. I'm not a country snob or anything.

Anonymous said...

I needed song lyrics for the WIP I'm writing right now too. Luckily, my husband is a professional singer/songwriter, so I just stole his lyrics! What's he gonna do? Sue me? And if anyone says, "well...those lyrics are good but I can't imagine how they sound." I can just say, go here:


Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

Give First Impressions a Second Chance (Open Up Your Eyes)

When I was a child, blessed with a father so mild he said,
Son, you've got to open up your eyes.
This world's so full of pain
People wanting naught but gain
But you can open up those eyes

So much of life is about hurting and strife
It's a wonder we can see at all
We're lost and we're blind
I wonder what we'd find
If our eyes weren't closed so small

And oh, if you could only know
What I saw when I saw you
And oh, if I could only see
What you saw when you saw me

I listened to my dad, saw his eyes so glad
I said, I'm going to open up my eyes
Going to see what can be seen
Going to figure what it means
Yes I'll open up my eyes

Now I'm left to cry, wondering oh why
Did I have to see you with these eyes?
Felt my heart on hold
Yearning to be bold
Wishing I couldn't see your eyes

And oh, if you could only know
What I saw when I saw you
And oh, if I could only see
What you saw when you saw me

I can lose but can't find, why can't you be kind?
Why won't you open up your eyes?
I can see that you don't see
What there'd be with me
Wish I could open up your eyes

This world's a crazy dance, please love take a chance
Say you'll dance that dance with me
First impressions are only firsts
Let's give in to the thirst
To see what we can see

Rhythm inspired by "Nobody Knows Me At All" by The Weepies.

Janette Rallison said...

Okay, everybody is way better at this than me. Where were all of you, I wonder, when McArther Park was being penned? You could have done an intervention and saved all of us from those 'ruined cake' lyrics.

JaredNGarrett said...

Hey Janette
I was going to say I've written songs and maybe I can help, but Jacob did a great job. Good luck with this one!

The Golfing Librarian said...

FYI-from Wikipedia

...The song is named after MacArthur Park, a park in Los Angeles, California. Its lyrics, which include the memorable line "Someone left the cake out in the rain", are more symbolic than descriptive, beginning as a poem about love, then moving into a lover's lament. English poet W. H. Auden said, "My face looks like a wedding-cake left out in the rain."[2]

[edit] Musical structure
"MacArthur Park" is unusually complex for a pop song. The music can be split roughly into 4 sections, or themes. The first theme contains the verses and chorus, and the lyrics begin "Spring was never waiting for us girl." 9/8 fanfares interrupt the 4/4 of the song by adding an additional beat to the end of each phrase. This section centers on Dm, the fanfares center on Ab, and the chorus centers on C major.

The second theme is a slow lamenting melody, and starts with "There will be another song, for me." It is in F, and contains many Maj7 and a few M7b5 chords. At the end of this it briefly goes back into the opening theme.

The 3rd theme is a fast paced instrumental, centered around G minor. It contains a lot of V/I style chords. The theme chords climb diatonically over a droning bass line. It then goes to an ascension of notes based on the chords Gb, Bb, Db, and resolves to F.

The first and fourth themes are similar, but are in fact different. The "MacArthur's park is melting." starts this time in F, not C. And instead of the lines "I don't think that I can take it. .." starting on a I/III, it starts on a VI, and descends. The finale concludes with a phrase similar to the opening theme (but in Ab instead of a Dm). The final chord is a Bb...

Who knew?

Anonymous said...

I'm a different anonymous, and everyone else's is awesome, but here's what I came up with anyway.

Average Joe,
And average Jane,
Either way you see them,
You know they're vain.
He's a grumpy beast,
But she ain't no beauty
One is too intense,
The other uses words like,

Take another look,
Give 'em another chance,
Look into her eyes,
Listen to his pulse dance,

Don't miss out on love,
It's just your pride,
Take another look,
A quick glimpse inside,

Average Joe,
And Average Jane,
Saw each other,
with great disdain,
First impressions lied,
'Cause Joe's a cutie,
While his thoughts have cleared,
Jane's not so,

Take another look,
Give them another chance,
Look into her eyes,
Listen to his pulse dance,

Don't miss out on love,
It's just your pride,
Take another look,
A quick glimpse inside.

From average Joe,
To average Jane,
Look at me again,
And please end my,

Unknown said...

I do plenty of rhyming so I could try my hand at some lyrics...

Nah. It's not coming to me right now. But I definitely hear you on the bit about written lyrics not sounding as good without the music. Fall Out Boy has a song called "Grand Theft Autumn" that sounds totally great, but on paper the lyrics do NOT rhyme at all:

Where is your boy tonight?
I hope he is a gentleman
Maybe he won't find out what I know
You were the last good thing about this part of town...

Seriously, download it from iTunes.

Bynn! said...
YOU PEOPLE ARE AMAZING!!!! Tears almost came out of my eyes when I read those wonderful lyrics haha!
I CANNOT write songs. I've tried but every time I do....they are soooo bad I can't even explain it. haha. I'll try to get my friend to enter some lyrics!!
(She's musicaly talented!)

Anonymous said...

I don't know if i can still enter this but o well. i don't care haha.
by the way i love your books!keep up the good work!!!

everyday i wake up and i wanna see your face. whenever you're not here i wish i could here your velvet voice again. and i know you don't feel the same way but please, please give me another try. cuz

you know you want to give me, a second chance.can you just walk, walk away from me now.just look my way and see what's really there.because your mind is telling you wait.

Everytime I see you my heart beats like no other. Those special times when you smile I can't help but grin.C'mon just give me one more. one more chance to give you what you want from me.

so there it is!!!ENJOY!!haha

Unknown said...

Yeah OK. This one is really going to suck. but hey. i tried here it goes.

I've never felt this way
but now that I'm with you
this feeling grows
Even more--
Every moment spent with you
was real
Now before you say goodbye---
Will you please give
Our love a try

(FAST TEMPO)'Cuz everyone's
looking 'round
trying to find the love
on the ground
when the answer is right
above you just got
to see high enough
(slower tempo) dont go
just yet
please give first
Impressions a
second chance-----

(CHORUS)If you could
i hope you would
look in my eyes and
see the real me--
you cant go around
Girl just please--
See through me
for who i am
Give first impressions a second chance----

OOh OOOOOh------- YEAh

You see i kinda got an inspiration by Jesse McCartney.So it will sound good in my mind. but anyways i know some of it doesn't really make sense. like the part where i wrote CUZ EVERYONE'S LOOKING ROUND TRYING TO FIND LOVE ON THE GROUND WHEN THE ANSWER IS RIGHT ABOVE YOU JUST GOT TO SEE HIGH ENOUGH means that the main character is a gift from a above and he realizes now that he loves her and he wants her to see him for who he really is.