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#964664 - 06/18/12 04:04 AM A question about lyrics  
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brandon kilgore Offline
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Had someone say this about some of the lyrics and songs Ive had done. I do not fully understand what it is they mean so maybe some of my JPF friends can help me to understand better. They said ,"seems like there is to much need to cut a little back and make the true parts stronger." What do they mean by that exactly? First time I've ever been told that by anyone that has viewed my lyrics or heard the songs that have come of them. Also they went on to say " well the idea of all the songs are awesome i cant lie its bad ass and i think 3 or 4 could be hits no [naughty word removed] its just a few little things but thats how nashville works i have a song called shes the man but my bridge isnt strong enough and jason aldean passed bc of that" Do they really pass on songs because of something that seems so simple of a fix?

#964667 - 06/18/12 07:27 AM Re: A question about lyrics [Re: brandon kilgore]  
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Brandon, that comment could mean any number of things. The first - and simplest - that springs to mind is that the lyric is wordy and needs to be tightened up so that the story/impact is stronger.

If you'd post a lyric or two in the Lyrics forum (Forum 3 gets the most traffic), it would be easier for folks to determine what the (perceived) flaws might be.

Regarding "so simple of a fix": a good bridge is arguably the most difficult section of a lyric to write. smile It can make or break a lyric. As well as in the chorus itself, a song's payoff is/can also be in the bridge. I could well imagine an artist passing on a song because the bridge is weak.


Honour the Earth. Without it, we'd be nowhere.

Life is too important to take seriously.


#964834 - 06/19/12 07:30 PM Re: A question about lyrics [Re: brandon kilgore]  
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Mark Kaufman Offline
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Originally Posted by brandon kilgore
Do they really pass on songs because of something that seems so simple of a fix?

Absolutely. Top-dollar artists not interested in purchasing fixer-uppers. They have lots of choices, so it's the A-Game or no game.

#964837 - 06/19/12 07:58 PM Re: A question about lyrics [Re: Mark Kaufman]  
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Mike Dunbar Offline
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Yes, if it's an unknown writer, with no cuts, and something strikes them as "odd" or doesn't work, they'll pass right away. Not only that, it will affect future pitches...as in WHAM-O! right into the circular file. The writer gets a reputation as someone who doesn't know any better than to send in something that needs fixing.

They don't have time to work with unknown, unproven entities. They're too busy fixing songs by writers who already have had hits...writers they play golf or go fishing with.

I believe a truly great "airtight" song by an unknown writer can get cut, but it is so extremely rare as to be practically impossible. However, a truly great "airtight" song, backed up by another truly great "airtight" song, and another, and another can start to develop a good reputation for a writer. And soon, they are playing golf and fishing with you...and listening to your songs that might need a fix. And sending songs by other known writers they golf and fish with that might need a fix to you to do the fixin'.

You've got to know your limitations. I don't know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren't too many limitations, if I did it my way. -Johnny Cash

It's only music.

Mike Dunbar Music

#965794 - 06/27/12 05:51 PM Re: A question about lyrics [Re: Mike Dunbar]  
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Z. Mulls Offline
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So....how do we learn how to fish?

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#965832 - 06/27/12 09:55 PM Re: A question about lyrics [Re: Z. Mulls]  
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Lynn Orloff Offline
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I'd love to see the lyric w/the bridge and see if my amateur eyes would have noticed a discrepancy between the strength of the lyric and the bridge lyric. I'm not positive that's what I'd find, but I would be curious to see if there was a consenus among us that the bridge did indeed appear the weak link. It might be a teaching tool for some of us, myself included of course.

Lynn smile

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~call it a blessing or call it a curse, but I see all of life in verse~

Always open to collaborations smile

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#965864 - 06/28/12 12:18 AM Re: A question about lyrics [Re: Lynn Orloff]  
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brandon kilgore Offline
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brandon kilgore  Offline
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unfortunately the bridge that was supposedly passed on isn't mine it's the guy's that was having a conversation with me. However, I'll be writing with him soon and see if I can't get a copy of it.

#1111142 - 07/21/16 07:52 AM Re: A question about lyrics [Re: brandon kilgore]  
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Pat Hardy Offline
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Pat Hardy  Offline
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I think what they are saying is to go over the lyric and
remove any line that could be said to be "padding" i.e., cutting the fat from the meat. Ask yourself, does this line add to the song, or is it just a filler line? Sure, your melody is pretty much going a certain way, so you'll
need to rewrite the line so that it's not padding, filler, etc. A lyric
should have single idea, and every line should bolster, further along, add to that idea, until the end.

I think that's what they are saying. When you do this,
your lyric will have more impact.

Last edited by pathardy; 07/21/16 07:57 AM.
#1111152 - 07/21/16 11:45 AM Re: A question about lyrics [Re: brandon kilgore]  
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Barry David Butler (D) Offline
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Barry David Butler (D)  Offline
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It's NOT easy writing a Full Story in 3 minutes of so.....it's essential though.....Getting a Star to do an original song from us is ridiculously hard.....BUT anything is possible....You have to get the song to somebody who knows them or forget it.B

#1111248 - 07/22/16 08:27 PM Re: A question about lyrics [Re: Barry David Butler (D)]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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I don't know when this thread was started or if you have gotten your answers. But basically you are just giving them reasons to say "No" if every line, every note, doesn't knock them down. Most notably you are up against songs written by the artist or with the artist or inside people that often the song is ABOUT them. A big part of all of this is the "Socializing and relationship" sides of Nashville, and in fact any business.

Mike calls it "people they play golf with" and that is very true. Everyone in this town know each other for years, long before those writing, promoting and recording relationships even start. If you see a new artist coming out, do some research on them and find out where they came from, who were the first people they hung out with, who were their connections inside the business, who supported them when they were brand new, what company are they working for, and you will see many of the roadblocks in your way.
You will usually find out that long before you even heard of them, they were being developed, groomed for years.

Also most of the songs you hear on the radio or on artists recordings are written by people with track record, other provable hits. So the fact is, that tagging a bridge, individual lines, melodies, subject matter, etc. can all get a song rejected very quickly.
And as a long term veteran in this town, I will tell you that almost all the "outside" songs, simply don't measure up to songs written by professionals or have an emotional or other ties to the inside.

Just like yourself if your income and lively hood depended on your relationships, you are simply not going to people you don't know and skip over you friends. It's a mistaken premise from the beginning.

What you are going to HAVE to do if you want cuts, is you are going to have to CULTIVATE them now, to prepare you for tomorrow or many years in the future. Building the relationships, writing with the artists who are unknown now, is really the ONLY way in those back doors.

Your songs are probably too wordy or don;t make the points you believe they do, and someone is trying to give you a reason that you can look at. The fact of the matter it is probably just not up to snuff of what they already have.

Good luck, but it is very common.


#1111315 - 07/23/16 08:17 PM Re: A question about lyrics [Re: Marc Barnette]  
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Marc Barnette Offline
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Marc Barnette  Offline
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Again I don't know when you posted this or if you got some answers, but re-reading some of your comments I am seeing some familiar things that come across our desks as NSAI evaluators (I've been one for about 15 years) and in overall workshops, critiques, etc.

,"seems like there is to much need to cut a little back and make the true parts stronger." What do they mean by that exactly?

What that means is that most songwriters actually have TOO much going on in song. There may be supporfolus, extra characters that are unnesasary or add nothing to the story. Often writers will have too much going on which has nothing central to the action of the story. They will introduce characters later in the story, have miss-understood language of who is speaking, where the focus of the story is.

There are often TOO MANY THEMES going on that deflect the listeners attention. Many writers will actually have two or three stories going on in the same song and so the listener is confused as what is the purpose for the song.

On the "Truth" issue, it might mean that there is flowerdy, poetic language, that doesn't sound "realistic" enough. A writer might be dwelling too much on the emotion and not enough on the "Concrete visual furniture" that are required in songs that come from Nashville and actually in most of the commercial songwriting world.

"well the idea of all the songs are awesome i cant lie its bad ass and i think 3 or 4 could be hits"

This is sort of a "back handed compliment. "Sounds like hits" are a very throwaway line that means it sounds like something on the radio. That usually means it does, but actually it doesn't. Very few people who do critiques will come out and say "you're song really sucks" , because they don't really feel like that. But they do feel that it doesn't stand up any more than what is already out there.

One of the phrases I will often use is "There is nothing particularly WRONG with it, just not enough RIGHT WITH IT. What that means is simply that it is nothing special. It is not bad, not good, just average.

"I have a song called shes the man but my bridge isnt strong enough and jason aldean passed bc of that."

That is actually a phrase that has been used quite a bit in Nashville songs for many years. The phrase "Whose da Man" came out about ten years ago and that particular phrase and variations of it have been used in a lot of songs, particularly by songs that HAVEN'T gone anywhere. "She Da Man", She's Da Man" "I'm Da Man" Who's Da Man", etc are one of those phrases that kind of got really hot for a while and then sort of played out like phrases like "Where's the Beef" and others that hit the public conciousness, in a commercial or bumper sticker. Once they hit airwaves, you hear a lot of them, and then they all sort of die out. It's called "having a song with a shelf life."

The reality is that if you had songs that WERE HITS, am some person doing a critique heard them, they would contact you and try to become involved with the songs themselves. Everyone goes through the friends and their own emotions that go "That's as good as anything on the radio," Or "that's better than all that CRAP" on the radio, etc.
In reality, most songs are not really bad, or good, just sound like other songs. That happens with those of us IN THE TOWN as well. And now the "inside cut" (those written with or by the artist, those that are the producer, inner circles, etc) are going to take presidence. If you have songs that are "Just as good as what is on the radio" it simply means you are not BETTER than what is on the radio.

You just have to shake it off and write more songs. If you actually want cuts, you will have to find artists to write them WITH. Just a fact of life you can either except or reject, but it doesn't change that it is a fact.

Good luck.

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