JPF Home Page

Word Choice

Posted By: Moosesong

Word Choice - 01/12/19 02:37 AM

Word choice is very important. As a lyricist, you must always strive to choose the best possible words.

"down the road" is ok but the reader is likely to picture a boring straight road.
'Freeway" or "highway' suggests something fun and easy
"up the long rocky or dusty road" suggests a hard struggle
'the long winding road' suggests a non-boring future with surprises and twists or a past filled with unique memories
' the dark narrow steep icy road' suggests fear and danger

"Look" "watch" and "see" are similar words with different meanings
You may look at something for a while
You may watch something for quite a while
To "see" is to actually get some meaning , knowledge, information, or understanding. You can even 'see' the truth when exposed to things that were non-visual, things you hear, feel, or put logically together in your mind. To write good lyrics, you must always consider word choice.


He wonders why he thought of that lecture from a high school creative writing class. A lecture and class he had not thought about in decades. Why would he think about it now in the TV department of a large retail chain store?

He looks at TV's in the store and sees the model he likes
He looks for a clerk and sees the clerk signal him that she will be over after helping her current customer
He watches the TV he has picked out to pass the time
He sees it is showing the migrant caravan
He sees that the vast majority of them are walking
He sees map showing they have walked over a thousand miles already
He sees in his mind, the math 1 pace = 5 feet = 2 steps 1 mile= 5000 feet 1 mile = 2000 steps 1000 miles = 2 milllion steps.
He sees their faces some of hope some of pain some of worry, some of determination. They have been walking for over 10 weeks and their faces reflect the ordeal they have been through.
He sees the bags they carry hold everything they own in the entire world
He sees those bags would not hold everything he bought for Christmas last year, perhaps not even the crushed boxes and wrapping after Christmas
He sees mothers carrying their toddlers as they walk
He sees some are limping
He looks for a remote to change the channel but does not find one
He looks for buttons on the TV set itself to change the channel but there are none
He looks at other TV's and see they do not have buttons either. Did even his old TV have buttons he just never used?
He looks at the shoppers in the check out line. They have been in line for over 10 minutes and their faces reflect the ordeal they have been through.
He looks outside and sees the cars in the parking going up one aisle and down the other, searching, seeking, looking for an ultimate empty spot that is even closer than the empty space they just went past.
He sees news anchors speaking to their audience of people that have sat on couches and used remotes for so long that TV makers do not even bother with buttons on the TV sets any more, many that look upon the migrants that have walked over 2 million steps as 'lazy'

He sees the subtitle on the migrant news story has the word "invasion" in it. He thinks "Transfusion" would be a better word choice.
Posted By: 9ne

Re: Word Choice - 01/12/19 03:10 PM

Good read!
Posted By: Perry Neal Crawford

Re: Word Choice - 01/15/19 04:50 PM

I too believe in the power of word choices as a storywriter and story teller (spoken word). As a lyricist I write as though the words are all there is. There will be a melody/music/percussion ect, but they exist (in my mind) as the serving dish for the words, a spice, not a main course. I cannot enjoy music well done, but with crappy lyrics, without yelling at the radio and changing the channel.
Posted By: Moosesong

Re: Word Choice - 01/18/19 06:50 PM

Thank you 9ne and Perry for reading and commenting.

I strive to make my lyrics as good as possible. But I find most of my favorite songs are due to the melody and only really bad lyriics can ruin a song for me.

What I really love is when the lyrics fit the tune like a well made suit. That is awesome. A couple of days ago I went to an Elton John concert with my wife and kids. So many of his songs are wonderful in both lyrics and melody. The one that really stood out for me was "Bennie and the Jets" The pounding of the piano keys with the amplificastion from the concert stage, were sent out in waves to splash and pound on my face and chest really brought to life the line 'Solid walls of sound"

After the concert we stopped at a bar where we analysed the word drink as follows.
I was driving and had zero dtrinks pooh
Every one else had 1 drink
then 2 drinks
then 3 or more drinkypoos.
© 2019 Just Plain Folks Music Organization Message Boards