3 Reasons Your Lyric Doesn't Need To Rhyme
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Rhyming Can Be Unnecessary Shackles
I know you want to write a great lyric. Believe me.
But, here’s the thing. You might think that you need to rhyme to have a great lyric but, really, forcing yourself to rhyme might hinder you on your heroic quest.
Don’t you want to mean every word you say in your lyric? There is a certain precision loss we get once we lock into a rhyme scheme. Now, you’d like to use the word “shadow”, but you already wrote the other line with the word “fight” so…. I guess we’re rhyming with “night” AGAIN.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Unless it isn’t quite what you wanted to say.
As it is, we already have a bunch of concerns while writing a lyric. We want the lyric to be meaningful, memorable, and with the syllables right (or close). Why shackle ourselves even further with rhyming if we don’t have to?
On the other side, sometimes a rhyme can be used as a crutch.
I don’t know what to say next…. Well, I said “me” at the end of the last line. I guess I’ll say something about “Set me free”.
STOP IT. DON’T DO THAT. Write what you want to say, not what the rhyme dictates you say.
Rhyming Can Make a Song Overly Predictable or Feel Unoriginal
A rhyme definitely can help people remember your lyric. It can add to its catchiness. For sure. I never said rhyming was bad. But people want familiar, just not TOO familiar.
Have you ever noticed the thin line between people complaining about boring, uninspired, and unoriginal and loving something?
We’re all adults here. So obviously cheese pizza is boring. And ONLY pepperoni on your pizza? Are we a 1st grade pizza party?
But you do like a good fungus on your pizza Thinking twice. Rabbit food? Pile it on. Pig behind? Do it. Gross grape-looking black ovals with eyes? Why not?
But put pineapple on and everyone FREAKS OUT.
If you even have the nerve to suggest pineapple, buckle up. You’re about to have a bunch of normally-passionless people give you a fully-prepared dissertation on why the greatest crime humanity has ever committed was pineapple on pizza.
This is the humanity you’re dealing with.
Your rhymes can quickly move you into the “cheese pizza” level of boring. Oh, you rhymed “You” with “True”? Full on cheese.
There are so many seriously eye-roll worthy rhymes out there. You know what I mean. When you’ve never heard a song before, but you already know the next line because it’s so cliche-ridden and predictable.
We don’t want that. We want to write something different enough to merit someone spending a full 4 minutes giving a crap about what we have to say.
And, on the pineapple pizza side, we also don’t want to put in bizarre rhymes that are jarring to the listener.
No One Will Even Notice If Your Song Rhymes
You don’t believe me. But let’s put this to the test. If you can instantly answer my question, I’ll concede.
Your FAVORITE song. Does it rhyme?
YOU DON’T KNOW.
Even if you did know the answer, I bet you had to think about it just a tad.
You have to think about the lyrics right now to even figure it out.
You don’t care about the rhyme or the lack thereof.
It’s like eye color. Sometimes you notice, sometimes you know someone for years without ever noticing.
You don’t care about the rhyme. You don’t. I promise. And no one will care if you rhyme either.
Write a great lyric. If you can rhyme without compromising what you want to say, great. If you find yourself constantly changing what you wanted to communicate just to fit a rhyme scheme, maybe just abandon it.
I want you to write a great song.