Song Tip Tuesday #14 – Reading Lyrics From Other Songwriters

Today’s Song Tip Tuesday is easy to do. Simply read the lyrics of other lyricists. It is an invaluable tool for learning how to write your own lyrics. The sources are many and there are numerous anthologies in print and online. Search for: Lyrics, Songwriter Anthologies, The Great American Songbook, Cole Porter, The Beatles, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein II, John Prine, Bob Dylan, Stephen Sondheim, Carole King, Bjork, U2, Billy Eilish, et al. This list of lyricists is merely a dot on the map. 

When you are reading lyrics, try to observe the following: 

What is the song about? 

Is it a story song? Is it a love song or a something else song? 

Is it a song about one subject? 

What feeling do you get from reading the lyric? 

And, if you want to really get under the hood, ask yourself: 

What is the structure of the song? Is it a standard structure or does it break the traditional molds?  

Does the lyric use rhymes or not? 

What rhyming patterns were used?  

What is the hook? How many times does it repeat? 

What is the chorus?  

How many verses? 

Is a pre-chorus used? 

Is there a bridge? 

What is it about the lyric you are reading that pulls you in?  


The art of writing is rewriting. 

Randy Klein