Saturday, March 7, 2015

Writing to a Rhyme: The Kiss of Death

I was listening to a song that someone wrote on youtube the other day and all I could do is shake my head.  It was one of those "gag me" reactions of the songwriter basically writing a song around a "rhyme" and not considering the what they "REALLY" wanted to say.  Of course this is the "hard part" of writing a song.  In my opinion, the CONTENT of a song and WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY trumps the rhyme EVERY time (hmmmm...that rhymes LOL).

The song was like:

We fell in like a two turtle doves....OMG!!!!!  Of course you have "perfect rhymes" and I'm not against using perfect rhymes when they say EXACTLY what you want to say and bring out the EXACT emotion that you want to convey to the listener. my good buddy Wyatt McCubbin and I wrote a song recently called "Diggin' Up Roots".  I'm going to share the first verse to maybe illustrate my point here:

"Diggin' Up Roots" copyright 2015 Mark "Brink" Brinkman & Wyatt McCubbin

"Grandpa had two hands of steel
A heart of gold and an iron will
A silver star from a battlefield in Vietnam
He had more backbone than twenty men
When wrong was wrong he'd take a stand
When right was right he wouldn't bend for anyone." that you've read the first verse did the lack of "rhyme" bother you????

Or do you LOVE IT???

The pattern is rhyming the last word of the first 2 lines, the third to last word in the 3rd and 6th lines and the last word in the 3rd and 6th lines.  I love this type of pattern but it many times is a major STRUGGLE to make is work...but...if you can make it work it is VERY KEWL!!!! :)

Anyway, look at the rhymes:

Steel - Will - Battlefield
Vietnam - Anyone
Men - Stand - Bend

None of them really "rhyme" BUT then say EXACTLY what we wanted to say in the line.  Also, perfect rhymes can be extremely predictable and many times "cliche".  There are many forms of rhymes that I teach in my workshops and just too big of a topic to discuss in a "blog" so I'll leave that for the workshops :)

So to sum up:  Perfect rhymes are great BUT ONLY IF THEY DON'T WATER DOWN THE MEANING OF THE LINE!!!  Using "near rhymes" are most times more interesting to the listener as they are unpredictable, less "cliche", hopefully more ON POINT with the meaning and emotion that you are trying to convey and also the world of "near rhymes" opens up a entire new world of possibilities for finding that PERFECT WORD that says EXACTLY what you want to say!!!

Hope this makes some sense :)

Have a great weekend and remember:  Write more - Whine less!!!

Write on!!!



  1. Awesome - I just changed a line in a song I was tweeking (thanks for the inspiration in a previous blog post) and while it isn't a perfect rhyme - it took a throw away line and changed it into a line that connected a whole verse and made it WORK! - I was worried that it was against "the rules" to not use a perfect rhyme but I guess not... thanks :) this blog is really helping my song writing :)

  2. Thanks Heather :) Glad it helped...hope things are great for you! :) Brink