Filler Words! Cliches!
Songwriters do use them, the trick is to not overuse these little ditties. Believe me they are easily abused. I've done it! I've also heard current songs on the radio with some cliche written in. But if you are the artist and writer, it flies, if you are writing for someone else, filler and cliche should be used sparingly or not at all.
As lyricists, the responsibility of writing as tightly and strong as possible is up to us, we make it easier for publishers to pass on material if we don't. Working this way, our songs are more readily received by seasoned writers and players in the industry.
These small words, and, but, just, really, very, well, baby, quite, that, perhaps, to name a few, can be easily overused. If you can do without the word then do a fill-ectomy.
I'm not talking about connector words, they have a purpose. Examples: therefore, finally, next, still, even so.
Example: She said now honey that's just really upsetting
Fix: She said now darling girl that'd make a flower tear up.
One of the natural parts of writing is to write natural sounding. ( you are going to hear me talk about this over and over)
Cliches can have a place in a song, but it should sound natural. Examine if there is a better way to say what you are trying to get across. Don't take the easy way out!
Here is a common list of cliches.
- we can make it if we try
- after my own heart
- alls well that ends well
- back in the saddle
- please don't go
- left at the alter
- life's a bitch
- look into your heart
- read between the lines
- she'll be alright
I participated in seminars given by Jim Femino in the mid 2000's, one of his statements has jumped out for this topic. It goes like this. Whatever music you grew up with, is the way you will write. So the phrasing, the meter, the music will have a feel for that era. My time is the late 70's early 80's. So I have to jump out of my comfort zone to write unique and original stuff. What I like has already been written…:)
Another example of what I mean is: I have friends that grew up in the 60's most of there music has a Beatles feel to it, because that's who they listened to and related with at one of the most impressionable times of their life. Does this mean you can't change? Of course not, the more you write the better you get at it, the more your lyrics and music sounds like you.
Guess what, there is only one you, no one can write a lyric or song that sounds like you. So practice your craft, find your own sound, write stronger lyrics by keeping out filler words and cliches.
Any questions or comments, I'd love to hear em!
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