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Third Person Point Of View

Third Person Point Of View

Third person point of view, or omniscient, is the most distance the speaker/singer can have from the action with exception of going to the moon.

The speaker is simply the storyteller, guiding the listener through the narrative.  A third person speaker isn’t a part of the song’s content. They’re reporting what they see to the listener and walking them through events as a guide.

Because third person point of view allows you to keep the speaker out of the story, it gives you latitude in choosing your subject matter.  You can talk about someone else’s situation and it will sound less judgemental.

For example, saying “you’re a no good bum” sounds a little harsh.  Saying “the town always said he was a no good bum” sounds like that’s what everyone in the town called him, and the listener may empathize a little.  Leveraging point of view can help you create stronger emotional take-aways for the listener.

This makes it much easier for an artist to sing a song that’s morbid, depressing, or just about someone drinking themselves into awkward circumstances without it sounding like they are talking about themselves.

Third person point of view pronouns include:
Singular – he, she, it, him, her, his hers
Plural – they, them, their, theirs


Why Use Third Person Point Of View?


Benefits of third person point of view include:

#1  The speaker knows everything! By being the teller of all, the speaker knows who’s thinking what and why, so there is a lot of latitude in describing events and how everyone feels about them. There are no boundries.


#2 You have the ability to step out of the song and see what it really means – and so can your listener. They can choose to insert themselves by identifying with your main character, or not. It’s a great way to create connections with the audience in an indirect way, reducing the risk of turning people off of the song because of the subject matter.


#3  For songwriters the marketing upside is that often, either gender can perform the song


A word of caution: don’t use third person to avoid a second person/direct address narrative. We’ve all been in conversations when we’ve used “he or she” to describe ourselves in an attempt to avoid being the direct object of scrutiny.

A great exercise is to try all points of view in your lyrics, ensuring you use the one that will make the song the strongest vs. the easiest to write!


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