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Adding Details In Lyrics Isn’t Just Brands

Adding Details In Lyrics Isn’t Just Brands
Details In Lyrics Should Add – Not Just Be

Often, when asked to put more detail in lyrics, the version that comes back has more brand names than details about a scene: e.g., Skoal, Levis, Gatorade, Lucky Strikes, John Deere, Ford, Chevy, etc.

While this is a detail and description – it’s not descriptive language.

Descriptive language takes you there, creates a sense of place, recreates a mood or emotion, it adds to the overall experience of the song.

Let’s look at a song that has some terrific descriptive language – and one brand name.

The detail does a great job of allowing the listener to connect with the emotion of the song while not allowing the brand to overwhelm the message.

 

“Georgia Rain”

Songwriters: Ed Hill & Karyn Rochelle

 

Each “first line” of a verse here sets the mood immediately with a concrete location, scene and an emotional tie to the characters in the song. This song has great first lines for each verse, so allows the verse to succeed quickly.

Tip: focusing on a strong first line for each verse, as if it were going to start the song, is a great way to create stronger, more detailed verses.

 

 

Any nouns used still fit into the prosody of the song, including the single brand name “Ford”. In other words, they align with the meter already in place, have vowel sounds that contribute to the flow and mood of the lyric, and most importantly, they don’t stand out ahead of the image trying to be created by using them.

Details in lyrics can be brand names, but leveraging them well helps. In this song, Ford is not only the right rhyme vowel, but it also is part of a nicely written scene and is used to create a strong analogy: “And I don’t remember what was poundin’ more / Heart in my chest or the hood of that Ford . . .” Nice!

Brand names have the danger of over-powering the mood of a lyric, particularly when there are a large number in general, or close together – it becomes a list, not an emotion driver.

I’ve included the rhyme scheme notation [A] just to give you a sense of how you can use complex rhyme patterns to create longer verses that tie together within themselves (two triplets ties with the [B] rhyme), and how the rhymes tie across verses, but that post is for another day!  I do love rhyme patterns!

 

‘Georgia Rain’ Lyrics

 

VERSE 1
Barefoot in the bed of your truck,   [A] (B sounds + next line)
On a blanket lookin’ up.                  [A] Half a moon peekin’ down at us     [A] (unique description)
From underneath the clouds.           [B] Teenage kids sneakin’ out again.     [C] (sense of ‘who)
Heard the thunder rollin’ in.            [C] We were fallin’ the moment when –    [C] (enjambment w/next line)
It all came pourin’ down.                 [B]

 

CHORUS
The Georgia rain on the Jasper County clay –            [D/D]  (internal rhyme)
Couldn’t wash away what I felt for you that day.       [D/D]  (internal rhyme)
Just you and me down an old dirt road, nothin’ in our way  [D]  (transitions)
Except for – the Georgia rain.                                     [D]  (frames chorus)

 

VERSE 2
[ C / C / C / E / F / F / F / E ] Cotton fields remember when
Flash of lightnin’ drove us in.
We were soaked down to the skin
By the time we climbed inside.
And I don’t remember what was poundin’ more,
Heart in my chest or the hood of that Ford.
As the sky fell in, the storm clouds poured –
Worlds away outside

 

VERSE 3
[ C / C / C / D / E / E / E / D ] Screen door flappin’ in the wind,
Same ol’ house I grew up in.
Can’t believe I’m back again
After all these years away.
You fixed your Daddy’s house up nice.
I saw it yesterday when I drove by.
Looks like you’ve made yourself a real good life –
What else can I say

 

More About “Georgia Rain”

 







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