Try Eavesdropping For LyricsMay 8, 2009 6:00 am Songwriting
If you write songs, you are always looking for interesting new ideas for lyrics. Chords and melodies you can come up with, but what should the dang thing be about? Sure, you can fall back on the tried and true, but how many songs can you write about your lover leaving you, or refusing to leave, or coming back, or refusing to come back? Or, you can write about the moving non-lover events in your actual life, but if you’re like most of us, there really aren’t that many of those.
It’s time to turn to your fellow man (and woman)! If you have a small notebook, a pencil, and a little imagination, you can come up with an endless series of potential song topics simply by listening in on the conversations of strangers. This eavesdropping is not difficult to do. In fact, it is generally unavoidable in this Age Of the Cell Phone, although actual overheard cell phone conversations tend to be hyper-mundane rather than usable song fodder. I am not talking about monitoring those conversations.
I am talking about discreetly listening to the conversation of the couple at the table behind you at Bob Evans, or sitting in front of you at the movies. Or the guys walking next to you on the sidewalk, or waiting in line at McDonald’s. If you keep your ears open, you’re sure to hear a phrase, a sentence, or a description of a situation that triggers a song idea in your mind. When it happens, be sure to make a note of it. This is the kind of thing that can easily “slip away.”
If you are a bit skeptical of this approach, I would ask you to at least keep it in mind the next time you are forced to listen to strangers converse. What’s the harm? As you pretend to read the paper (or whatever), listen carefully for a situation or a statement that you could expand into a song. Yes, many times you will come up empty, but you may be surprised at what you hear that one time when you get lucky!
P.S. Some visual artists use the same technique.Tags: lyrics, song ideas -->