5 Ways Second Verse Lyrics Can Destroy Your Song



There are many ways that a song can start to go wrong in the second verse. Don’t let these “song-killers” crop up in YOUR second verses!  Here are some of the prime “killers”.

1) Say the same thing as the first verse in different words. You have to give the listener something more in the second verse. Saying the same thing again bores them and they’ll turn your song off.

2) Chase rabbits. Many times, writers can’t think of something new to say in the second verse, so they just say ANYTHING they can think of. It doesn’t say the same thing as the first verse, but it doesn’t really say anything at all.

3) Say the opposite of the hook. If your hook is “I Don’t Love You Anymore” and your second verse says “I still love you”, then you’ve got confused listeners and a problem to fix. Second verses have to support the hook (title) of the song.

4) Move time in a way that is confusing or they assume the listener will know that time has gone by. Movements in time HAVE to be spelled out clearly. Generally, you should make sure that you are moving time in one direction. Jumping from present to future to past is confusing and hard to follow.

5) Drop the ball. Often, writers say everything they can think of to say in the first verse and chorus. The second verse drops the ball and just isn’t as interesting or well written as the rest of the song. Sometimes when this happens to me, I move my first verse down and make it the second verse. Then, I write a new first verse. Doing that forces me to re-think how to get my listener “into” my song. Your second verse needs to be equally strong as your first verse and chorus, if not stronger.

If you set the bar high for your second verses and don’t let these 5 “killers” ruin your lyric, you will find yourself writing second verses that really add to song instead of just being “place holders”.


Marty Dodson is a multi #1 songwriter and co-founder of SongTown.com


14 thoughts on “5 Ways Second Verse Lyrics Can Destroy Your Song

  1. Great tips Marty….sometimes I have a friend that has never heard my song before read my lyrics to me without music, phrasing or rhythm. It’s amazing how many problems we notice within our lyric this way.
    Thanks for all that you for us.

  2. I absolutely enjoy your wisdom on writing songs / the best songs 🎶 as your 5 song tips are excellent for moving forward on my writing 😊✌️🎶thanks Marty

  3. Hi John
    Please don’t think I’m speaking for Marty as I’m probably in the same boot as yourself however Marty’s last comment that you referred to states: “present to future to past”. (Which isn’t moving forward but going all over the place) I believe you may have misread the advice.

  4. Marty,
    I am confused by the last statement in #4. Isn’t moving from past to present to future moving in the SAME direction – forward in time? Is that a misprint or are the last two sentences unrelated?

    1. He’s merely saying that if you have forward momentum in a lyric that’s on a timeline, don’t jump around. Example…let’s say you writing a “cradle to the grave” love song and you’ve already established that you got married, it would be confusing to the listener if after you established that, you started talking about how you met her.

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