Songwriting

5 Ways Second Verse Lyrics Can Destroy Your Song

by Marty Dodson
Sep 1, 2021

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 5 ways second verse lyrics can destroy your songs.

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) Chasing rabbits in your second verse lyrics.

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. Song Building is a great book for learning to pace your lyric and making sure each section of your song does its intended job.

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”.

MD

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a multi-hit songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting and Song Building: Mastering Lyric Writing

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