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I Need Help Turning My Emotions Into A Song Hook?

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I have a really strong emotion now that would make a really good song, but I'm having trouble putting it into words. I'm feeling really confused, torn between doing two things, and Im so confused that I'm having trouble thinking and just can't take action on either of them. Whenever I think about one the ideas I had about the other get mixed up and swirled around and distorted, and vice versa.

Im just really having trouble condensing this and putting it to words that are original and not cliche. The "inspiration" for this emotion doesnt stem from a relationship, but rather from a decision I have to make between pleasing everyone around me and pleasing myself. However, Im afraid that if I choose to do what I want, then when it finally comes time for me to do so that I will not have the courage to pursue my dreams because I will be stepping way outside of my "comfort zone". So this is what my emotion is, kinda complex lol, but I would really appreciate the help! Thank you so much!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'd be tempted to keep it simple. Get a pen and paper a list every thought and emotion that comes into your mind. Already, by reading your post, I have come up with:




swirling and distorted = a kaleidoscope






Keep at it and I am sure there will be an obvious hook that jumps out.



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  • 2 weeks later...

Precisely why I feel like songwriting, for me, is a poor method of communicating emotions, even though I know it works for some. I’ve heard people say they find songwriting therapeutic, like keeping a diary…I really can’t relate to that. I just want to write a good song, period; the rest is secondary. Usually whatever I come up with winds up expressing something I’m thinking or feeling (how can it not?). But it really doesn’t become apparent to me how to make my emotions work as a song, unless I have some hook or phrase to hang it on. Typically the hook or title line will suggest what the song will be about…very hard to do it the other way around.

The only thing I might suggest is to allow for some time to pass…get some distance from the situation. Often I don’t even feel like writing anything when too many things are weighing on my mind. I find it’s much easier to say what I want to say when viewing things in hindsight…sometimes feelings are too intense in the moment and it’s hard to articulate them.

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Imagine you’ve made your choice. Follow that... daydream it... and see where it takes you. When you hit something dramatic, try to capture it in a phrase or two. Don’t explain how you feel! Instead, paint a picture (it doesn’t have to be literally visual, although that often works best) that conveys the feeling by getting the listener to identify with you. That makes the listener do the feeling, which is what you want.

Then imagine making the opposite choice, and do the same thing.

Together, you might have some raw material for a lyric that conveys the dilemma.

Oh... and don’t try to write a hook. Write a lyric, and let the hook make itself known.

Edited by Coises
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I once read (or saw?) an interview with B.B. King. He talked about this one time when a young songwriter approached him and said that he really wants to write blues like B.B. King, but every time he's feeling blue, he's not able to write anything. B.B. King told the guy that he had it all wrong. He said he never writes about the blues while he has the blues. He writes about those experiences when he's feeling inspired.

Long story short, it might not always be the best time to write about a situation when you are currently in it. If you can't get it together right now, just write down all of your thoughts and feelings about the situation and write it when you are inspired. Just my thoughts for what it's worth.

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  • 2 months later...

Here's something totally off-the-wall ...

"Decisionally Disabled" ... Let me ask you: if you heard that line, versus having read it on a page, would it in fact have "the same impact?" Quite frankly, I am not convinced.

"Decisionally Disabled" is, after all, a strictly visual "turn of the phrase." Every single thing about it depends on "prosidy." And (alas..) nothing more.

Consider, on the other hand, this extremely striking line from a now-famously successful commercial song:

"I might-a been born 'jes plain white trash,' but fanc-y was-a my name!"

To my way of thinking, this punch-in-the-nuts lyric, as so masterfully performed by Reba McEntyre, is to be counted among the penultimate example of "an emotion as a song hook." In this memorable lyric by Bobby Gentry, the crux of this song has nothing at all to do either with rhyme or with illiteration: "Well, I can still hear the desperation in my poor Mamma's voice ringin' in my ears..." Her mamma knew that she was knowingly selling her daughter into a life of high-society prostitution ...

... and her daughter, years later, subsequently ... knowingly ... and with her head held defiantly high ... defended her.

"Top that!!"

"Take that..." (oof!!) "... as a 'song hook!'"

Trust me: "just get out there and do this" ... both in terms of Reba's performance and the magnificent work done by the various other actors and actors in this six-minute clip, and you will surely for the rest of your life have nothing more to prove (heh... $$$$!!) to anyone at all. :)

You will make much money.

You will have earned it.

Edited by MikeRobinson
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  • 2 weeks later...

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