Writing Songs: The Intriguing First Words

An intriguing opening line matched with a melodious hook or chorus, preferably with an intro that is not longer than 30 seconds, creates the right impact on the listener.

One can listen and relisten to their favourite songs, noticing how the first words (and the accompanying tunes) make an impact by catching our attention and pulling us in.

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  1. Open with a question, which makes the listener think.
  2. Open with a strong, bold statement.
  3. Open with a time frame, like the number of days or years something has happened.
  4. Open with a story.
  5. Open with a beautiful analogy or comparison.
  6. Use a contrast as an opening line.
  7. Use a line from a conversation to get the attention of the listener.
Song Opening Lines

Songwriting is a bit like dating. The first words make or break the impression.

A strong opening line in a song has to be interesting and mysterious. Like the Righteous Brothers sang in the song ‘You’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’: "You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your lips."

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Van Morrison once characterized Bob Dylan as the greatest living poet.
Pete Seeger said that the unmistakable elegance in Dylan's words has an almost biblical beauty that has sustained his songs throughout the years.

  • How is the financial health of the company? If the company is not doing well, this is not the time to ask for a raise. 
  • How is your manager’s workload? If your manager is under a lot of stress or focused on too many things right now, it may not be the time to ask for a raise. 
  • When is the best time of year to ask for a raise? The end of the fiscal year could be an option. Have you successfully completed a significant task or project? This could be a good time to ask for a raise.
Martha Graham

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.”

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