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What speechwriters and copywriters can learn from lyric writers


Are you a “word person” who enjoys the words in songs as much as the music?

TB vinyl

Ever since I was a kid I used to love studying the lyrics on albums. Even now I love studying the lyrics and the use of cadence and rhythm and rhyme.

Cadence: the modulation when you speak that comes from the structure  and ordering of the words.

When I was a political speechwriter I loved crafting memorable lines. I still study the transcripts of speeches that catch my ear.

These days, when writing newsletters and brochures and sales collateral I use similar techniques I learned from studying song lyrics as a kid.

A more recent song that impresses me is Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”.


Sure it’s got a fun, funky beat. The real reason I like it is: the rhythm and rhyme of the lyrics and lines such as:

We’ve…come to far… to give up.. who we are

The line “sounds so strong” that it sounds like a politician could say it in a grand speech. I understand the lyrics match the rhythm of the music.

Here’s my nerdy analysis of why it is so strong and how you can craft similarly strong words.

1. The strong repetitive rhythm using the strength of threes


come too far  – 3

to give up – 3

who we are – 3

Three groups of 3 with a slight pause after each group of 3.

The line sounds profound because of the repetitive strong cadence

2. the power of rhyme.

The simple rhyming of far and are – makes the line memorable

Advertising slogans and tag lines often use the power of rhyme.

Some powerful examples you can learn from

Whether or not you agree with Obama’s politics – he can deliver a good speech. His speeches have powerful cadence.

In fact often his words were put to music. This was also an effective way to make sure his words reached the younger voters and to re-purpose his words.

As you watch the video – notice the rhythm of 3 – the beat 1-2-3 and how it fits with O-Bam-a.

Here’s a link:

I alway remember when I first heard:

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. (pause) We are the change that we seek.

Here’s a another example:

Note how Yes We Can – uses the simple power of three

If we break it down you an see a similar strong cadence to the Get Lucky line – the strong repetitive rhythm and the pauses to let the message sink in.


are the ones  – 3

we’ve been waiting for. (pause) (4)

 (You don’t have to make every line 3  syllables – you can vary as long as you have some 3s. Note it’s the syllables not the words you “count”. )


are the change – 3

that we seek. – 3

Instead of rhyme – there is the poetic device of alliteration – the repetition of the W sounds – even in the One word.

We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. (pause) We are the change that we seek.

Anyway, I hope you benefit from this nerdy word and rhythm analysis. I love my music and lyrics and political speeches.

It’s who I am.

I hope to harness these word skills for good.

I’ve come too far to give up who I ARE! 🙂

Now…is the time. Time…to stand up. Time…to get down… to the sounds of Daft Punk.



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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips.

I’ve disciplined my self to check ALL my different communication platforms twice a day – as part of my Check-in Ritual.


tony biancotti


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One comment on “What speechwriters and copywriters can learn from lyric writers

  1. efangelist
    January 21, 2016

    Reblogged this on efangelist and commented:

    Harness the power of the rhythm of words to help your message sink in. Lyric writers who write words to go with the rhythm of music have a strong advantage!

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