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Write great #lyrics with contrast and drama – like “According to You”

Want to write great lyrics that really connect with  and intrigue people?

This post was inspired by hearing my young daughter singing a song around the house – According to You.

Even just listening to a little girl singing the words – I thought “what a compelling and deep song!”

Then, when we’d hear the song on the car radio – my daughter would ask me to TURN IT UP!




Being a real “word nerd” and “lyric nerd”, I studied the lyrics and I wanted to find out more about the songwriter.

Even before I investigated – I suspected the that the writer was probably more “mature and worldly”, a veteran songwriter, and probably with a country music influence – and I was correct. At the end of this post, I’ll link to a great article about the writer – if you are interested, as I am, in the people behind the songs.


What I love so much about this song – and what YOU can learn from –  is:

1. tapping into such a deep human need – that is common to people of all ages and backgrounds – the need to have someone who “get’s them” And the frustration of being with someone who doesn’t get them.


As the song says:

I need to feel appreciated,

like I’m not hated. 

2. powerful the contrasts – note the contrasts between the downbeat verses and the upbeat chorus and then back again to the downbeat

3. the drama and suspense of what is going to happen

Will the singer leave the person who doesn’t appreciate her? Or stay in her unhappy, unappreciated relationship (such a sad Country music flavour!)


I love how the song doesn’t tell you and you can form your own “ending”


What do you think? I’m keen to hear your interpretation – please share in the comments section below.


For me (According to me) , I sadly suspect that the singer will stay in the bad relationship.


Why? Because the song ends back on the downbeat and the final lyric is: I can’t do anything right.

That’s just my interpretation.


Why should I care – it’s only a song?


But that’s the power of good lyrics. They make you care about the “characters” and what happens to them.


Anyway, maybe I care about lyrics too much! If you are reading this – you probably really like lyrics and stories too.

So action steps for you to write some great lyrics:


1. tap into human needs

2. use the power of contrasts – conflicting points of view. Also, if possible, show the contrasts musically – with volume, pitch, even mood through key

3. if possible, let the listeners create their own ending to the story





Here are links to the article about the songwriter (co-writer): Steve Diamond – and to a clip of the song (with lyrics)


Also, I’ll link to some other posts about the power of good lyrics!






1. how-to-write-vividly-like-a-movie-camera-changing-angles-and-scenes-down-in-the-tube-station-at-midnight/

2. /what-writers-can-learn-from-billy-bragg-the-sting-in-the-tail-trick



Here’s the background of the writer (well, the co-writer, to be accurate) – with more of the background of this great song that in my opinion resonates with so many generations.

Steve Diamond – Songwriter background


And here’s a link to a clip (with lyrics):


and please remember to share your interpretation of how the story ends – according to you 🙂



SAA bgrd


If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.

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


Linked In – under Tony Biancotti

Or you can follow this blog.

These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication etc. I like to help people COPE.











One comment on “Write great #lyrics with contrast and drama – like “According to You”

  1. efangelist
    January 15, 2015

    Reblogged this on efangelist.

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