Keep it simple

You know how sometimes you feel so close to stepping up to a new level of awareness in a certain area, that you can almost touch it, but just as you are about to take that final leap, a veil is drawn down and the road, that a moment ago was so clear, gets foggy again?

Well, that is where I feel I am at with my lyric writing. So close, yet somehow so far. The one thing that is getting clearer to me is that the best thing to do, is to keep the language simple. This goes a bit against the grain for me because you could say that collecting words is a bit of a hobby of mine. I love learning new, sometimes rather peculiar, words. When I moved to England a friend and I used to play a game on longer car journeys to extend my vocabulary. We used to find a word and then try to find as many words as possible that rhymed with that word. This way I heard a lot of new words and little by little added them to my language.

I took a test a few years back to find out how many words I know in first, my mother tongue Swedish, and later the same test to see where I stood in English. The results showed that I have a Swedish vocabulary around 53 000 words, whilst my English knowledge of words stopped at around 32 000. That is a vast difference, so maybe it’s a good thing that I have realised that the best language for song lyrics is a simple one.

Then again, managing to paint an interesting story in simple words, is an amazing art form and personally I have a wee way to travel before I can call myself a master of that skill. The best thing is that the penny has finally dropped. Thanks to this I can start to concentrate my time on stories worth telling and telling well in a down to earth simple language. Instead of trying to find complicated rhymes and less known synonyms, I need to think of a good enough story that stands out even when told in the simplest of words. Somehow, I think that is the equation for successful song-lyrics.

I wrote a few lines with this equation in mind a couple of nights ago. It is very much a work in progress, but the first two verses go like this;


Destiny Calling
It was the 16th of June -91
The day when destiny knocked on my door.
The Crystal ball in my gut warned for clouds,
my need to meet you meant so, so much more.

I wore a mint coloured top and worn jeans.
I grabbed my camera, note pad and pen.
The breeze felt warm, in my highlighted hair.
I was so happy that day, way back then.


Before going any further with these lyrics, I have a decision to make. Shall I bubble wrap the story and contain it as a happy one-day memory, or shall I invite people in to a possible nightmare that could come further down the road? All because of this first meeting about to happen on a warm evening in June. At the moment I’m leaning towards containing the story to this one very happy day, but this is also why I’m struggling with the chorus. I suppose it could go something like this.


You were tall, dark and handsome.
It was love at first sight.
You were twice as old as me.
Could be wrong, but felt so right!
I felt destiny calling,
when I met you that night.
Yes, it was destiny calling that night!…
©2018 Åsa Sandberg


Something like that, for now. I have a scrappy third verse not fit for viewing yet and an idea for a bridge that has come while writing the blog, so it’s getting there. I don’t know if this one will ever get any further than sitting as a file in my Dropbox, but that’s not the point. This lyric is first and foremost me training myself to keep my words simple around a specific story, and so far I feel I’ve done that.


When I have completed the lyric, and if I feel it has turned out well enough, I promise to show it to you.


Until then; take care and happy writing!




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