Jonathan Coulton Demonstrates Super Cool Lyric Technique

One of Songville's fine neighbours, Spencer Capier, just sent me this video for "The Future Soon" by Jonathan Coulton. The song is a quirky and charming piece of writing, and it happens to illustrate a secret lyrical weapon that's hard to explain but can really make a song flow.

In each verse of this song, certain lines end in words that rhyme with the previous line, but then flow on to another word. It gives the song a wink and a roll that it wouldn't otherwise have. Check it out and consider putting this particular tool (or some variation of it) in your lyrical toolkit.



Pay special attention to these lyrics:

Excerpts from The Future Now (Jonathan Coulton)

Verse 1:

Last week I left a note on Laura's desk
It said I love you signed anonymous friend
Turns out she's smarter than I thought she was
She knows I wrote it, now the whole class does too ...

Verse 2:
I'll end world hunger I'll make dolphins speak
Work through the daytime, spend my nights and weekends ...

Verse 3:
I'll see her standing by the monorail
She'll look the same except for bionic eyes
She lost the real ones in the robot wars
I'll say I'm sorry, she'll say it's not your fault
Or is it?

See what we mean? Do you have any other examples of this technique?
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3 comments:

violet said...

Good technique/trick for poets too.

And congrats on the many shortlisted WG Award entries! You should bring home some gold (as in a little pin) for sure... (Are you going to Write! Canada?)

Mark.D said...

Heya! Got an answer: Cole Porter . . . Anything Goes

Here are the lyrics and how they're sung . . .not necessarily how they're written. And this song definitely has a wink and a roll . . . and a bounce!


In olden days a glimpse of stocking
Was looked on as something shocking now Heaven knows,
Anything goes

Good authors too who once knew better wordsNow only use four letter words writing prose
Anything goes

The world has gone mad today
And good's bad today
And black's white today
And day's night today
When most guys today
That women prize today
Are just silly gigolos

So though I'm not a great romancerI know that you're bound to answer when I propose
Anything goes

Judy Rodman said...

Alanis Morrisette rather broke this open-ended lyric writing style wide open, too. She opened me up to so much more out of the box thinking as a songwriter, I've never been the same since.

Isn't it ironic, don'tcha think?