Are there rules when it comes to songwriting? The first and most important rule is that you can write a song however you want to write your song. Does your song have to rhyme? Of course not!
It's all about your plans for the song. Does it have to rhyme if you're trying to write a number one hit that will get stuck in someone's head? Yes, maybe then you should consider having song lyrics that rhyme.
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Rhymes in music help people get a better feel for the song structure. It can make parts like the verse and chorus feel like they are sectioned out appropriately, with every 4 bars or so having a rhyme at the end of the phrase for cohesiveness.
As I mentioned, rhyming in songs also makes it so that the lyrics can get stuck in the listener's head fast and enjoy the song more than they possibly could without the rhyming scheme being present.
This is why so many pop songs depend heavily on rhyming, especially the more common rhyme schemes like AABB and ABAB.
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Also, rhyming in songs is just very impressive to do. It adds a lot to the art and creativity in a song and can be very impressive when done in ways that aren't common.
With all that being said, rhyming is not a must when it comes to writing a song. Your song may benefit from not having a rhyming scheme depending on the song's intent. Obscure genres and styles benefit from not following the rhyming trend in a song.
Sometimes, songwriters are too obsessed with ensuring we rhyme in our lyrics. When you focus too hard on trying to rhyme, you can mess up the creativity of your word flow and hinder the story behind the lyrics.
At the end of the day, the message behind the lyrics is more important than making sure they rhyme. But we can easily forget that, especially in styles like Rap, Pop, Country, and R&B.
If you find yourself spending way too much time trying to make things rhyme in your song, consider imperfect rhymes and similar-sounding words instead of following your rhyming scheme closely.
Most of the time, the listener will not even notice and will be more impressed with your general wordplay.
Avoid adding rhymes that are too common and have been used over and over to the point where the listener may be annoyed by hearing them.
Also, avoid adding lyrics that don't even make sense in the phrase just for the sake of having a rhyme. It's never that serious!
Don't believe me about songs not having to rhyme? Take some of these popular songs, for example. You might not have even noticed that they didn't rhyme because the song was so good without the need for a rhyming scheme.
Kelly Clarkson's "Because Of You" has barely any rhymes in the song. People actually told her that the song wouldn't be a hit just because it didn't rhyme enough, and look at how she proved them wrong with this one! These heavy lyrics carry enough of the load without the need for a rhyme scheme to follow.
This number one hit called "Need You Tonight" by INXS also doesn't have that much rhyming outside of the first verse and a few other sections.
Here's a song by Alanis Morissette called "Hand In My Pocket" which also barely rhymes. Actually, many of Alanis Morissette's songs purposely don't rhyme and focus on the lyrical message. I applaud her for going against the grain!
As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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