Concept-Driven Lyrics

Added on Wednesday 6 Jul 2011

Behind most great songs is a great idea or concept. A concept is a lyrical blueprint for the song (and its authors) to follow. A strong concept usually equates to a great song.

Write down the concept of the song in prose (the un-poetry sort of writing down the simple points of a story) when you start the song, and refer back to it frequently to make sure your lyrics stay on course. The concept is also referred to as a song’s premise — basically, a one- or two-sentence sum-up of what the song is about. If you can’t distill your idea into one or two sentences, perhaps your idea is too complex for one song or you lack a clear idea of what you want to say.

In many songwriting sessions, you may look back at the initial concept of the song and realize it has somehow morphed into something else. If this happens, you’ll have to decide just which song you want to write. You may have two songs in one, and that’s never a good thing. The focus of your song must be clear, or you run the risk of confusing the listener.

Don’t let the word concept intimidate you. A concept can be extremely simple — in fact, most successful songs have simple ideas driving them.


Click this link to download two free tracks plus a unique ringtone

Songwriting blog archive

» Click here to get two free tracks and a free ringtone.

Enter your name & email
address and get your free
copy of Down by the Wildwood

You will be added Jim's acoustic music adventures mailing list.

What the critics said about 'Every day is sunshine' by Jim Byrne.

  • "a heady and exotic mix. " Q Magazine.
  • "..full of cinematic turns of phrase, dressed up in alluring melodies delivered by some of the most respected players on the modern-day Celtic Folk scene." UNCUT
  • Album of the week on Celtic Music Radio
  • Added to 'God's Jukebox' on Radio Two Mark Lamarr show
  • "A beautifully produced collection of Americana" The Daily Record. Four Stars
  • "Great record... a complete, compelling listen. ", Adam Levy (Songwriter/artist, guitarist with Nora Jones)
  • "ten beautiful, atmospheric songs..", Folk, Blues and beyond
  • "a fresh, original album", Eilidh Patterson (singer songwriter, vocalist with Beth Nielsen Chapman)
  • Sounding like Johnny Cash never left Folsom prison...meditations on life that'll soon sound like old friends. Spiral Earth

Buy from iTunes today