Stuck in a writing rut?
I've spent more time than I care to admit searching online for some direction to an outlet. It's hard to settle on a topic when you're just not passionate about it. However, if you have a knack for spontaneous symbolism, what better place to dig up a solid metaphor than in music?
Anytime you're stuck, pull up your library and hit shuffle. Start thinking about what the lyrics are saying and ask yourself the following:
What inspired the artist to produce this?
What kind of emotion does this provoke?
Is there more than one message here?
Is there a bigger picture?
Here's a few selections from various genres to help get you back on track:
1. "What Do I Know" (Ed Sheeran)
Lyric: "Just remember life is more than fitting in your jeans; it's love and understanding positivity." (1:48)
Themes: Not stressing over trivial things, body positivity, different definitions of love and how people express it in a given relationship (not just romantic), what truly matters at the end of the day.
2. "Million Reasons" (Lady Gaga)
Lyric: "I bow down to pray, I try to make the worst seem better; Lord, show me the way to cut through all his worn out leather." (0:45)
Themes: The concept of religion, how people rely on religion to persevere, positivity outweighing negativity, God's "plan."
3. "No Such Thing as a Broken Heart" (Old Dominion)
Lyric: "Cry when it hurts, laugh when it's funny; chase after the dream, don't chase after the money." (1:15)
Themes: Wondering about the future, what happens behind closed doors, not letting fear stop you from taking risks, media and its effect on the youth, parenting, mistakes being a natural part of life.
4. "Liquor Store Blues" (Bruno Mars ft. Damian Marley)
Lyric: "I'll take one shot for my pain, one drag for my sorrow; I'll get messed up today, I'll be OK tomorrow." (0:42)
Themes: Drinking to forget, habitual smoking, why people turn to substances, personal experience using different substances, living in a rut, trying to make it day to day.
5. "Lightning Bolt" (Pearl Jam)
Lyric: "And with no repair in sight, there is no god with such might as you open her world wide with subterfuge; and your death will soon arrive as she finally decides that all her problems, they won't die with you." (2:55)
Themes: The immense impact one person can have on another, keeping all of your problems to yourself, constantly dealing with deceit, the concept of not knowing what you have until it's gone, self-esteem issues.
6. "Dammit" (blink-182)
Lyric: "And it'll happen once again, you'll turn to a friend, someone that understands and sees through the master plan; but everybody's gone, and you've been there for too long to face this on your own; well, I guess this is growing up." (1:49)
Themes: Venting to a friend, having/being someone who tells it like it is, dealing with something stressful for way too long, breaking the cycle of a toxic relationship.
7. "Not Afraid" (Eminem)
Lyric: "And I just can't keep living this way, so starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage. I'm standing up, I'ma face my demons; I'm manning up, I'ma hold my ground. I've had enough, now I'm so fed up, time to put my life back together right now!" (2:38)
Themes: Reclaiming and redefining life, perseverance, retaliation, aiming high, not missing the ride on the way to the top.
8. "Mama Said" (Lukas Graham)
Lyric: "I know which place I'm from, I know my home. When I'm in doubt and struggling, that's where I go; an old friend can give advice, where new friends only know a half story, that's why I always keep 'em tight and why I'm OK." (1:58)
Themes: Long-term vs. short-term friends, family ties, appreciating what you have instead of dwelling on what you don't, capitalism, bullying.
9. "Confession" (Florida Georgia Line)
Lyric: "I light up the night and let it burn, lean back and watch the sundown fade; do what I do when life's a little sideways." (0:47)
Themes: Slowing down, regrouping, late night talks with friends and family, being honest with yourself, owning up to the past.
10. "Heartache Tonight" (The Eagles)
Lyric: "Some people like to stay out late,some folks can't hold out that long; but nobody wants to go home now, there's too much going on." (1:03)
Themes: Night life, extrovert vs. introvert, being addicted to drama, having great instincts when it comes to making predictions, seeing something unpleasant but not being able to look away, anticipating and accepting the inevitable.
If you didn't find the inspiration here, take a peek at your own playlist. You'll be surprised at how many ideas are hidden in-between the lines!