I am a songwriter, poet, and a translator of songs from Russian. I’ll share some of the best song lyrics from songs I’ve written and songs I’ve translated from Russian poets and songwriters.
The most interesting lyric I’ve written was in a song called “Oh Michelangelo” in which I take Michelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel painting called “The Birth Of Adam” which depicts a sensitive touch between two hands, and reimagined it as a moment of lovers connecting in a magical touch. At one point of the song, there is a line that I think is my best:
“Our eyes close as my fingers track new Sistine Chapels along your back.”
Picture caressing a woman’s back so gently that it’s almost like painting something beautiful along her back, and not something simply beautiful but Sistine Chapels. As a writer, I am happiest with how this line came out more than any other line I’ve written. There is a perfect amount of metaphor, imagination, and sweetness packed into just a few words.
Here is the full song:
In the same song there is also a line:
“You’re breathing with me, our souls have met.”
As a writer, the lyric “our souls have met is quite satisfying. It took me weeks to put the magic of that touch into words.
Best Song Lyrics – When Shakespeare’s Lines Are In the Song
One of my proudest moments of writing was when I was able to take some of Shakespeare’s best quotes and use them in an original song. In this “Shakespeare song” for lack of a better song title, I took four of Shakespeare’s most famous quotes and sprinkled them throughout the lyrics of an original song. The song has two versions. Here is the acoustic, unplugged version with mostly my vocal and guitar:
Here is the same song with richer instruments and more production (something closer to what you’d hear on MTV or on the radio):
If you want to guess which lyrics in the song are by Shakespeare, go ahead. If you just want to know the answer, these are the lyrics:
“Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.” – Shakespeare
“You have witchcraft on your lips.” – Shakespeare
“In your heart of hearts” – Shakespeare
“Good night, good night. Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight til it be morrow.” – Shakespeare
In addition to Shakespeare’s lyrics, there are a couple I am proud of that are mine:
“It was us in his new tale of love. Fifty years we’ll dance with stars above, on Romeo and Juliet’s balcony….”
The line itself is just OK, but in the song, when it’s highlighted and elevated by music, the image of you and your partner dancing on Romeo and Juliet’s balcony is quite a powerful visual.
What Makes Some Of Best Song Lyrics
Songs are poems, but only kind of. It’s not a 100% overlap. Song lyrics are quite different than poetry lyrics in that song lyrics get a lot of their power from their musicality and how they work with the overall musical arrangement, and the melody of the song.
The goal of poetry and music writing is to create relatable imagery in a person’s mind. If the lyrics can create an image, that image will evoke an emotional response. In music, the emotional response can come from additional sources like the way the singer sings, the music that’s played, or their combination. Music just has more elements at work that create a more powerful effect when they all work at their peak potential.
Best Song Lyrics – When They Are A Slice Of Life
Here is a war song that starts out as a farewell song about naive cadets who seek adventure and don’t know what’s coming. That’s common and can be found in many songs and poems. But there is a “lightning strike” moment just past the middle point of the song where the cadets are going off to fight while the lyrics are “…while another man comforts your lady.” Since this is a translation from a Russian song, when I play it to live English-speaking audiences who hear that lyric for the first time, there are often gasps in the audience. Here is the full song:
Best Song Lyrics In A Song For My Daughter Or Any Newborn
When my daughter was born, I held her, looked her in the eyes, and wondered about how her life will go. Of course, there are no answers in that moment so I imagined the answers in a song. There are many nice lines in this song, but my favorite line is:
“You’ll face the world before long, and flowers will bloom as you skip along.”
I wanted to paint the picture of flowers blooming wherever she goes in life, and have that image be a gift to her. This is something most new parents can relate to so I was hoping that this song would be a nice Father’s Day or Mother’s Day song. Here is the full song: