The type of lyrics you’ll want to write about really depends on the subgenre of EDM the song is. It may not seem like there’s a difference, but genre-affecting-lyrics in EDM songs are subtle and present.
For a blunt example, electro-swing lyrics are based on jazz lyrics, while the house is more generic. Dubstep takes portions of phrases and repeats them for the drop. Or just in general. Sierra Leone, by Mt Eden Dubstep, has one line for the entirety of the song. Levels, by Avicii – also one line. So, first:
- What genre is this song in?
Once you know that, you can actually go find other songs from the genre and either mash words together or just find something that you empathize with and write about.
Deep meaning for EDM songs is one thing: stuff like Don’t You Worry Child is emotional and quite deep, but you don’t have to have deep meaning if your drop is good.
With EDM, unless you specifically want to focus on the lyrics, it’s all about the music. And if you’ve got everything else, a really good drop, a verse, a chorus, without the need for lyrics, why have lyrics?
- Figure out if your song needs lyrics at all.
But let’s say that you do need lyrics… but your life seems so normal!
Just an idea: you know what normal is? Repetitive. Do you know what EDM is? Repetitive. (That’s not an indictment – repetitive is good.) Find some phrase that you say to yourself every day and … just repeat it a lot. It doesn’t even need to be sung. And also remember that Eat. Sleep. Rave. Repeat. was played at Tomorrowland. Those are the lyrics for that song, by the way. All of them. And they’re spoken, not sung.
Internet Friends is another example of a sample not being sung.
But you’re asking for ideas, I suppose…
Your life being normal is not normal for someone in, say, Washington DC. Not normal for someone in Miami. Not normal for someone in Australia. Not normal for someone in China. So make lyrics about your life! If you saw your life on (maybe really boring as you think) TV / Netflix, how would people dramatize it? Maybe come from a really epic backstory – maybe have something about to change (and from where?) – flashback to a meet-cute – losing a parent – quitting a job to focus on EDM –
It might seem normal to you, but you’ve definitely had hard times in your life. String ’em together and make sausage.
…That was a terrible metaphor. Please don’t use that in a lyric.
What I am about to say comes with a disclaimer; I cannot be held responsible for the outcome of following my advice so please do not follow my advice.
Right…… what you need to do is denormalise your life. So much great art is born from chaos. Rent a room/flat/house in an area where there are a lot of junkies/ravers/vagabonds etc and throw some parties. Steal a car, change the plates and drive as far as you can. Get in a fight. Fall in love with someone you can’t have. Empty your bank account and bet it all on red. Get on a game show and drop some acid just before they start filming. Convince other artists you admire and respect to let you tag along or crash on their floors for a couple of months. Go to Morocco. Sleep rough for a year. Get people to share their darkest secrets with you by developing the ability to listen without judging. Check yourself into a mental hospital. Take whatever drugs are going. Check yourself into rehab.
Hopefully at some point during this process, you will come up with the perfect lyrics to go with your tune.
If that does seem a bit like too much hassle here are some lyrics for you to use for the verse.
It wasn’t what I wanted but here we are.