It is nice to love and be loved, so the fact that so many artists turn to love for inspiration is no surprise. While Nick Cave has described love songs as “a howl in the void”, they don’t really have to be that morbid. Love songs have the potential to be brilliant (Wichita Lineman). But they also have the potential to be trainwrecks (Your Body is a Wonderland). Julie Landers is optimistic and believes everyone has a love song in them, including you! Here, she has laid out a few tips on how to write a nice love song for someone you care deeply about and to get laid.

  1. Fall in love with someone whose name rhymes with a lot of other words. John is a good shout (John! I’ve written you this song! It’s really not that long. Your t-shirt is from Billabong), and so is Grace (Grace! Look at your face! You are hard to replace!) Otherwise, give your SO a nickname that sounds good in songs (i.e. ‘honey’) and hope they don’t question why you started calling them that two days before Valentine’s Day.
  2. Think about why you’re writing a love song. Some people write a love song to show off their own assumed musicality, or their command of language. Others write them because (get this!) the person they’re writing about is so wonderful and gorgeous that every time they think about them they want to sing! Cute right? So before putting pen to paper, think about the intentions of what you’re doing. Are you doing it to show off? To be complimented on your singing? To be recognised by a record-label representative who just happens to walk by as you’re singing and offer you a contract? If your reasons are that self-serving, then maybe you should get your SO a plant for Valentine’s Day. Less can go wrong there.
  3. What is it about your SO exactly that has caught you so off guard that you need to write it out? 
  4. Avoid the extravagant language of love songs gone by. People tie themselves up in knots trying to adorn their songs with flowery words that have no particular direction or intention. It’s fun to be blunt and direct. Angels can rejoice in heavenly exaltation at the sight of your SO’s eyes, sure, but don’t lose sight of the earthly. Points of reference in the language of reality help to locate a love in relation to them, thus it’s never fully lost to pure poetry. 
  5. Related to the previous point: you are writing the love song for a particular person. How do they appear in your words? Anything can be your ‘sunshine on a rainy day’, your ‘spoonful of sugar’. But who’s your Rizla when you’ve left your skins at home? Who’s your bench outside the library? The love you share with this person has a specific temporality; you know what you have seen and lived. Turn to that for your words, not to the card section at Tesco. 
  6. A Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Chorus-Chorus structure is a classic and it means that if you really can’t think of the words to say then you can repeat them for ‘emotional narrative effect’. 
  7. Instrumental accompaniment should take the form of something that you can play while singing. This rules out the most romantic instrument of all, the kazoo. Your words must thus compensate for the absence of its heavenly, sultry tones.
  8. Your SO is not obliged to like the song. 
  9. If you and your SO break up and you meet another stunning human to share your life with, don’t recycle your love songs you cheapskate. 
  10. Music is weird and if you don’t follow a single one of these tips, power to you. Don’t fall in love with a man called John. Take every single facet of your SO that you love and write a long-winded ballad about it. Play your kazoo. 
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