Do music lyrics NEED to rhyme?

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HIMSteveO

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As the topic asks, do you think non-hip-hop song lyrics need to rhyme? I've noticed that a lot of older metal bands (Metallica is the most obvious example) make their lyrics rhyme, but it always sounds awkward and forced to me. With line length generally being shorter than those of hip-hop verses, and the better hip-hop artists (Eminem, Cole, Lupe, Nas) creating multi-syllabic rhymes, internal rhymes, and complex word-bending to make rhymes happen, the rhyme patterns/rhymes don't come across well. And when I've listened to bands' music that don't constantly force rhymes (Coheed, Opeth, Vulvodynia, Infant Annihilator), it sounds better to me and isn't distracting.

Am I just weird on this one? Am I overthinking this (pretty likely...)? What do others think?

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Onemanarmyy

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#2  Edited By Onemanarmyy

Nah it doesn't have to rhyme. I will say that if you're writing a popsong, and the chorus has one or two catchy rhymes to it, that's something that will hang around in your head much easier than a chorus that has no rhyme in it at all. But even there, there are no hard rules to follow. Like Britney - Toxic was a massive pop hit and it's chorus has no rhyming to it. Tox-ic, Slip-ping, Un-der do sound fairly catchy with their two syllables when you put them after eachother though. And i bet that listeners somewhat enjoy the sound of 'Poison Paradise' because both words start with a P. It does rely on rhyming throughout the verses though.

With the taste of your lips

I'm on a ride

You're toxic I'm slippin' under (Ohh Ohh)

With a taste of the poison paradise

I'm addicted to you

Don't you know that you're toxic?

And I love what you do

Don't you know that you're toxic?

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cikame

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#3  Edited By cikame

Not at all, if the song is good i don't notice if it doesn't rhyme, however when something rhymes really well or in clever ways it gets bonus points with me, but it's not something i'm thinking about as i'm listening.
Had a quick look at Tool for an example, i thought Stinkfist didn't rhyme but it actually does occasionally, but i'll use Schism here, i don't know if some of the rhymes are intentional but it works with the way he sings it, just an interesting way to do it.

"I know the pieces fit cuz I watched them fall away
Mildewed and smoldering. Fundamental differing.
Pure intention juxtaposed will set two lovers souls (might be a rhyme) in motion
Disintegrating as it goes testing our communication"

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FacelessVixen

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It's a 60/40 split in favor of not rhyming with death metal; at least, I didn't notice any when listening to "I Cum Blood" by Cannibal Corpse.

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geirr

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Nope.

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The_Nubster

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#6  Edited By The_Nubster

No. Music is poetry and poetry doesn't need to rhyme. There are plenty of literary devices which you'll pick up on subconsciously that aren't outright rhyming, and they're just as valid.

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ajamafalous

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It's fairly common for more 'progressive' genres of music to not worry about rhyming at all.

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fisk0

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#8  Edited By fisk0  Moderator

@the_nubster said:

No. Music is poetry and poetry doesn't need to rhyme. There are plenty of literary devices which you'll pick up on subconsciously that aren't outright rhyming, and they're just as valid.

I think the thing here is that poetry is all about stress patterns, and rhyming is an "easy" way to find two words that usually share the same stress pattern.

I can definitely think of a few punk bands that don't even try to be 'poetic', and it works really well as "political essays with punk backing tracks" or whatever too, so even that's not a necessity for me, but I think most lyrics, even when they don't rhyme, tend to be written with some stress pattern in mind.

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Subscryber

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#9  Edited By Subscryber

@onemanarmyy: But that chorus does rhyme. Paradise and ride are slant rhymes, and it's actually easy to get away with slant rhymes in a song, because what's emphasized is the sustained vowel sound, "eye." Also, "addicted to you," and "love what you do" rhyme. Then, of course, we can't discount that this chorus also pays pretty good attention to its meter to create "symmetry" that way.

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Onemanarmyy

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#10  Edited By Onemanarmyy

@subscryber: You are completely right. I spent like 1 minute to think about a popsong without rhyme and picked a wrong one. My bad!

Have a Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill instead. Mostly reliant on repetition. Although you could argue that could and god are words that are not a world apart neither.

If I only could,

I'd make a deal with God,

And I'd get him to swap our places,

Be running up that road,

Be running up that hill,

Be running up that building.

If I only could, oh

Sheryl Crow - All I wanna Do relies on 1 syllable words and repetition

'Cause all I wanna do is have some fun

I got a feeling I'm not the only one

All I wanna do is have some fun

I got a feeling I'm not the only one

Goo Goo Dolls - Iris

And I don't want the world to see me

'Cause I don't think that they'd understand

When everything's made to be broken

I just want you to know who I am

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wollywoo

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#13  Edited By wollywoo

It's an odd question in that the answer is obviously no, lyrics don't have to rhyme. However, what's interesting to me is how often they do rhyme, considering that most modern poetry has long ago abandoned this structure. I'd guess the answer is that while poetry leaves all the choice of cadence to whoever recites it, music has a defined rhythm and is generally sung in *roughly* the same way. Repetition is an important element of most music, and rhyming is a device that helps reinforce the repetitive structure. It also helps you memorize the lyrics much more easily (whether you want to or not).

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ghost_cat

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You know what they say: rules are made to be broken.

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jppt1974

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Not all songs but love the rhymes due to the fact of in the being of meaning there. Just saying on it!

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sajidkhan187

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#16  Edited By sajidkhan187

No, Never The chorus of your pop song will stick in your head far easier if it has a few catchy rhymes to it rather than one with no rhymes. Despite this, there are no unbreakable rules.

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Hamst3r

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You don't have to, but rhymes are fun. But I'm also of the opinion that vocals are potentially the best or worst part of any song, and a lot of the time they're the worst, and a lot of that is due to the lyrics. Lyrics are hard!

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monkeyking1969

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It does not have to rhyme, but then there are all sorts of way to rhyme. The amount of rhyme schemas and the cadence of words gives everything some sort of structure.

What give me headaches is when a song might have five stanzas (or whatever you want to call it). The first three stanza nd chorses match and might rhyme, but the something happens and the structure is not repeated for teh rest of the song....for whatever reason.

I notice some rock band have been doing this lately, they start with a structure in a song, but then abandon that structure. I'm not sure if ist is to keep the song short...radio play time or just their producer want each song under 90 seconds.??? Who knows.

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Nocall

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If you have young kids, you may have heard some pink fong “songs”. They’re the folks that made baby shark. Their “songs” are some of the most low effort bullshit music that I have ever heard. There is not rhyming or internal rhythm, it’s basically stream of thought idiocy. Here, I’ll make one up about… airplanes.

I am an airplane, look at me! I fly high in the clouds (so high!). I fly very fast and carry passengers, it’s so much fun flying in an airplane.

My point is…yeah, a song might not need to rhyme, but there should be some element of artistry and forethought that goes into lyrics.