I want to write a love song for my girlfriend.
I’m 32 and we’ve been dating for a year. Is that too soon? I don’t know, but I know that I want to write something I can sing on my guitar for our anniversary.
This guide is for anybody else looking to do the same for their boyfriend or girlfriend. I’ve posted my lyrics at the end.
Listen for inspiration
First off, I recommend listening to some music you love for inspiration about how to write a couple song for your boyfriend or girlfriend.
These are two fairly different songs in tone and style, but they present a similar scenario: a man is really in love and he wants to sing about it.
Once you have the kernel of inspiration, start small.
I found it helpful to draw and write out a mind map. This included the main subject of the song (my love for my girlfriend) and then had different things attached to that such as memories, important dates, emotions and dreams.
This mind map got me thinking of what I really wanted to say and boiling it down to the crux of my message. This was helpful because I began to see several main themes emerge.
While there is a lot I love about my girlfriend and our relationship, the mind map helped me chart those cornerstones of our relationship that have me even more committed one year in than I was at the start.
Your goal here should be to come up with something of a story on a timeline. The key is that it doesn’t have to be linear, it can be in any order you want. But it should tell the listener, which is your partner, a love story about you and him or her.
Get the structure down pat
I recommend a four-part structure. Think of this as A, B, C, D.
In my case my story is about how my girlfriend changed my life and brought me out of my “shell” so-to-speak.
So in part A, I talk about being in my shell and what it was like.
In part B, I discuss meeting my girlfriend and the first “cracks” in my shell.
In part C I talk about my shell breaking wide open and some of my best memories so far with my partner-in-crime.
In part D (the bridge) I talk about our future dreams together of getting married and having our own home and a family.
For the rhyme scheme I went with something very simple:
ABAB, Chorus, CDCD, Chorus, EFEF, Bridge (GGGG), Chorus.
Of course, you can vary this in any way you wish, really. If you’d like, check out some of your favorite songs online and see what rhyme scheme and chorus structure they use.
Take, for example, one of the most iconic love songs of the past few decades: “I Want To Know What Love Is” by Foreigner.
This uses a simple verse rhyme scheme of ABAB x 2, then transitions to a pre-chorus of CDDA and a chorus of EFEF. If you look closely you’ll also notice a lot of internal rhyme and assonance (matching internal vowel sounds).
This is the sign that some truly talented songsters were at work on a piece, which is certainly the case here, as this 1984 hit from Foreigner’s album Agent Provocateur was written by the talented band member Mick Jones with an assist from fellow band member Lou Gramm.
I’ve gotta take a little time (A)
A little time to think things over (B)
I better read between the lines (A)
In case I need it when I’m older (B)
This mountain, I must climb (A)
Feels like a world upon my shoulders (B)
Through the clouds, I see love shine (A)
Keeps me warm as life grows colder (B)
In my life, there’s been heartache and pain (C)
I don’t know if I can face it again (C)
Can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far (D)
To change this lonely life (A)
I wanna know what love is (E)
I want you to show me (F)
I wanna feel what love is (E)
I know you can show me (hey) (F)
In addition to the power ballad sound of this love song and its heartfelt emotions, the songwriting really flows effortlessly. Jones says the lyrics and melody just randomly came to him one night around 3 a.m.
What’s clear is that a lot of fine crafting also went into the rhymes and getting it just right.
That’s just what an amazing love song does: it comes across as something you’ve heard before even when you haven’t. Its words feel like they need to be right where they are, and it’s memorable and catchy.
Its emotions and words stick with you long after the last chord, and you may even find yourself humming it or remembering it at random moments even years after having not heard it.
Now, your goal for your girlfriend or boyfriend’s song may be more modest. But why not aim high, right?
A cookie cutter song?
I think I speak for all of us when I say nobody wants to receive a cookie-cutter song from the love of their life. I sure don’t. It would be super cringe.
However, there is a formula of sorts which you can use to craft your song. Feel free to use or not use this at your own discretion.
Here is my 10-step process for writing a song for your boyfriend or girlfriend.
1. Decide on your medium
Will your song be accompanied by guitar, piano, ukelele, drums or perhaps be only vocal? Will the genre be pop, classical, rap, operetta, heavy metal, folk or synthwave? Maybe something else entirely?
Decide this based on what you play, or what the person or people you’ll be getting to play the song know how to play.
In my case, I will be playing on a 12-string guitar.
2. Write down a central idea
What is the central idea of your song? Mine is that my girlfriend brought me out of my shell and allowed me to be my real self.
Other examples include:
- Talking about your partner’s beautiful heart
- Discussing how their love has exceeded your expectations
- Joking about funny times you’ve had as a couple
- Opening up about what annoys you about them but in a hilarious way
3. Write down the three main emotions you want your partner to feel
What do you want your partner to feel when they hear the notes chime, strum or sound and the words flow by?
I want my girlfriend to feel amazed, in love and appreciated.
Perhaps you want your partner to feel amused, valued and surprised.
Or maybe you want him or her to feel supported, appreciated and comforted.
Decide on what three primary emotions you would like your partner to feel in this couple song.
4. Write down the first verse
The first verse is where the rubber hits the road.
I recommend starting with a strong memory or time in your story as a couple.
It could be when you first met, had a big fight or when you first kissed. It could be the embarrassing time you both tried to ask each other out and kept stuttering.
Start simple. The first verse doesn’t have to be long and winding. Keep it centrally focused.
5. Take the main idea and put it in chorus
Now after your first verse (or first two verses if you’d like to do two) you have your chorus.
Go back to step 2 and take the main theme of your song. Make sure your chorus is about that.
In my case, my main theme is how my girlfriend let me be my real self, so you’ll notice my chorus is all about that.
6. Use the bridge to lead to future
The bridge is generally the last semi-verse leading into the last chorus. Make this about the future if possible.
Try to make it down to earth and funny if possible, or simple and heartfelt if you’re going for more of a serious love song.
When it comes to love songs, you don’t have to say it all straight out. The two songs I used as my inspiration are pretty straightforward, but you can afford to be more subtle if you’d like.
Here’s my song
Without further ado, here’s my song. You’ll see how I follow my own advice here with respect to the above guide and stick to a fairly simple structure.
You’ll notice I borrowed from the title of a Rolling Stones album in line two.
A simple guy with wandering feet, (A)
Just an exile on Main Street (A)
Never looking up much at all (B)
Not much to see in the foggy fall (B)
Meeting you was a splash of color, (D)
That turned my gray world upside down(E)
Coming out after the spring thaw (E)
You made me see a new world all around (E)
You let me be
The real me
The real me
And I really love…
The real you
Your smile wakes up a part of me I thought was long gone, (F)
We’re sharing this life and our love’s going strong (F)
There’s no way to explain what I feel around you (G)
Maybe it’s a miracle or maybe you’re just you (G)
Where does life go from here? (A)
Whether we are far or near…(A)
I trust our path will continue on (F)
As we journey together arm-in-arm…(F)
That’s my song.
Let’s hope she likes it!
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If you want specific advice on your situation, it can be very helpful to speak to a relationship coach.
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