Flip Method #6 – Pairing
Clichés are great. They’re relatable, well-known and convey what we need to in a short and sweet way. However, because of all these same traits, they can also come off as dull and overused. In this blog post, we take a look at pairing – a method to flip around clichés to turn them into something new.
This article is a summarised transcript of the sixth and final part of our video “The Crazy Easy Trick to Write Great Lyrics (The Flip Method)’’. Click here to watch the video for more details, explanations and examples.
What is Pairing?
Pairing requires us to think of clichés as predictable word pairings instead of just famous phrases that we know. Some examples are “Hot and cold”, “Soft and hard” or “Up and down”. These are all pairings that very much make sense, as we’ve learnt them since we were children.
Predictable pairings need not be confined to only images. We could also use predictable rhyme pairings such as “Pain and rain”, “Love and above” and “Fire and desire”. The pairing method involves replacing a part of the predictable phrase with a different word, so as to create new and unexpected pairings in the process. So, for example, replace the word “Cold” in “Hot and cold” with something else.
If you’d like to experiment with this method, you can download this free PDF eBook entitled “The 5 Best Songwriting Exercises for Writing Great Lyrics”:
How to Practice Pairing
Take a phrase such as “If you are a bird, then I am the ___”. Then, fill in the blank with ten different kinds of words.
At the start of this exercise, you might come up with predictable words to fill in the blank with, such as “Wind”, “Sky” or “Clouds”. However, this isn’t a problem as it’s good to get the more predictable words out the way first, so that we can come up with more creative and interesting pairings later.
As an example, a cool word we can fill in the blank with is the word “Rifle”, to form the phrase “If you are a bird, then I am the rifle”. This paints a picture of a sort of toxic relationship between two people, as one exists to the detriment of the other. In fact, this line is actually used in a song called “The Bird and The Rifle” by Lori McKenna.
Conclusion: Flip Method #6 – Pairing
Crafting great lyrics takes time, effort and practice. Although it requires some extra thought from us, it’s still important to use the methods we’ve learnt such as pairing, to create lyrics that are both distinct and relatable.
And if you’re interested in more ideas, tools, techniques, and inspiration for your lyric writing make sure to check out this playlist that we have made just for you
Level up your songwriting with five radically practical exercises used by professional songwriters around the world: