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Five Awesomely Bad Lyrical Clichés

August 9, 2010

Great vocalists aren’t always great lyricists. Sometimes a stylish turn-of-phrase spreads like a virus, becoming a common nuisance. Here are 5 lyrical clichés I’ve noticed, taken (mostly) from my iTunes library. I’ve identified “Worst Offenders,” and doled out “Free Passes” to musicians who’ve managed to pull off the cliché.

#5. Blood


This is especially overdone in the “emo” genre. Too many musicians think mentioning blood/bleeding  automatically makes lyrics super raw and totally intense.

Worst Offender: The Used – “Let It Bleed” (No explanation needed.)

Free Pass: The Rolling Stones – “Let It Bleed” (Because it actually fits without sounding emo.)

#4. “Hold on”

Uh, to what? My heart? My pants? My money?

Don't let go!


Worst Offender: Jonas Brothers – “Hold On” (Something about it just makes me cringe.)

Free Pass: Good Charlotte – “Hold On” (Actual meaningful use of the phrase.)

#3. Comparing/Equating Love to Intoxication

Alright, I get it—love makes you feel funny. Stop beating a dead horse.

And by "wasted" I mean "in love."

Worst Offender: Boys Like Girls- “Love Drunk” (Seriously, have you heard this song?)

Free Pass: You know what–I’m not even giving a free pass on this one.

#2. Medication References

You must feel like, so tortured to compare your bad relationship/unrequited love/lost dog to being sick. Or, your shrink recommended Prozac and now you feel, like, so totally edgy and artistic.

HaPpY PiLlz LoL!

Worst offender: Boys Like Girls – “Me, You And My Medication” (Once again, no explanation needed.)

Free Pass: AFI – “Medicate” (When you’re AFI, you can pretty much get away with anything.)


Ideally, this is used for one of two things: 1) showing you are so overcome with emotion, you cannot even use words, or 2) giving the audience something to sing to. Unfortunately, it’s become a placeholder for real lyrics that were never actually written.


Worst Offender: Every “sensitive” emo-pop band.

Free Pass: AFI – Every song. (See #2)

So, what’s your favorite/most detested lyrical cliché?


Girl At The Show

Photo credits: click the images to view their pages of origin.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 10, 2010 4:32 pm

    LOL I loved this. Great post!!

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