The Power of Personification in Songwriting

The Power of Personification in Songwriting

Personification is a literary device that gives human characteristics to non-human things. This can also be a powerful tool in songwriting, as it can help to create vivid imagery, evoke emotions, and make the lyrics more relatable.

Here are some ways to use personification in song lyrics:

  • Describe abstract concepts. Abstract concepts, such as love, loss, or fear, can be difficult to describe in a way that is both clear but also profound. Personification can help to make these concepts more relatable by giving them human qualities.
  • Describe inanimate objects. Even inanimate objects can be personified in song lyrics. This can help to create a sense of life and movement in the lyrics, and can also be used to evoke emotions.
  • Set the mood of a song. It can also be used to set the mood of a song. For example the rain could be personified as a source of comfort and peace, or the wind could signify turbulence in a relationship.

When using personification in song lyrics, it is important to be creative and to use it sparingly. Too much can make the lyrics seem forced, unnatural or plain amateurish. However, when used correctly, personification can be a powerful tool for creating memorable and impactful lyrics.

Here are some additional tips for using personification in lyric-writing:

  • Choose the right words. When personifying an object or concept, choose words that convey the qualities that you want to emphasize.
  • Be consistent. Once you have decided to personify an object or concept, be consistent with it throughout the song. This will help to create a sense of coherence and make the lyrics more believable.
  • Don't overdo it. As mentioned above, too much personification can make the lyrics seem forced. Use it sparingly and only when it is the best way to express your meaning.

Personification is a powerful tool that can be used to create vivid imagery, evoke emotions, and make song lyrics more relatable. By following these tips, you can use it to write lyrics that are both beautiful and effective.

Here are some examples of very famous songs that use personification:

  • "The Wind Cries Mary" by Jimi Hendrix
  • "Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel
  • "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen
  • "Fire and Rain" by James Taylor
  • "Roar" by Katy Perry
  • "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele
  • "Yesterday" by The Beatles

These are just a few examples of the many songs that use it, there are thousands! If you are looking for inspiration for your own songwriting, be sure to listen to music you personally like and aspire to and analyse how these songwriters use personification to create unique imagery and evoke a personal emotion you want to convey.

Book a lesson with Ben here