Courtesy of Redkid.net
It’s enormously tempting to suggest that the primary difference between musical theater lyrics and pop lyrics is standards, but that’s not really fair. If musical theater lyricists received the same level of profit and adulation as the aggressively talentless ilk of LMFAO and Will.i.am, that would be fair.

The surest way to ruin a pop song for yourself is to listen to the lyrics. Now, I know that this principle isn’t universally applicable, and that some pop lyricists are better than others, but even among many of the good pop lyricists, one particular trend repeatedly makes itself apparent.
In short, a disturbingly large number of pop songwriters tend to substitute assonance for rhyme. For example:
This is a rhyme—
Hand
Bland
This is not a rhyme—
Hand
Anne
This is a rhyme—
Land
Planned
This is not a rhyme—
Land
Plan
This is a rhyme—
Ape
Cape
This is not a rhyme—
Ape
Capes
All of the not-rhyme examples listed above are one breed or another of assonance, which is a matching of vowel sounds. What an assonance is not is a rhyme. Unfortunately, many pop songs seem to think that assonances are just as good as rhymes, which is a bit like saying that defecating next to the toilet is just as good as defecating in it.
The issue of rhyme is simply one of standards, like any other convention of style. You would no more produce a musical number without perfect rhymes than turn in an essay without at least running a spell-check.
And, true, not everyone uses correct spelling and grammar, but that is a character choice, not an effective excuse for lazy construction in a song that, in all other respects, is most likely groping for grace and profundity with all the eager desperation of a randy congressman.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s