The Second Verse

One of the biggest challenges for songwriters is writing the second verse to songs, but doesn’t necessarily have to be as long as you think it through.

There are many effective ways of approaching second verses. Here are a few suggestions:

Expand Your Ideas from Verse I
By that I mean, if the first verse is about love or your relationship, talk about another aspect of the relationship. What ever you do, don’t keep saying the same thing over and over again except in a different way unless it’s what we call a ‘list song’. An ‘list song’ is one that lists things in the verses and reaches a general conclusion in the chorus. ‘Everything is Broken’ by Bob Dylan is a good example of a list song.

Tell More of the Story
If your song is a narrative song you can use your second verse to move the story forward. If it’s a love song perhaps start with when you met and move to where you are today or perhaps where you hope to be in the future.

Move from the General to the Personal or Vice Versa
If in your first verse you talk about love in general, for instance; how love makes you feel, how love changes the world, how low important love is in life, consider focusing the second verse on your particular relationship. A few years ago I wrote a song called “Ray Took a Slug in the Leg.” In the first verse I talk about Ray Davies being shot on the streets of New Orleans. The second verse, I expand the concept to apply to how crazy the world is today. It doesn’t matter if you go from the general to the personal or vice versa.

You can hear “Ray Took a Slug in the Leg” at Just click on the “Songs” tab.


1 thought on “The Second Verse

  1. The best way to avoid the “second verse syndrome” in my opinion is to know what you want to say in the first place. If you plan out the story ahead of time, you will never be in the position of asking “what can I say”. You should be asking “how can I say it?”

    Every song should have a beginning, middle and end. If you think that through before you start writing the song, the second verse should never be a problem. It is the middle part of your story. The question becomes, “how do I say it?”

    Plan ahead. Know what you want to say, and figure out how to say it.

    That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!

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