Analyze Pop Song Lyrics: Write Songs That Pop

Aligned to standards RL.9–10.5: Analyze literary devices, W.9–10.5: Revise and edit to strengthen writing, W.9–10.3b: Write narratives

Sometimes, when we hear a good song for the first time, it’s nearly impossible to forget. The catchy tune and easy-to-remember lyrics get stuck in your head, and you just can’t stop from humming it to yourself throughout the day.

This mini-project is designed to facilitate an analysis of pop song structure and lyrics through a combination of critical reading and narrative writing, with an emphasis on the revision process.

The complete project plan is available here for download in Word or PDF format.

Here’s an overview of activities you’ll find in the project plan:

  • Students will analyze the lyrical structure and content of popular songs, looking closely at artists’ choices about their songs’ organization and message.
  • As part of their structural analysis, students will consider lyrics’ rhythm, repetition, and syllabic make-up and create a coding system that visually represents the patterns they find.
  • In a narrative analysis students will explore the story told by a song’s lyrics and the impact of word choice and narrative techniques on that story.
  • After analyzing successful pop songs, students will apply their analysis to the composition of their own, original lyrics.
  • The student songwriters will engage in a structured peer feedback and revision process before presenting their finished songs.

The detailed project plan/packet on Goalbook includes:

  • Templates to support analysis and composition
  • Exemplars to focus inquiry and expectations for final product
  • Rubrics for progress monitoring and final assessment
  • Real-world application of State Standards in Reading and Writing
The complete project plan is available here for download in Word or PDF format.