Introduction to Analysis Essay Assignment: Song Lyrics

| May 18, 2015

Choose one song with which to analyze the lyrics. Analyzing song lyrics is often like analyzing a poem, except that you also have the pleasure of integrating the observations of how the musical composition itself contributes to the meaning of the song. The main aim is the assertion about what the song lyrics offer the reader. Once you look closely at the lyrics, what do the words reveal? What is their meaning? What is their impact?

For this analysis paper, you will be engaging in the long tradition of emotional connection + academic distance. The ideas, thoughts, feelings, intentions, etc. will still be in the paper, but this paper isn’t a reflection; it’s an academic analysis. So the choices and depth of analysis reveal personal connection instead of stating the personal connection. Showing vs. Telling – you should remember this writing technique! This paper is about academic inquiry. Feel what you do about the song and allow your passion to come through in the form of your detailed analysis!

In addition to the lyrics, this paper will require that you use one of the music articles as a source, using at least two direct quotes/excerpts from one (or both) of the texts as support. I want you to connect the lyrics you choose to one of these articles, connecting the human experience with your song.

This essay should be three to four pages long and include support from the lyrics and articles provided.

Assessment (or what I will be looking for):

  • Insightful analysis of the lyrics. I want to feel your understanding AND the song!
  • A clear thesis for your paper (what did your investigation of the lyrics reveal about the overall meaning, intention, purpose of the song?)
  • Song choice: appropriate and substantial depth/meaning.   Must be pre-approved.
  • Clearly integrated information from articles provided
  • Clear organization and development of ideas.
  • Revision work is clear, including proofreading for typos, spelling, sentence clarity, etc.
  • All work presented should be your own. If you use anyone else words or ideas, you must identify them as such, and you must identify direct quotes from any text.
  • Think deeply about how this song factors into your own personal identity or your “roots”


  • NO Wikipedia use. This will not be considered an appropriate source for this essay
  • A book report or “Behind the Music” on the Band
  • A summary of the song


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