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Advanced #writing techniques to move your audience – the power of taste and contrast

December 15, 2016

These tips will help you improve your writing.

  1. harness the power of taste
  2. show contrasts

This post is inspired by the fine lyrics of  journalist and lyricist HERBERT KRETZMER   and his English  lyrics to one of the songs he wrote with Charles Aznavour song- ‘Yesterday When I was Young”.


I love the opening line:

Yesterday when I was young

the taste of life was sweet as rain upon my tongue

This lyric triggers the sense memory of rain upon my tongue and triggers an image. Also, it reminds me of a photo of my son enjoying tasting rain upon his tongue! To me this is a powerful lyric.



Then at the end of the song – the lyric comes back to taste – but it’s a very contrasting taste – the bitter taste of tears upon my tongue. This contrasts the sweetness of youth and the bitterness of old age (for the singer anyway).

If you analyse the lyrics – as I often do in songs – Kretzmer uses this happy/sad contrast other times in the song.


I teased at life as if it were a foolish flame – the way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame. Once again – very visual.

Then the contrast: …every flame I lit too quickly, quickly diedwhere flame refers to love relationships. From a flame dancing in the evening breeze to one snuffed out and cold and dead!



So many drinking songs were waiting to be sung

contrasted with:

There are so many songs in me that won’t be sung (and it continues)

I feel the bitter taste of tears upon my tongue.

The time has come for me to pay for yesterday…

when I was young.

Here is a clip of the song for you to enjoy.

clip of Yesterday When I Was Young

I hope this illustrates the power of using the sense of taste and coming back to earlier lyrics with a contrast.


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