Six Most Overused Rhymes

Categories: Nitpick Six

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You've been there, listening to a song for the first time, hearing the word at the end of one lyric and thinking "please don't end the next line with [insert predictable rhyme here]." Of course, nine out of ten times, the internalized wish is futile. Nobody expects songwriters to reinvent the wheel with every lyric, but there are some word pairs that are far past their expiration dates. Here are the six most overused rhymes. If you let us know your least favorite, we'll read your comment and savor it.

6. Sorrow/Tomorrow
The rhyming dictionary entry for "tomorrow" is sparse, and so much rock and pop music has to do with sadness that "sorrow" is one of its only logical partners. Accordingly, the two words have paired up innumerable times. Hootie and the Blowfish sing "Can you teach me about tomorrow/And all the pain in sorrow" on the prechorus to "Time." Electric Light Orchestra not only makes this rhyme in "21st Century Man," the group quotes the same lines in the track "Epilogue," which closes out the album Time. Coincidence, Hootie? And two instances come from the BeeGees' Barry Gibb (RIP Robin, by the way) on "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?" and his Streisand duet "What Kind Of Fool?" two songs that suggest that the only thing Barry loves more than rhyming "sorrow" and "tomorrow" is ending song titles with question marks.

5. Far/Star/Car
These words form a triumvirate, as the contexts for all three are similar even when only two are used. "Star" generally refers to fame, in which one has gone "far" from their humble roots. In such, "car" becomes a symbol for status, either a measure of success (as in "Rock Superstar" by Cypress Hill) or failure (as in "Someday I'm gonna stop tryin' to borrow your car/I'm gonna go far" from Atmosphere's "Godlovesugly"). The Beatles covered both extremes on "Drive My Car," where a budding starlet recruits a driver and then reveals her patheticness in the song's final verse. In some instances, "star" is used in the literal sense, a flaming ball outside of our galaxy, like in Soul Coughing's "Circles," in which Mike Doughty crams the entire trinity into one lyric: "Slip into the car/Go driving to the farthest star."

4. Alone/Home
This pair is so prevalent that it seems every song with either word in it contains the other. Just examining "home" songs, we get instances of "alone" in the Monkees' "Long Way Home," Grand Funk Railroad's "I'm Your Captain/Closer To Home," Neil Young's "My Country Home" and Ozzy Osbourne's "Mama, I'm Coming Home." The rhyme also appears in "A House Is Not a Home" by Burt Bacharach and Hal David; it should be noted that Luther Vandross' recording of this tune was sampled by Kanye West for his Twista/Jamie Foxx track "Slow Jamz," and that we would be ignorant to talk about rhymes and not mention that song's genius pairing of "Vandross" and "Pants off."


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9 comments
Ruzblue
Ruzblue

I can't stand the Girl/World rhyme. espcecially if it's a 3 part rhyme which undeniably forces the writer to used "unfurled"  AHRHRHGHG!

Daniel Hill
Daniel Hill

air / care, especially when referring to what to do with my hands and how my demeanor should be about it.

also party / bacardi

Jealousblues
Jealousblues

it drives me nuts when someone rhymes "fire" with "fire"(or any word with its self honestly) 

Christian
Christian

Spoon/Moon/June. ;)I'm just impressed that I'm not the only RFT writer to namecheck "What Kind of Fool" and Luther Vandross. Kudos, Ryan.

Carl Hess
Carl Hess

If we stick entirely to songs in the last two or so years :swagger/Jagger. 

Ryan Wasoba
Ryan Wasoba

You have to admit it's pretty amazing that Bacardi has become a hip-hop staple due to the fact that it rhymes with party. I think all the RFT staff should get together and invest in an alcoholic beverage called Bansion or Blimousine.

Ryan Wasoba
Ryan Wasoba

Don't tell R. Kelly that. He's the king of rhyming a word with itself.

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