First let’s check out the first few lines of “King of Anything” by Sara Bareilles:
Keep drinking coffee, stare me down across the table
While I look outside
So many things I’d say if I were only able
But I just keep quiet, and count the cars as they pass by
These lyrics set the “table” of this song well. She does a good job of painting the scene with her words. Phrases like “stare me down across the table while I look outside” and “I just keep quiet, and count the cars as they pass by” are fairly visual lines that draw you into the scene. They do a good job of picking up on the details going on around her that help us visualize what’s happening.
What I would have liked to see here, would be a little more description to some of this stuff. Talking about the heat of the coffee’s steam, or the sound the cars make as they passed by could have been an even more effective way of pulling our senses into the song.
She only gave us a four line glimpse into this opening scene, as she didn’t want this portion of the song to go on for too long. I realize one of the hardest jobs we have as songwriters is editing ourselves. Deciding what gets to stay and what has to go can be difficult, so overall this is a good opening.