Using Personification to Express Emotions in Your Songwriting (with Examples)

Almost everyone knows how to use metaphors and similes, which are often the first two literary devices that are taught in school. But did you know personification is one of the most powerful figures of speech that you can use to create lyrics people can relate to?

Did you know personification is one of the most powerful figures of speech that you can use to create lyrics people can relate to?

Personification is when you attach human or living qualities to non-human things such as objects and animals and is actually a kind of metaphor. There are a number of ways you can use it for good effect in your lyrics, including to express emotions, actions, and physical characteristics. Here are some examples of how it can be used to make your songs more emotional.

Strong Affection

One of the commonest themes that people sing about is love and you can use personification to represent it in various ways, including strong affection, hurting, and fear of falling in love. Here’s an example: John Legend singing “The world is beating you down, I’m around through every mood,” in “All of Me” to express continuous strong affection despite what his lover might be going through.


Having a longing for someone is another common emotional theme used in songs. Owl City expressed this well in the song “Vanilla Twilight” using the following lyrics, “The stars lean down to kiss you, and I lie awake and I miss you.”

Fire Meets Gasoline” in the song of the same name by Sia is an example of a more intense desire that many people long for or get caught up with.


Lighthearted lyrics such as “You got my heartbeat running away” by Nicki Minaj in “Superbass,” easily connect with listeners and express joy, whether they are in love or just having a good time.


Personification can be used to express sadness as well. Linkin Park’s “Shadow of the Day” is rife with sorrow/sadness, especially in the lines “And the shadow of the day will embrace the world in grey/ And the sun will set for you.”

If you like to play upon emotions in your songs, you could definitely focus on using more personifications. At the very least, it will help you to improve your songwriting versatility.

The SongCat Team

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The SongCat Team

We believe in supporting artists of all levels of their musical journey, from the 40-year music business veteran, to the burgeoning songwriter who are looking to polish their craft. We also believe that creating professional, high quality, and expertly mixed recordings shouldn’t be limited to high budget record deals.

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