Elizabethan sonnets, man. That's a form I'm stunned musicians haven't exploited to its fullest, assuming that's possible, and it's even more irresistable, I'd think, given the modern verse, chorus, second verse, chorus, solo, third verse, chorus, first verse (reprise) chorus format.
abab cdcd efef gg. Voila; you're done. You have your rhyme scheme built for you and since the final couplet tends to summarize/encapsulate/reveal the sonnet you have the chorus built for you, too. Iambic pentameter is easily the most popular rhythm (for those unfamiliar that means the beat's on the second syllable) but it's by no means required. Technically, you don't NEED a rhythm in a sonnet as long as every line has ten syllables. Myself I like to alternate between iambic and trochaic pentameter so it doesn't get to monotonous or sing songy (but I guess that's kinda what you want here. )
And there's all kinds of ways you can use the form as a guide rather than a prison, and that's without writing sonnets about the Trinity (though it's really nice for that, too. ) You can set a scene, tell a story and give it a neat little ending in three verses, with an overarching theme in the chorus. Or you can have a protagonist, antagonist, conflict and moral. Or you can drop characters in a scene in the first verse, introduce a conflict, resolve it and conclude a meaning. Those just being the ones I prefer. Meanwhile, any rhythm your base player and drummer are happy with is fine, as long as you get ten syllables in the line, your rhyme scheme writes itself and when you finish you have three verses complete with a chorus to drive home any point you wish to make. I'm not a song writer; I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but I've written more than my share of Elizabethan sonnets, and it's a VERY under appreciated art form, IMHO.
And if you're REALLY feeling your oats you can go for Spensers variation on the classic:
abab bcbc cdcd ee
Yeah, I know, that's a lot easier 'cos you need less rhymes. Except you need twice as many words for the b and c rhymes, and that can be a pain.
A personal favorite of mine by way of example; I like it because it represents a conscious effort to make rhyme itself a conceit and stretch it to its utmost:
Hear Eye Lai
From fantasy I’ve grown of all Love sick;
My dreams, denied me, still more nonsense urge.
Desire’s designs die in a fall of sick,
Salacious stupor that’s borne on sin’s surge.
Love’s Lover to no lust will his soul lend,
But to his Lover pays credits due her.
In every work, her will is sole end;
And the wage on which is fed its doer.
How well these things I have grasped, know I not;
Their recognition yet mothers mine art,
Who on solitude must dine can own aught
Still has it the weight to smother mine heart.
Wanting worth to win fair maiden favours,
Passions progress must be made in fey verse.
Iambs to start, then half way through it switches to trochees on the last line of the second verse, and trochees for the couplet. Another, more serious one, in the Spenserian form, iambic throughout:
89.2 [Polaris, the North Star, is constantly at 89.2° N]
On beckon beauty’s bright beams my frail bark,
Love’s troublesome track to try and traverse.
Your royal radiance is its true mark,
The course such rapture sets naught can reverse.
To my entreaties though, you are averse;
Your fair face from my sight a cloud now hides.
And, whelmed with woeful waves, my plight grows worse;
I’m tempestuously tossed on the tides.
Fear’s frozen floes assail now on all sides,
And gales of grief have loose my sails stripped;
In resignation, my craft froward glides,
Free reason’s rudder has rejection ripped.
My crew of cravings still on, crying, rows;
Their destination my heart’s needle knows.
And yes, I know the language is bit archaic for modern popular music (though I think the Professor would approve :elfwink: ) and likely WAY too heavy on the passive voice (I LIKE the passive voice) but these serve to illustrate the point. In the last one especially, you could do the first verse, the couplet, the second, the couplet again, a musical interlude for you to earn your pay with some lead, then the third verse, couplet, and first verse, defiantly, once more, followed by the couplet until you get bored or the audience starts throwing beer bottles. :elftongue:
And yes, if you actually use it I expect a credit. :elfwink:
I'll frequently start with a concept, boil it down to an aphorism and find a way to make it rhyme and have meter; that gives me my couplet (or chorus, in your case) and then I just need to come up with an illustration and rhyme it.