What Are "Good Lyrics?"
Good lyrics should make an emotional connection and impact on your listener, no matter the genre. Music is a deeply emotional experience for most people so they want to hear personal stories and struggles in your lyrics, just like everyday life for them.
I try to keep this article genre independent so keep in mind that each genre has its own rules. Also keep in mind that this article is only guidelines and there are no rules in music.
Make It Personal
Try to write your songs from the first person. Use "I," "we," and "you" when you are singing about different things. Also, don't write a song off someone else's personal experience without writing it with them. The only exception to these rules is if you are singing about someone from history.
Also keep in mind that you will have to perform it a lot so it might mean something to you. Always keep that in mind when you are writing song lyrics.
Be Genuine, Don't Use A Thesaurus
Word choice should not necessarily be elaborate as long as you know what the words mean! Your lyrics should reflect who you are so if you don't know a million words, do not act like you do. People do not generally like "fake" artists so be true to yourself.
Make It Match The Genre
Your lyrics need to be independent but still fit within the genre of music you play. If you are in a hard rock or metal band and want to make a ballad, write a ballad as the background music. Same thing goes for rap beats. Make sure if fits inside your genre.
This is a rule that has a lot of "wiggle" room. You don't have to keep the things as they are, especially in music, so feel free to break out of the mold with this tip.
Every Line Should Relate
Generally a song has one main purpose so every other line should link back to that general purpose. If you are telling a story in your song make sure you tell it in chronological order.
This is another rule where you can feel free to completely disregard what I recommend. These are only guidelines, really. Some songs are awesome when they are out-of-order but then come together at the end.
Rhyming vs. Free Verse
Depending on the genre (once again), you have to decide if you want your song to rhyme each line or more like free verse poetry. This is up to you but certain genres have different styles. Imagine a rapper that refused to rhyme lines.
Most genres are very rhyme-based, which doesn't mean cheesy at all. The rhymes are what people remember so make the end of each lyrical line count. If you can't think of rhymes pick up a book of rhymes or change-up the line before.
It's Up To You
Ultimately you can read guides like this but a real song comes from the heart. Throw some of these rules out of the window and make up your own. Be an artist and make real music that people will love and listen to for the rest of their lives.