People always ask, “What comes first, the lyrics or the melody?” Hoboy. What a tangle at the bend in the river.
I don’t know why they’re so fascinated with the answer to this question. There is no definitive answer. Songwriters write in different ways.
Some write a full lyric first, and then put it to music. Others write a full track of music with melody but no lyrics.
You can make up words to a song based on a song title. Or based on a story concept. Or a beat, or drum loop.
Sometimes the instrument helps you find the song. I seldom find just melodies on the guitar that come out fully fleshed, and add the words later. If I start on the piano, it often happens that the melody will come first. So the instrument has something to do with the order of inspiration. Sometimes.
And sometimes the smell of gasoline, or the color of a dress … or the fragment of a conversation has everything to do with where the song begins. The melody lies there, clothes half-on. I envy her in her room, call to her in a lit whisper …
… and it ends with the mysterious, beautiful lines, somehow captured in the brittle shell of the tune.
I have written words and music just this way.