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"While they ring round the same unvary'd Chimes,

With sure Returns of still expected Rhymes.

Where-e'er you find the cooling Western Breeze,

In the next Line, it whispers thro' the Trees;

If Chrystal Streams with pleasing Murmurs creep,

The Reader's threaten'd (not in vain) with Sleep".
An Essay on Criticism, by Alexander Pope

A Stock Rhyme is a kind of rhyme / that everyone sees all the time. The reasons for this can vary: the rhyme choice may be extremely limited, as with love, alternate rhymes may be unusual words that are not very widely applicable (fire/spire), or the rhyme may be particularly well-suited to a popular type of song like Silly Love Songs. Like with many stock tropes, a predictable rhyme can make an audience cringe, but a sufficiently awesome artist can often breathe new life into them.

To qualify as a Stock Rhyme it should be used by at least several different artists without any apparent intentional reference to one another. Imperfect rhymes are okay. Some Stock Rhymes may be specific to a particular genre, such as "trigger/nigga" in gangsta rap or "Word/Lord" in Christian hymns.

Examples of Stock Rhymes include:
  • baby/maybe (Buddy Holly's use is tame compared to the Eagles' "Take It Easy", the Spin Doctors' "Two Princes", the Four Seasons' "Walk Like A Man", anyone who sang "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby" or "Hey, Good Lookin'", "Maybe" from Annie...)
    • Worse is rhyming either of those words with "lady".
    • Worse yet is baby/crazy.
      • Used among others by OFWGKTA member Tyler, the Creator (as Big Nasty) in this video.
      • 'Call Me Maybe' by Carly Rae Jepsen has an entire chorus made up of this rhyme (rhyming crazy/maybe, then baby/maybe)
  • together/forever (Rick Astley, Eve, Edge of Sanity, Shai, Randy Travis, LeAnn Rimes, ABC (4 Ever 2 Gether), Emotiva, John Loeffler, Joey Gregorash, Pikachu's Jukebox... all did songs called "Together Forever" or "Forever Together")
    • Lee Carr deserves a special mention for releasing a song called "Together", but never rhyming the title itself with anything. "Forever", "each other", and "another" never even appear in the song.
    • Together/weather is pretty popular too, usually taking the form of something like "we'll always be together/no matter what the weather".
  • girl/world (Aqua's "Barbie Girl", Madonna's "Material Girl", Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl", Brooks & Dunn's "Rock My World (Little Country Girl)", Tori Amos' "Upside Down", Hilary Duff's "All Around the World", Gwen Stefani's "Rich Girl", Madonna's "4 Minutes", almost any song with a line ending in "girl."
    • A particularly heinous example occurs in Misteeq's "Scandalous" rhyming not only 'girl' with 'world' but also with 'pearls' and 'twirl'
    • Subverted in "Bron-Y-Aur Stomp" by Led Zeppelin: "You can tell your friends all around the world / there ain't no companion like a blue-eyed" In any other song, the next word would be "girl", but since this song is actually about Robert Plant's dog, the word is "merle."
    • Also subverted in "My Kind of Girl" by Collin Raye, which uses "Merle", "pearls", and "Tilt-a-Whirl" as rhymes.
    • George Strait's "How 'bout Them Cowgirls" uses "round world"/"cowgirls", which is a girl/world rhyme at the root, but still an interesting internal rhyme.
    • Joe Diffie's "So Help Me Girl" (later covered by Gary Barlow) also subverts it by using a five-line chorus which avoids having to rhyme anything with "girl" at all.
    • And of course, possibly the most famous example: "Just a small town girl/Living in a lonely world..."
    • Also seen in Emilia's 1998 hit, "Big Big World." Unfortunately, it's like the best rhyme in this song.
    • And Bob Dylan's "Brownsville Girl": "Brownsville girl/Show me all around the world"
  • heart/start/apart
  • party/Bacardi (Mariah Carey's "It's Like That", Huey Dunbar's "Bacardi Party", Jagged Edge's "Where the Party At?", Nada Surf's "Bacardi", Official Kardinal's "Bacardi Slang", Benzino's "Rock the Party", 50 Cent's "In The Club", Flight of the Conchords "Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor", and many others)
    • Comedian Mike Birbiglia's "Guitar Guy At The Party", more of a bit than a song, contains this rhyme along with a couple of other awful rhymes. Apart from the few that suck, the rest of the song doesn't rhyme at all.
  • fingertips/lips/hips ("Achy Breaky Heart" by Billy Ray Cyrus comes first to mind)
    • Franz Ferdinand's "Michael" (and just lips/hips in "Tell Her Tonight").
    • "This Love" by Maroon5
    • "Elevation" by U2.
    • "Denial Twist" by The White Stripes
    • "Sheela Na Gig" by PJ Harvey
    • "Who Wants To Live Forever" by Queen
    • Subverted in "Addicted to Spuds" by "Weird Al" Yankovic: "Your greasy hands, your salty lips/Looks like you found the chips"
  • self/else/shelf (the Divinyls' "I Touch Myself", Georgia Satellites' "Keep Your Hands to Yourself")
    • "Are you happy with yourself?/Put the book back on the shelf" ("Put the Book Back on the Shelf", Belle & Sebastian)
    • Led Zeppelin's Misty Mountain Hop does this, although obscured by the song's rather complex rhythm:

 Why don't you take a good look at yourself and describe what you see

And baby, baby, baby, do you like it?

There you sit, sitting spare like a book on a shelf, rusting

Ah, not trying to fight it

    • Bob Dylan's "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of hearts" has this: "Big Jim was thinking to himself/Maybe down in Mexico or a picture upon somebody's shelf".,
  • fire/desire/higher (as in The Carpenters' "Merry Christmas Darling": The logs on the fire/fill me with desire)
    • Used by many well-regarded bands e.g, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Black Sabbath, The Doors etc.
          • Also, on the same album (In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3), in the titular song, the chorus goes "Man your own jackhammer/man your battle stations, we'll have you dead pretty soon, and now/sincerely written from my brothers blood machine/man your battlestations, we'll have you home pretty soon". The first half has no rhyme, but the second..."Sincerely written from my brother's blood moo-shay-on, man your battle staaaaaaaaaations"
      • Edgar Allan Poe gave some of the earliest examples, except that he's talking about actual fire that burns you to death rather than the standard lust bit.
    • "Flame" by Pete Townshend. "Flame, you set me on fire/Nothing can take me any higher/I'm fueled on emotion and full of desire."
    • In perhaps the most distilled example of this trope, U2 manages to work both fire/desire and lips/fingertips into a single verse in "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
      • U2 also pulls off fire/higher/desire in-- what else?-- "Desire".
        • So does Alabama in "There's a Fire in the Night".
    • Augustana manages this with the song "Fire" "Fire burning me up/Desire taking me so much higher/And leading me home"
    • Les Claypool uses the fire/desire rhyme in the Primus song "Lacquer Head", though he compensates by rhyming "in-betweens" with "gasoline" immediately afterward.
    • Curtains makes fun of this in "I Miss the Music", when Aaron says, "Don't talk about love, or you'll have to say 'fits like a love' or 'certain as push comes to shove, you'll pine for the person you're constantly thinking of'.
    • All three see use in the rock song "Give In To Me" by Michael Jackson. "Love is a feeling/Give it when I want it/Cause I'm on fire/Quench my desire" and later it changes up to "Love is a feeling/Quench my desire/Give it when I want it/Taking me higher."
    • Marilyn Monroe's "I Wanna Be Loved by You". "I couldn't aspire to anything higher than to fill the desire..."
    • Cleverly subverted by Survivor in "Burning Heart", in which for once Captain Obvious does come to the rescue, causing "fire" to rhyme with its obvious-but-never-used natural counterpart "spire".
  • love/above/of. Also --/glove/shove/dove. Songwriters are often advised to avoid rhyming "love".
    • Kenny Rogers' "Tomb of the Unknown Love" uses love/above/love in the chorus, and shove/love in the first verse.
    • "From Austin back to Chaucer
      My weary eyes I shove
      But never come across a
      New word to rhyme with love."
    • Lampshaded by Ogden Nash in his poem "Spring Song"

 While ye, ye otherwise useless dove,

Remember, please, to rhyme with love.

    • Again, Bob Dylan's Brownsville Girl: "Teeth like pearls, shining like the moon above/Brownsville girl, you're my honey love"
  • table/able
  • long/gone/on
  • trigger/nigga/bigger/golddigger, too many gangsta rap songs to count. When rhyming with "nigga", they'll often pronounce the other word as if it ended in an "-ah" sound.
  • waiting/anticipating
    • "You Can't Hurry Love" by the Supremes.
    • And "Try A Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding.
    • And "Rockin' Into The Night" by 38 Special.
  • california/warn ya (The Trade Winds' "New York Is a Lonely Town", John Stewart's "Omaha Rainbow", Bob Dylan's "Sign on The Window", Albert Hammond's "It Never Rains in Southern California", Gary Allan's "She's So California"... and about eight zillion other California songs.)
    • Wax's "California" subverts it slightly by rhyming California with "warned you."
      • Josh Gracin's "We Weren't Crazy" makes it a zillion times worse by going with "California" and "warn us".
        • The Red Hot Chili Peppers use this rhyme in "Around The World", but then in "Dani California" they used the less expected "mourn ya".
    • "Because, It's Midnite" by Limozeen.
    • Kids in America.
    • "California Gurls" by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg. Somehow Snoop D-O-Double-G is able to rhyme "all up on ya" with "California".
  • moon/June/spoon (now a Dead Horse Trope if it isn't a Forgotten Trope, but once synonymous with Silly Love Songs)
    • An early and extreme example of this was "By the Light of the Silvery Moon", which rhymed the moon in its title not only with June and spoon, but also with croon, tune and soon.
      • Yoko Ono mocked Paul McCartney for rhyming "June" with "spoon"; he actually did once rhyme "spoon" with "lagoon" in "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window".
        • Her husband rhymed "You know that for sure" with "You got to let it go" and "You got to let it grow" in Mind Games.
      • Jonathan King wrote "Everyone's Gone to the Moon", which was, according to King, "a stupid song, that would actually rhyme 'moon' and 'June', but be so pretentious no one would notice" as a send up of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. He was right.
      • Subverted (for laughs) in a Pinky and The Brain episode, where Brain can't come up with any rhymes for June, despite obvious inspiration being all around him. He later decides to change it to "April". Made even worse when the song actually plays later in the episode: the song contains an overly-long list of "June" rhymes, and April is still the final word of the song.
      • Not entirely a dead rhyme; Rodney Atkins' "It's America" uses moon/June in the chorus.
      • Soft Machine has a song titled "Moon in June", which doesn't actually rhyme those words (they're not even in the lyrics at all).
      • Procol Harum used this rhyme in a somewhat different context than usual in "A Salty Dog": "Now many moons and many Junes have passed since we made land" (in which those words are synonymous with "months" and "years", respectively)
      • '70s soft-rockers Bread: "And Aubrey was her name / We tripped the light and danced together to the moon / But where was June?"
      • Prince's "Sign of the Times."
      • Lampshaded in Shrek 2: "You can spoon on the moon/With the prince, 'til it's June!"
      • June Moon and Joe Doe are the "rhyme scene investigators" in related Sesame Street sketch.
      • In one '60s strip of the British newspaper comic The Perishers, young Wellington gets all cod-philosophical on the subject while looking at the moon with his dim friend Marlon.

 Wellington: Moon and June, how well they go together... but if June had been called Moptember or the moon had been called the blop, well, they just wouldn't have rhymed, would they?

Marlon (shining a torch in Wellington's direction): I can see right up your nose.

  • fly/sky/high
    • Could be intentional but there are a few of these in Faith No More song Zombie Eaters. "Smile" and "Awhile" do not make for a great rhyme.
    • One of the most compressed examples of this is Yves La Rock's "Rise Up" ("I try to fly a while so high / direction sky")
    • Of course, Sky High in Daytona USA had it too. Except "fly" sounded like "fry".
    • Just one of many crimes against music in R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly."
    • The Moody Blues song "Blue World" used all three in the same line: "Fly me high, touch the sky/Leave the earth below...."
    • The very first verse of Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away" rhymes all three of these words. In an arguable case of Rhyming with Itself, "dragonfly" shows up as a rhyme in the same stanza.
  • home/come, and Word/Lord; These are ridiculously common in Christian hymns.
    • mild/child is another staple of hymnals.
  • Heaven/seven (as with "love", there just aren't too many English words rhyming with "heaven" -- but rhyming it with "seven" or "eleven" is justified if it's a reference to craps, where those numbers are the instant-win throws)
  • dance/chance/romance. There's a Junior Senior song which is actually titled "Dance, Chance, Romance".
    • This one also showed up in Chris De Burgh's popular "Lady In Red."
    • And in "Mr. Right Now" by the Povertyneck Hillbillies, which has one of the most cliché bridges ever: "How do you feel about a little romance / Can I buy you a drink or do you wanna dance / What do you think, are you willing to take the chance?"
    • See also Michael Jackson's "Blood on the Dance Floor".
    • "Barbara Ann" hits all three in the first two lines ("Went to a dance looking for romance / Saw Barbara Ann and I thought I'd take a chance...")
    • "Heartcatch Paradise" starts rhyming "chance" and "dance", not with "romance", but with "change".
  • lonely/only
  • good/hood
  • soul/rock n roll (as in Bob Segar's "Old Time Rock and Roll")
  • care/prayer
  • about/without
  • be/me (Very mundane, but very overused as well. Montgomery Gentry's "Roll with Me" uses it twice.)
  • do/you
  • day/way
    • A mundane rhyme that even afflicts classic geniuses like John Lennon and new quality musicians like Modest Mouse.
  • Blarney/Killarney ("Christmas in Killarney" and many other songs about Oireland)
  • this/kiss
  • walk/talk and walkin/talkin (Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" comes to mind; of course, it also has the inevitable "girl"/"world" rhyme.)
  • miss you/kiss you
    • Worst offender is "Me and my heart we got issues/Don't know if I should hate you or miss you/Damn I wish that I could resist you/Can't decide if I should slap you or kiss you".
    • Also kiss me/miss me, such as in Brooks & Dunn's "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone" ("You'd better kiss me, 'cause...").
      • "She Loves Me Like She Means It" by Orrall & Wright uses "misses me"/"kisses me".
    • Pink's "Leave Me Alone, I'm Lonely": Go away, give me a chance to miss you./Say goodbye it'll make me want to kiss you.
  • song/along (usually in the form of "sing along", too)
  • eyes/realize/disguise. "Lyin' Eyes" by the Eagles is a good example.
    • Eric Carmen's "Hungry Eyes" is another popular one.
    • In love songs "eyes" is often rhymed with "sighs" or even "skies" (like "the skies above"). More recently, a lot of rap songs rhyme "eyes" with "thighs."
  • beauty/duty
  • town/down. Used twice in the chorus to John Rich's "Shuttin' Detroit Down", which only makes it worse by forcing it with the phrase "New York City town".
  • drink(ing)/think(ing). Ridiculously common in country music.
  • change/rearrange.
  • minute/in it. This is usually the first internal rhyme that most amateur songwriters discover.
  • cup/up.
  • knowledge/college (The Police's "Wrapped Around Your Finger", Steely Dan's "Reelin' in the Years")
  • There seems to be a recent trend (in hip-hop, at least) of changing the pronunciation of words to end in an "urr" sound; this allows the forced rhyme of there/here/hair/yeah/her/stare and numerous others...
  • air/care in too many songs to count
  • insane/profane
    • Slayer (Kerry King, mostly) like to use this one. Even when it makes no sense in the context of the song. I'm looking at you, "God Send Death".
  • crazy/lazy (K-On!'s Ending Theme, for instance)
    • Sometimes you have to wonder how little "lazy" would be used in songs if it weren't for this. Joe Jackson's "Don't Wanna Be Like That" also throws in "hazy", just for the rhyme.
    • Even The Beatles are guilty of this... twice.
      • "I'm Only Sleeping": "Everybody seems to think I'm lazy / I don't mind, I think they're crazy."
      • "Honey Pie": "Honey pie / You are making me crazy / I'm in love, but I'm lazy..."
    • Oasis in "The Importance of Being Idle," which is reminiscent of "I'm Only Sleeping."
    • Best Coast's "When I'm With You" does this with it's very first two lines: "The world is lazy / but you and me, we're just crazy".
  • ten/again
  • rhyming/timing
  • charms/[hold you in my] arms. Like several of the examples above, made worse by the fact that nobody would ever say anything like "I love all your charms" unless they were singing a song and planning to work some arms into the lyrics at some point.
  • holly/jolly in Christmas music.

 Susan: This is a time to be jolly. With mistletoe and holly. And other things ending in "olly".

  • make up/break up is not as interesting a dichotomy as several musicians seem to think.
  • toy/boy (usually something about treating a guy like a toy)
    • The Christmas carol variant: toys/girls and boys
      • Heather Alexander's self-parody "December of Cambreadth" cries out with savage Celtic glee, "How many of them can we bring toys?!" That makes it worthwhile.
  • rest/best - as used in advertising: "You've tried the rest, now try the best" and so on.
  • swagger/Jagger (Thank you so much, Kesha,, Cher Lloyd, And She Whispered, and many others who jumped on that fad)
  • war/for, usually for the sake of wondering "what this fighting is for" or somesuch.
  • goodbye/cry/lies/eyes.
  • brain/pain/insane
    • e.g. Breathe's "Hands to Heaven" had: "I can't believe this pain / it's driving me insane"
  • advice/think twice
  • friend/end (usually something like "I'll be your friend to the very end")
  • mirror/clearer (e.g. Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror")
  • wife/life/knife
  • death/breath
  • poet/know it (as in, "you're a poet and you don't even know it")
  • car/far
  • rhyme/time
  • roam/home (most notably in the classic "Home! Sweet Home!")
  • The Tripod song "Cuckold" lampshades these irritatingly pervasive rhymes. It's so uncreative to reuse the same old words, over and over again, right? And then the song's pretty much using only the word "cuckold".

 I am now a cuckold,

She cuckolded me.

When your love is loving someone else,

A cuckold will you be,

This cuckoldation, has cuckoldafied me,

And cuckoldentilly I'm cuckoldised by her cuckoldity.

Cuckoldish me, life has taken on a cuckoldastic twist,

I should have seen, when I looked at her,

She was a cuckoldist

Non-English examples

  • German: Herz (heart) / Schmerz (pain). "Herzschmerz" even became a kind of German trope for overly sentimental songs, poems and other media.
    • In Swedish you have härta/smärta ("heart/pain").
  • Swedish: dig/mig ("you/me")
  • The most well known overused rhyme in Russian is Любовь/кровь ("love"/"blood"). Nowadays only notoriously bad pop music still uses it.
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