Finding the Good Moment in a Song’s Musical Journey

A song is a musical journey. Like any journey, it has a beginning, middle and end. On a literal journey, you’ll visit towns and cities. On a musical journey, those towns and cities are of a different sort: you’ll visit keys, melodies, lyrics, and so on. Bad songs are actually incredibly close to being good […]

Andy Grammar

The Repeatable Quality of Great Chorus Hooks

In the pop music genres, a great chorus is a self-contained unit. It doesn’t need a verse in order to work, musically speaking; it will work on its own. That’s certainly not to say that a chorus is all you need, or that a verse serves no useful purpose. In most songs, if all you […]

Singer - Songwriter - Lyricist

Improving Lyrics By Improving Everything Else

Every songwriter is a communicator. Most of the time what you’re communicating is obvious from the title and lyric, but there’s so much more than words that contribute to the meaning of a song. A few years back I did a blog article that compared two renditions of “Always On My Mind” (Wayne Carson, Johnny […]

Countermelody: A Nice Alternative to Simple Backing Vocals

When you listen to verse 2 of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair/Canticle, you’re hearing the main melody, but you’re also hearing, in addition to some simple backing vocals,  a secondary melody in the background. Do you find that writing a great melody is your biggest challenge? In great songs, it’s not just about the tune […]

Jack Garratt

What the Direction of Your Melodies Does For the Meaning of Your Songs

I’m a fan of any songwriting process that requires concentrating on the melody first. The main reason I like melody-first writing is that you’re concentrating on the part of a song that’s the most hummable, and the easiest for someone to remember. If there is one criticism I have of melody first processes, it’s that […]

Singer - Songwriter

When Your Newest Song Sounds Like the One You Wrote Last Week

It’s tricky, writing music that pleases your target audience. They want every song to sound unique and fresh. But at the same time, they want to hear the kind of music that attracted them to you in the first place. So you try to write something that goes in a refreshingly new direction, and they give […]