When You've Got Killer Lyrics, Other Elements Can Step Back

“The lyrics on “There’s a Reason” are wonderful, and on first listen you’d swear you’re listening to Dylan…”

Written by Gary Ewer, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website. Check out Gary Ewer’s Songwriting e-books here.

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aabondyYou’ve probably got the instinct of most songwriter’s out there, which is to ensure that each element of your songs – melody, chords, lyric, etc. – are really outstanding. But in fact, it’s better to allow one or two of a song’s components to step back into the background a bit to allow something else to shine. A. A. Bondy’s “There’s a Reason” does exactly that.

Not a new release, Bondy’s album “American Hearts” is definitely worth the listen. The lyrics on “There’s a Reason” are wonderful, and on first listen you’d swear you’re listening to Dylan, with an opening chord vamp reminiscent of Neil Young.

And the ballroom is filled with the joy
Of making old friends
And jukebox girls trip the light
They wiggle and they bend

Blind Joe, he’s feeling no pain
Sweet Georgia, she dreams of the rain
And there’s a reason
There’s a reason…

The great thing about these lyrics is that they reach into your mind and demand your attention. They conjur up images and create colours.

If you have the ability to write like this, or if you are collaborating with a great lyricist, keep in mind that your melodies and chords should not demand equal billing. Allowing your lyric to step forward in this song has meant that the melody needed to be simple. In fact, it’s quite restricted: it basically stays within a perfect 4th (D#-G#) with occasional rare visits higher and lower.

Harmonically it’s mainly a 2-chord song, C# and F#. The beautiful part of of the way this song is constructed is that demands that the listener focus on the far more important lyric.

As you write, you may need to make these kinds of decisions. Decide which aspect of the song is the one you want to wave the flag, and then allow other elements to step back a little. If you vary the aspect you allow to step forward from song to son, you’ve got the makings of a great CD!

6 Songwriting E-booksGary Ewer has written a set of songwriting e-books that will show you how to write great songs. (Hisnewest e-book, “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting- Chord Progression Formulas” is being offered for free when you purchase any other of his songwriting e-books.) Let these six e-books show you every aspect of how to write great songs! Read more..

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One Comment

  1. What’s up?. Thanks for the info. I’ve been digging around for info, but there is so much out there. Yahoo lead me here – good for you i suppose! Keep up the good work. I will be coming back in a few days to see if there is any more info.

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