For every song you love, you can probably name at least one aspect or element of that song that really clicks with you. In other words, even though all good songs are a partnership of good ideas, there are usually one or two that really stand out.
It might be something basic, like the groove. Or it might be more specific: the way the melody leaps up at some moment in the chorus. Or perhaps it’s the drum fill at the end of the second verse. The rest of the song is great, of course, but amongst all the things you love, you’ll always wait excitedly for those special moments.
Hooks are vital to the integrity of most pop songs. But what are the most important characteristics of the best song hooks? “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base” shows you how to make them work in your own songs.
Do your own songs have the same kind of exciting moments? It’s tricky to identify the moments in your own songs that offer the same thrill, because it requires objective listening, which is hard. It’s sometimes difficult to tell how your own song is coming across, and it’s probably why you see so many up and coming songwriters going online to ask others to rate their songs.
For every song you write, you should be able to say, “The most exciting moment of this song is: _____”. Or “The best line of lyric is: _____”. Or “What I love about this song is: _____”.
As I say, it can be hard to finish those sentences when they’re your own songs, but if you can’t come up with good finishers to those statements, it may be the case that you’ve written something that’s technically good, something that works, but possibly doesn’t offer enough to your audience to give them the thrill they need to come back and listen to your song again.
Cleverness can be important in a song, but cleverness doesn’t necessarily make an emotional connection to a listener. So the moments in your songs that you hope are connecting to listeners have to be moments where everything comes together, where the listener feels “Yessss! That’s what I’ve been waiting for.”
Knowing that the song you’re working on possibly doesn’t have that “yessss” moment does not necessarily give you a solution; the solution will be different for every song. But knowing your song is lacking some identifiable moment of excitement — even a subtle one — at least tells you that you’ve left your audience without something to get excited about.