Books and music

Remembering the Best Songs You’ve Ever Heard

Hooks and RiffsFor most good songs in the pop genres, getting a hook working properly is vital. “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base” shows you how hooks have made the world’s top songs successful.

If you’ve not ever kept a songwriter’s journal, I highly recommend that you start. A journal has the distinct benefit of helping you keep your thoughts organized, and makes it more likely that you can build on your songwriting skills.

There’s no one right way to keep a journal, and so use your imagination. If you want to know what I’ve recommended to songwriters in the past, check out this article: “Ideas For Keeping a Songwriting Journal.”

One part of that article describes what I think is an activity of tremendous value: to write down the titles of some of the best songs you’ve ever heard, and then to write what it is about those songs that has been so powerful and influential to your own songwriting.

This is important because it requires you to think beyond why you like them, but to be more specific: how has this song improved you?

And more to the point: What is it about each song in your journal that’s different from any/every other song ever written?

Putting your thoughts and opinions into writing requires you to, as it were, verbalize those attitudes, and that has a way of organizing your musical mind, and make it more likely that you’ll be able to use some of those techniques in your own songs.

It also makes it much more likely that you’ll remember these best songs, and their influence will live on.

Keeping a journal also does one other thing: it takes you from simply being a fan to being a student, in the best possible sense of the words. You’ll also find that you’ll start to add songs that you value and respect, even if you find that they’re not necessarily your favourites. You learn to be an objective listener of music.

If you have never kept a journal, now’s the day to start. And if you have kept a journal, please share your ideas in the comments below for how others might do it, and how your own journal has improved your songwriting.

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer. Follow Gary on Twitter.

How to Harmonize a Melody, 2nd ed.“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook bundle includes “How to Harmonize a Melody”. Discover the secrets to adding chords to that melody you’ve come up with. A step-by-step process, with sound samples to guide you.

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