Lorde - Liability

The Laser Focus of Good Song Lyrics

Good lyrics have a strong sense of focus — of purpose and direction. It might help to make that statement the opposite way: bad lyrics wander about without being overly clear about what’s even being said. To say that a song lyric has focus means that it points toward a specific topic and doesn’t stray needlessly. […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

Chord Progression Basics for Songwriters

Sometimes when I write a blog post that deals with chord progressions, I realize, usually by emails I receive, that the terminology or symbols that I’m using might be confusing or misunderstood. Because chords are such an important part of music in any genre, different ways to describe and name them have developed more or […]

Singer - Open mic

Music From a Different Angle Can Help Cure Writer’s Block

If you find that you just can’t finish any song you start these days, give yourself a break from writing before the frustrations get too deep. It’s often a good time to involve yourself in music, but from a completely different angle. If most of the music you write comes about by playing around with […]

Maroon 5 - Sugar

Assessing Your Latest Song Hook: a Checklist

Hooks feature prominently in pop songs because they grab immediate attention. If it’s a chorus hook, it’s not going to be heard until you get to the chorus, but that should happen before the 1-minute mark in most mid-tempo or uptempo songs. Because songs in the pop genres are relatively short, a lot is riding […]

Balancing the Familiar With The Strange

If you’re trying to create chord progressions that stray pleasantly away from the standard I-IV-V-I kind, you need to read “Creative Chord Progressions.” Right now, that eBook is FREE with your purchase of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle” I learned something important about teaching very early in my career: if you want people […]

Paul Simon

Creating an Emotional Response With Song Lyrics

It’s an observation about lyrics that I’ve become aware of only recently: I tend to think of good lyricists as people who either a) make me think, or b) make me feel. Sometimes both simultaneously, (like you might experience with a song like, say, “Crying Lightning” – Arctic Monkeys (Alex Turner) but often one or the other. […]