Songwriter's checklist

Analyzing Problem Songs

When a listener doesn’t like a song you’ve written, they don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. They’re unlikely to analyze what they don’t like about a song. They’re more inclined to simply move on. That’s a problem for you, of course, because you need to know why! If you’ve written something that you […]

Sarah McLachlan

Song Analysis: “Adia” – Sarah McLachlan

“Adia” (Pierre Marchand, Sarah McLachlan) is one of Sarah McLachlan’s most successful singles, her first top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in 1998. From a musical point of view it’s probably most notable for its beautiful melody and creative chord progression, and well worth a quick study. MELODY The melody (in C minor/Eb […]

Songwriter Listening

Putting Your Inner Songwriting Student to Work

When was the last time you put your inner student to work and analyzed a song? If you’re like most songwriters, the act of writing itself is how you learn. As you work out melodies, lyrics and chords that partner up well with each other, you usually become better, assuming of course that you aren’t […]

Johanna Warren - Singer-Songwriter

Two-Part Verse Structures: “Everyone I Know” (Johanna Warren)

I’ve only very recently discovered the music of Johanna Warren, a singer-songwriter from Portland Oregon. The stunning beauty of her music is addictive; it seems impossible to stop listening once you get started. First, check out her Bandcamp site where you can stream her albums. You won’t be disappointed. The aspect of her songwriting that […]

Songwriting: Improving Your Odds

A typical audience member is better at saying why they like a song than why they don’t. When a listener doesn’t like a song, they don’t take the time to wonder why. They just don’t like it, and that’s all they know. They click to listen to something else, and they’ll do that until they find […]

Songwriting analysis tips

5 Tips For Analyzing Your Own Songs

I’ve been spending a good amount of time in the past couple of days listening to songs for which songwriters have sent me links, asking for my thoughts on various issues and problems they’re having. It’s something I really love doing, when time permits. To me, solving musical issues that come up in a song is tricky because every […]