Lorde - Writer in the Dark

Balancing the Unique With the Heartfelt

Every songwriter I know wants to write something unique, and you don’t even need to wonder why. Simply put, uniqueness means it hasn’t been done before, and there’s no better way to set yourself apart from other songwriters than to write something that hasn’t been done quite that way before. While that may be true, […]

Taking the Time Component Out of Your Song

Time is the one thing all music has in common. Whether we’re talking about a symphony, a pop song, a jazz ballad — whether it’s hip hop, ska, r&b — all music takes time. A start, a middle, and an ending. When we’re writing a song, we’re (either consciously or subconsciously) always considering some aspect […]

Singer-Songwriter - Recording Studio

Opting for a Refrain Instead of a Chorus

In common usage within the pop genres, a refrain is a closing line at the end of a verse, usually used in place of a chorus. A classic example is Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’”. “Chord Progression Formulas” shows you how to create dozens of great progressions practically instantly by using some powerful […]

Guitar and music paper - Songwriting

Keep Looking: Second Ideas are Often Better Than First Ones

If you’ve had that happy circumstance where, while trying to write a song, you get some amazing ideas that appear all at once, and you manage to write that new song in one siting, within a half hour or so, I think that’s wonderful. It’s also rare. If hooks seem elusive when you’re trying to […]

Julia Michaels - "Issues"

Getting a Song Working Before the Recording Process

When we talk about musical energy or momentum, we’re often talking about how loud, quick or rhythmically complex a song is. We think of songs that have energy as songs that get us moving. But in fact, energy is more complicated than that. All songs have energy, even the very quiet, slow ballads that are […]

The songwriting journey

Organizing Your Songwriting Sessions: Breaks are Important

Most songwriters have their own kind of writing schedule that works for them. Some work best when they have a project in mind — an album, let’s say, or perhaps a show — and so they work hard, day after day, being guided by the project. And then between projects, their writing slows down, and […]