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 […]

7 Ways to Develop a Diverse Songwriting Style

Get the eBooks that thousands of songwriters are using to polish their songwriting technique. “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle” shows you every aspect of how to take your writing to a new level of excellence. One of the most impressive aspects of Lennon & McCartney songs is the incredible diversity. It seems that […]

Elton John

Sometimes Principles Confuse Us

Lately it seems that I’ve been getting a lot of comments, both through email and in the comments section at the ends of various posts, questioning some of the various songwriting principles I write about. Mainly, a comment will go something like this: “You say that chorus progressions are shorter than verse progressions, but I […]

Adele - Someone Like You

Checking and Comparing Verse and Chorus Melody Range

For many songwriters, getting a catchy melody for your song happens as the result of improvising melodic ideas over a chord progression. If that’s your normal process, it’ll usually work well for you. But improvising ideas should always be seen as a first step to getting a final version of a melody that really works. […]

Feist - How Come You Never Go There

The Tricky Nature of Pop Song Analysis

I’m a believer in song analysis as a way of improving songwriting technique. For any writer of music, basic curiosity should make us want to know why something sounds so good, so that we might be able to incorporate at least some of those ideas into our own music. (Or why something sounds so bad, so […]