Blake Shelton - Boys 'Round Here

The Role of Cleverness in Popular Songwriting

When we use the word “clever” in songwriting, we’re usually talking about lyrics. In that context, a clever lyric means any one of the following: There’s a double meaning going on that might not be immediately obvious. (i.e., the song isn’t about what it appears to be about) There are common words being used in […]

A Simple Way to Create Minor-Sounding Verses

It’s a common characteristic of many songs in the pop genres: a minor-sounding verse that moves to a major-sounding chorus. You might think that means you need to create two completely different progressions. But let’s say that you’ve worked out a good chorus hook, and now you’re trying to create a verse that partners well […]

Guitar and Piano

How Bridge Chords Work in Most Songs

A bridge (or middle-8) is the section that usually follows the second chorus of a song. Back in the earlier days of rock & roll, that bridge was likely to be strictly an 8-bar section, but these days the definition has allowed for a lot more creativity. In general, though, you can expect a bridge […]

Now, Now

Thinking About the Range of Your Song Melodies

It’s somewhere between possible and likely that when you come up with a song melody, you’re following pure instinct. You may work and re-work lyrics and may spend a lot of time tweaking the chords, but I wonder if melodies always seems a bit random, where the changes you might make over the course of […]

Singer-Songwriter - Recording Studio

Songwriting, the Warts and All

It seems that the era of one song-one songwriter is quickly passing us by. There really aren’t many hit songs that are written by one songwriter anymore. Part of the reason for that is that how we assign credit has changed. In the 60s, for example, you might, as part of the band, suggest a different […]

Brian Wilson

Creating Musical Surprises In Your Chord Progressions

Chord progressions, even in music that sounds innovative or novel, are usually the most predictable part of a song’s design. A song might have lyrics that are hard to understand, and use odd instruments, time signatures or unpredictable melodic ideas, but chords are usually the most easily understood part. That’s why I often use landscape […]