The Weeknd

Creating Effective Song Hooks

Most of the time when you talk about the hook of a song, you’re talking about the main, distinctive part of the chorus. There are many different ways to hook a listener, but you could argue that the chorus hook is the most important one, as it gives listeners the most memorable part of the […]

The Beatles

The Most Important Thing to Know About Song Form

You’d think, because practically every song we know is designed to be alternating verses and choruses (with other miscellaneous sections thrown in from time to time) that verses and choruses are a necessity for any good song. If you think that, you’d be wrong. That’s not to say that the design of your song isn’t […]

Simply Red - If You Don't Know Me By Now

What You Need to Know About the Rhythms of Your Melodies

Most of the time you probably don’t think a lot about the rhythms you use for your melodies. That’s because the rhythm is usually determined by the lyric. The words you use will tell you what the rhythms are going to be. Many songs live or die on the quality of its hook. “Hooks and […]

Eric Carmen

What Can You Really Learn From an Old Song?

From our standpoint here in 2021, it may be hard to hear the difference between a song written and recorded today, and one that was done, say, three years ago. Ten years ago? You start to hear some differences. And if you go back a few decades, to the 80s for example, there are lots […]

songwriter's challenges

Starting Songs: Building On that First Idea

A common stumbling block for songwriters is: how to continue a song once that initial song idea has been created. It can feel very discouraging, because often that first song idea happens easily, and you feel excited for what’s to come. And then… nothing. I wrote about this a week or so ago, and in […]

Neil Diamond

Taking a Close Look at a Song’s Pre-Chorus

If you’re looking for a song that has what amounts to being a textbook definition of a pre-chorus, that song would be Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” The pre-chorus section (“Hands, touchin’ hands/ Reachin’ out,/touchin’ me, touchin’ you”) moves step-by-step higher while the instrumentation builds, the vocal style becomes edgier, and everything gets louder. Those are […]