Band in rehearsal

Dealing With “To Be Continued” in Songwriting

When I’m watching a drama on network television, I know that I have to deal with constant stoppages in the action. It’s those commercial breaks that pay the bills, and so they’re important. Those commercial breaks probably make TV executives very nervous: it’s during the breaks that I’m most likely to switch stations and try […]

Phoebe Bridgers

What’s the Best Connection to Make Between a Verse and Chorus?

There are many songs that seem to show no particular relationship between the verse and the chorus, except for the fact that they both exist in the same song. Take a hit song like “Somebody That I Used to Know” (Gotye), and you’ll notice that the verse and chorus bear no obvious similarity. For the […]

Connecting Melodic Ideas Between a Verse and Chorus

How much of a connection should a listener hear between the verse and chorus? In other words, except for tempo, key and general feel, can a verse melody set up a chorus well if it bears little to no similarity to that chorus melody? Take the classic hit “Witchy Woman” (Don Henley, Bernie Leadon). Compare […]

Maroon 5

Smoothing Out the Connections Between Song Sections

In good songs, there is a sense of connection — or perhaps communication, in a way — between its various sections. You hear the chorus, and it sounds like the logical follower for what the verse offered. So how do we ensure that each section of a song feels connected to what came before it? […]

Great Song, But How Do You Get People to Care?

In 1958, American composer Milton Babbitt wrote an article for High Fidelity Magazine, called “Who Cares If You Listen?” The provocative title referred to the complexity of modern classical music, and the inability for most people to understand it or enjoy it. Babbitt’s position was that music had become like advanced physics or mathematics: too […]

Bruno Mars - Just the Way You Are

What Makes the Best Kind of Love Song Lyric?

To write a love song lyric means different things to different songs. You can write about how nobody understands your relationship, or you can write of simpler things: how much you love the other one. Or perhaps you’ll use imagery: your love is like a flower garden, a walk in the park, a sunny day… that sort […]