Neil Young

Neil Young, “Rockin’ In the Free World”: Why It Works

“Rockin’ in the Free World” is one of Neil Young’s most popular songs. It’s number 216 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Every time I ever do a “Why It Works” analysis of a song on this blog, you’ll see me mentioning some aspect of the simplicity of design as a positive feature, […]

Guitar - Songwriter

5 Tips For Using a Chords-First Songwriting Process

A chords-first songwriting process has a few challenges that need to be dealt with. One of the main problems is that there is a tendency to focus more on the chords than on the melody. That can lead to songs that don’t have enough of a tune to be memorable. “Hooks and Riffs: How They […]

Singer - Open mic

When a Song Sounds Bad, Take a Look at the Structure Underneath

When a song sounds great, we like to think that there’s a certain magic involved. But if you are a student of songwriting, as most good songwriters consider themselves to be, you’ll know that it’s not magic that makes a song great. A song sounds great when it follows basic musical principles. And we love […]

Led Zeppelin

The Best Songs Are Partnerships of Ideas

Make a little list of what you consider to be the best songs you know, and you’ll probably see one thing that is in common: each song represents a partnership of ideas. What does that term “partnership of ideas” mean? It refers to the fact that all the various components of a song — the […]

Paul McCartney

When the Verse Melody Becomes the Bridge

Here’s something interesting: the melody that Paul McCartney uses as his verse melody for “You Never Give Me Your Money” (“Abbey Road” album) serves, for all intents and purposes, as a bridge melody for “Carry That Weight.” True, the fact is that its appearance as a bridge melody is overshadowed by the fact that its main […]

Louis Armstrong

What Makes a Perfect Song?

“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting”Lyrics become all the more powerful when they’re properly paired with a good melody. That’s what Chapter 5 is all about in the eBook “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting.” Polish your songwriting technique with the 10-eBook Bundle. Every once in a while you come across a song that you might describe […]