Paul Simon

Creating an Emotional Response With Song Lyrics

It’s an observation about lyrics that I’ve become aware of only recently: I tend to think of good lyricists as people who either a) make me think, or b) make me feel. Sometimes both simultaneously, (like you might experience with a song like, say, “Crying Lightning” – Arctic Monkeys (Alex Turner) but often one or the other. […]

Gotye

Lyrics Need to Support the Form of Your Song

When you look at a song’s lyric as displayed on a website or written down on paper, you’re not often aware that the nature of the lyric changes as the song progresses. But it does, and it’s important to get this right if you’re the lyricist. When we talk about a song’s form, at least in […]

The Importance of a Good Song Title

For many songs in the pop genres, creating the title is a bit of a no-brainer. You simply take the bit of lyric that comes along with the chorus hook or refrain, the bit that repeats probably more than any other bits, and there’s your title: “Happy” (Pharrell Williams) “Just Give Me a Reason” (Pink, […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

Finding the Meaning of Your Song Before the Lyrics Happen

Though everyone has a favourite way of starting songs, I think it’s fair to say that most people will use many different processes, depending on what musical idea pops into their head at the start of a session. Some typical ways of starting: Setting up a percussion loop and improvise over it, using the mood […]

Guitarist - songwriter on stage

Songwriting and Other One-Sided Conversations

If you ask songwriters to describe the most difficult part of starting any songwriting process, I’m sure many — perhaps most — would say, “Deciding what to write about.” A song is a kind of social interaction. There are vague similarities between singing a song you’ve written, and having a conversation with someone, but with the […]

Songwriting and Line Drawing

I’ve written a few articles on this blog about the notion of drawing a line that represents your melody (like this article I wrote a few years ago). It’s not just that it’s kind of neat to see your melody sketched out as a line; there is a real purpose and benefit from seeing your […]