John Legend - Nervous

How Controlling Musical Energy Keeps People Listening

There are some songs, when you compare the start of the song to the end of it, make it obvious what we mean by musical energy. “Stairway to Heaven” is a great example: it starts very quietly, uses subdued acoustic guitar and recorders, with a nostalgic, mid-range vocal approach. The hook is probably the most […]

Piano and guitar - songwriter

How to Write a Song that Connects In an Emotional Way

All songs are about feelings. If you’ve written a song that doesn’t make the audience feel something, you’ve missed the point of what you should be doing. Generally when we talk about songs and feelings, we’re talking about the impact of the lyric. And that makes sense of course. It’s the lyric — the specific […]

Neil Young

In Good Songwriting, You Can’t Tell a Listener What to Feel

To borrow an important observation from Barry Gibb, “Songs are about feelings.” To put it another way, if you haven’t caused your audience to feel something when they hear your songs, you’ve probably missed the point of songwriting. Emotions are funny things: you usually can’t tell someone what to feel. One event or circumstance can cause […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

The Three Steps to Creating an Emotional Response in Listeners

Sometimes the idea for a song will hit you on the spur of the moment, and you’ll sit down with your guitar and try to flesh out that idea, and see if anything comes of it. But at other times, you know that you need to write something, but you don’t have a particular idea […]

Singer - Songwriter

Songs Are About Feelings, So How Do You Get a Listener to Feel Something?

Good songs represent a partnership of components. It’s not just that songs have melodies, lyrics and chord progressions; it’s that the melodies somehow make the lyrics sound better, the chords make the melodies sound better, and the lyrics make the chords sound better. Trying to get a handle on writing song lyrics? Discover the benefits […]