Sad songs

How Emotion and Music Intersect

This is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, and so I’ll state this up front, and then give you some additional thoughts: Good music is not meant to express emotion; good music IS meant to create emotion. I want to tell you a bit more about this. To say that a good song […]

Writing song lyrics

Using Imagery to Increase the Emotional Effect of Your Lyrics

Imagery is an important part of writing good lyrics, but it’s hard to teach imagery. There are probably lots of ways to define it, but for me, imagery means that you’ve been able to generate a complex picture with very few words. “Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process” is FREE with your purchase of […]

Songwriter

Choose a Good Topic, But Concentrate on the Quality of the Lyric

Believe it or not, the specific topic of a song isn’t all that crucial to its success. “Hotel California” is a hugely popular song from the 70s, and there were considerable debates at the time of its release as to what it was actually about. The confusion of listeners didn’t damage the listeners’ ability to […]

Adele

Finessing the Love Song

After all these years, love songs still work. You’d think songwriters would have run out of original things to say about the topic. If you expand the category a little more and consider the songs that are more generally about relationships, the majority of the songs on the Billboard Hot 100 at any given time […]

Bruce Springsteen - I'm On Fire

Allowing Listeners to Create a Story With Your Song

Just this morning I went to YouTube and listened to Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” Such a powerful song, and I don’t think I had ever seen the official video before, which includes a short dramatization of Springsteen as a car mechanic being asked to repair a car by a woman we never actually see, other […]

Singer - Songwriter

The Best Song Lyrics Have Emotions That Arrive in Waves

Even if a song is about something emotional (love, deep friendship, death of a loved one, etc.), it doesn’t work so well to have that lyric be deeply emotional all the time. If all the audience hears is heart-wrenching feelings from beginning to end, it starts to dull its own effect. It’s far better to have […]