Balancing the Familiar With The Strange

If you’re trying to create chord progressions that stray pleasantly away from the standard I-IV-V-I kind, you need to read “Creative Chord Progressions.” Right now, that eBook is FREE with your purchase of “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle” I learned something important about teaching very early in my career: if you want people […]

Kacey Musgraves

Writing Songs Reminiscent of an Earlier Time

You hear a lot of criticism these days about pop music, and how everything sounds the same. Not enough creativity, no one going out on a limb. In reality, pop music — at least the kind that makes it to the Billboard Hot 100 — has always been populated with songs that sound the same. […]

Blake Shelton - Boys 'Round Here

The Role of Cleverness in Popular Songwriting

When we use the word “clever” in songwriting, we’re usually talking about lyrics. In that context, a clever lyric means any one of the following: There’s a double meaning going on that might not be immediately obvious. (i.e., the song isn’t about what it appears to be about) There are common words being used in […]

Setting Up a Hook Properly Can Be as Important As the Hook Itself

A strong hook is only part of what makes a pop song successful. Your song might have a catchy hook, but if it generally avoids some of the more important principles of songwriting, that hook won’t save it. In fact, a good hook can be wasted on a song that has other obvious problems. All […]

Writing lyrics

A New (Old?) Way of Writing Lyrics

I’m fond of pointing out the similarities between all the different genres of music, because it reminds me that no matter what style of music we call our own, we’re all trying to do the same thing: touch the emotional soul of the audience. For most musical genres, the main differences with songs lie in […]

Songwriting - Objective Listening

Good Songwriting and Objective Listening

It’s a dangerous can of worms to open if you dare ask someone, “What is good music?” Most of the time, people misunderstand the question and think you’re really asking, “What are your favourite songs?”, or perhaps “What is your favourite style (genre) of music?” There is an important difference between “What is good music?” […]