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?” […]

Keyboard Player - Songwriter

The Songwriter’s Golden Rule

Rules and songwriting don’t go together, in my opinion. I like to think in terms of guidelines and principles, because those don’t insist so strongly on being followed, at least not as much as rules do. And if we wrote everything to accommodate a rule, where would we find the possibility for creativity? People say that “rules are […]

Reinventing the Wheel

As innovative as The Beatles were, there wasn’t much new in their collective songwriting style. They brought ideas to pop music that had been around for years in other genres, and of course, they did it stunningly well. Their compositional technique gave us some real beauties, but much of what they did had been happening […]