Songwriter - Writing Lyrics First

Seven Ways to Become a Better Lyrics-First Songwriter

If you’ve been working on trying to become a better lyricist, I congratulate you. Great lyrics will be a crucial part of your eventual songwriting legacy. If you look at lists of the world’s best songwriters, you’ll notice that for most of those writers the quality of their lyrics has played an important role in […]

John Newman

Using a typical Verse to Help Write a Bridge Section

In pop songwriting, a bridge (also called a middle-eight) usually occurs after the second chorus, or, in songs that don’t use a chorus, after the second verse. For songs in verse-chorus formats, this is the common position of a song’s bridge: Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – BRIDGE – Verse – Chorus – […]

Peter Gabriel

The Best Songs Fluctuate Between Fragile and Strong Moments

I talk a lot about the concept of “fragile” versus “strong” in songwriting, and particularly when I’m talking about chord progressions. In that regard, “strong” means “clearly indicating the key with a short, unambiguous set of chord changes.” With chords, “fragile” means the opposite: making the key less clear — less obvious, by creating a […]

Songwriting in the studio

Songwriting and the Meaning of Music

When you think of the word meaning as it applies to your songs, are you talking about the picture that gets created from the lyrics? Or perhaps you’re talking about the picture that gets created from the sound of the instruments? For me, I pull more meaning out of the instrumental/vocal performance of a song than […]

Paul Simon

More Thoughts on Uniqueness, Conformity, and Artistic Value in Songwriting

Monday’s blog post, “Uniqueness is a Powerful and Necessary Element in Good Songwriting”, got me thinking a lot more about the challenges of writing something singular within a particular genre, and so think of this post as a kind of “Part 2” to that article: One thing that practically all artistic works have in common, […]

guitarist - songwriter

Does It Matter Which Process You Use to Start the Writing of Songs?

When a songwriter is asked the question, “How do you start a song?”, they usually mean, “Which element of a song (lyrics, melody, chords, etc.) do you work on as your first step?” That element then becomes the identifier for a particular songwriting process: a “lyrics-first process”, a “melody-first process”, and so on. No matter […]