U2 - Sunday Bloody Sunday

Five Questions About Any Good Song You Should Be Able to Answer

If you’re looking to improve your songwriting abilities, you can do no better than to look to some of the best songs written, and then figure out how the writers of those songs were able to write them. Then hopefully, you can apply what you learn to your own songs. It’s not usually that easy, […]

John Legend

The Benefit of Leaving Lyrics to the Last Step

It’s a good idea to come up with a song topic and perhaps a few snippets of lyric fairly early in the songwriting process. Having the topic gives you a direction for your musical mind, and every line of lyric you generate adds to your song’s character. Thousands of songwriters are using “The Essential Secrets […]

songwriter - guitarist

Too Much of a Good Thing

This post contains some additional thoughts on my previous post about motifs. As you know, a motif is a repeating figure (melodic, rhythmic, or any other musical fragment) that adds strength to the structure of a song. But it begs the question: is it possible for a song to feature too many repeating things? When is […]

Big Star - Thirteen

Writing Melodies to Match the Mood of Your Lyrics

Once in a while I look back in my blog archive just to remind myself of the kinds of things I was writing about a few years ago. I came across an analysis I did in 2013 of the song “Thirteen”, by Big Star, which they wrote and recorded in 1971. That’s a song that still […]

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 – […]