Working On Several Tunes to Avoid Excessive Song Similarity

If you’re still struggling with the fact that all your songs sound similar, the first step in dealing with it might be not to worry: a bit of similarity is not necessarily something that needs to be avoided. After all, if you listen to any hit group, you’re going to notice at least some similarities, and […]

Sarah McLachlan

Song Analysis: “Adia” – Sarah McLachlan

“Adia” (Pierre Marchand, Sarah McLachlan) is one of Sarah McLachlan’s most successful singles, her first top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in 1998. From a musical point of view it’s probably most notable for its beautiful melody and creative chord progression, and well worth a quick study. MELODY The melody (in C minor/Eb […]

Audience at a rock concert

The Power of the People

I’m not a photographer (not a good one, anyway), but I’d rather see photos with people in them than without, no matter how exciting the landmark is that I’m shooting. The simple reason is that we make connections to people more so than to inanimate objects. There’s more to a song hook than meets the […]

Love songs

Good Lyrics Create (Rather Than Describe) Emotions

I read an interview with Paul McCartney once where he talked about the choice of words in “She Loves You.” In particular, he and Lennon considered it a bit risky to be singing a song about “he” and “you”, since most love songs put the singer front and centre. In other words, musical logic dictates […]

Guitar, Pencil & Paper

Getting Ideas When a Line of Lyric is Missing

One bad line of lyric can make an entire verse or chorus sound lame. So what do you do when you’ve got a verse that you really like, except that there’s that one line that just seems to be elusive: you just can’t come up with anything. It might be that the line in question […]

Guitarist - songwriter

Starting Songwriting Sessions With a Musical Game

For most songwriters, the way their craft gets practiced is to do more writing. There’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes doing exercises that target specific songwriting skills is the best way to take what you do to the next level. A number of years ago I came up with five “games” that target specific areas […]