Neil Young

Neil Young, “Rockin’ In the Free World”: Why It Works

“Rockin’ in the Free World” is one of Neil Young’s most popular songs. It’s number 216 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Every time I ever do a “Why It Works” analysis of a song on this blog, you’ll see me mentioning some aspect of the simplicity of design as a positive feature, […]

Songwriter writing lyrics

Fixing Lyrics Two or Three Lines at a Time

As a songwriter, getting the lyrics sounding the way you like is possibly the trickiest part of writing a song. What do you do when what you’ve written sounds lame, corny, or just plain lousy? Your intuition probably tells you that you should go line by line, consider the rhythm and flow of the line […]

Keyboard and Headphones

Songwriting Simplicity is Good; Mindlessness Not So Much

If you ask someone my age (a child of the 1960s, a teen of the 1970s) what they think of today’s pop music, you’ll probably get an earful. Most negative opinions of today’s music will come down to the fact that songs today seem uninspiring, noisy and mindless. “The melodies aren’t interesting”; “The chords are […]

Guitar, Pencil & Paper

Summarizing as a Technique for Improving Lyrics

One of the most common problems songwriters mention with regard to lyrics is that they can sound muddled and aimless. And that can be a tough problem to solve. When you write lyrics, you’re usually trying to be at least somewhat poetic. And things can sound confusing and disorganized pretty quickly when you’re trying to […]

songwriting frustration

Moving Beyond That One Good Song Idea

It’s a common problem for most songwriters at one time or another: you come up with something that’s really catchy, and sounds like the start of a killer song. But then… nothing. You just can’t seem to move beyond that catchy fragment of music. What can you do? On track to make songwriting a full-time […]

songwriter

Troubleshooting a Song That’s Missing the Mark

If you’ve written a song that seemed to start with great promise, but now that it’s finished it sounds downright boring, it may be hard to put your finger on exactly what the problem is. But solving the problem is crucial, because it’s possible that you’re doing something wrong that’s been affecting all the songs […]