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 […]

Derek & the Dominos - Layla

How Many Unique Elements Make a Good Song Tune?

Pop songs are typically 3 or 4 minutes in length. And because this is not a long bit of time we’re talking about, it can be a problem if you put too many ideas together when you write that song. Think of it as a kind of musical “economy.” You’ll use one melody for the […]

Yes - Roundabout

How Simplicity Makes for Good Songs

Some of the best songs ever written have a noticeable core of simplicity about them. Songs where the melody is easy to remember and easy to hum means that audiences are more likely to hum it as they go about their day. Simplicity is part of the reason that we find it so easy to […]

Paul Simon

If You Aren’t Creating Images…

A good lyric might use clever rhymes. And it might use no rhymes. You might write a lyric that’s long and involved, or you might write one that uses very few words. Your lyric might be a story. Or the story might be only vaguely implied. You may write about love, or you might write […]

Lenny Kravitz

When Simplicity Rocks: Lenny Kravitz and “Fly Away”

Twenty-one years ago Lenny Kravitz released “Fly Away“, the fourth single from his fifth studio album, ‘5‘. If you’re not sure you know the song, you’ve likely heard it as the soundtrack for travel agencies, car companies and more, like this Nissan commercial from 2011. If you’re ready to study — to learn why a great song […]

Keyboard - Chord Progressions

Simplicity as a Starting Point

As a songwriter you may be attracted to the notion of writing something complex, something that really gets your audience thinking. Complex chords, intricate harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, melodies that surprise… it’s all part of what makes your 4-minute song something that will stimulate the imagination of your listeners. The problem with complexity in songwriting is […]