David Bowie - The Next Day

How a Creative Chord Progression Can Make a Song More Meaningful

Of all the various elements that go together to make a song, a chord progression can get away with being less than imaginative. Your melody and lyric both need to be new and interesting, or else you haven’t written an original song. But the chords might be as mundane as a standard I-IV-V-I type of […]

Creating Musical Ideas

What To Do When Lyrics Sound Forced

The best lyrics, whether they’re straight-forward (“Somebody That I Used to Know” (Gotye), for example), or complex (“Roundabout” – Jon Anderson/Steve Howe), share an important feature: they typically use words that you’d find in casual conversation. Take some time to look at the lyric sheets of your favourite songs, and no matter what genre you […]

Freddie Mercury

Dealing With Your Own Negative Opinion of Your Songwriting Efforts

Psychologically speaking, there are two ways to approach songwriting; you can be the kind of person who assumes you’ve got it wrong, or the kind of person who assumes you’ve got it right. Most of the time, your songwriting process relies greatly on improvisation and testing ideas as you go. When you create something — […]

Feist - 1234

Creating a Song From 3 Short Melodic Ideas

Here’s an alternative to always thinking in the verse-chorus format: try creating three short melodic fragments, all in the same key, and then putting them together to create a complete song. Don’t worry or think about which one is the verse or chorus. If you want a real example of what I’m talking about, you […]

KISS - Beth

5 Most Common Chord Progression Problems

Innovative, unique chord progressions are tricky, because in most pop songs the chords have an important function: provide a simple way — a musical path or road, so to speak — to move away from the tonic chord and then back again. It really is that simple. “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBook bundle includes “Writing a Song […]

Paul McCartney - White Album Sessions

The Difference Between Meaning and Message

If you wish that your songs had better lyrics, and you’re actively working on improving that aspect of your songwriting, that is definitely time well spent. Meaningful, powerful lyrics will likely be studied and admired long after practically any other element of songs. In the writing of more poignant lyrics, it’s worth noting that meaning and meaningful […]