Bruce Springsteen

Simplicity Is Often the Main Ingredient in Songwriting Innovation

Back in 1982 Bruce Springsteen released “Nebraska,” his sixth studio album. It’s the perfect example of “barebones.” Springsteen played all the instruments himself: guitar, harmonica, mandolin, glockenspiel, tambourine, Hammond organ and synths. He even recorded the album himself at home on a small 4-track Teac cassette machine. Stuck with how to get chords that fit […]

Bruce Springsteen

Giving Your Songs a Good Sense of Progression

When we talk about progressions, the automatic assumption is that we’re talking about chords. But the reality is that in good songs, practically everything progresses. The reason for the assumption that we’re talking about chords is that they will quickly sound disorganized and confusing if we don’t pick up that all-important aspect of progression. Simply having […]

Bruce Springsteen

Allowing a Chorus to Grab Attention When the Verse Uses the Same Melody

A few articles back I gave some advice on what to consider when you’re trying to write a good chorus hook (“Creating Effective Song Hooks“). But what do you do when your verse and chorus use the same or very similar melody? How can a chorus hook do its job if the verse is using […]

Bruce Springsteen - I'm On Fire

Allowing Listeners to Create a Story With Your Song

Just this morning I went to YouTube and listened to Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” Such a powerful song, and I don’t think I had ever seen the official video before, which includes a short dramatization of Springsteen as a car mechanic being asked to repair a car by a woman we never actually see, other […]

Springsteen - Tunnel of Love

Creating Song Lyrics That Are Relatable

While browsing about on YouTube recently I listened to one of my favourite Bruce Springsteen songs, “Tunnel of Love” (1987) from the album of the same name. I loved reading through the comments on the page, because it was obvious that other people love the tune as much as I do. I want to talk […]

Bruce Springsteen

Tips for Writing a Verse-Refrain-Bridge Song

Writing a song that’s mainly a set of verses, each one ending with a pay-off line, has a simplicity that really works well. The pay-off line– a refrain — often sneaks into the song at first, without it being obvious that it’s operating as a powerful closer that’s going to keep coming back. Bruce Springsteen’s “All That […]