Genesis

Songwriting: Lyrical Hooks and Clichés

I’m a fan of Genesis, but enjoyed the older incarnation of that group more than the one in the mid-80s. That’s not a criticism at all because I think Genesis wrote brilliant pop music. I just happen to like their older prog rock style. Genesis wrote and recorded “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” for their 1986 “Invisible […]

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 […]

Singer-Songwriter - Recording Studio

Opting for a Refrain Instead of a Chorus

In common usage within the pop genres, a refrain is a closing line at the end of a verse, usually used in place of a chorus. A classic example is Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’”. “Chord Progression Formulas” shows you how to create dozens of great progressions practically instantly by using some powerful […]

Pink - Funhouse

7 Steps For Writing a Well-Structured Song Lyric

A good lyric tells a story, whether that’s an actual “first this happened, then that happened” kind of lyric (like the stereotypical “A Boy Named Sue” – Johnny Cash), or whether the story happens indirectly, and we piece the details together, like Pink’s “Funhouse” (Pink, Tony Kanal, Jimmy Harry). A lyric where the story is […]

How to Brainstorm Ideas For Your New Song

You’re sitting in your room with a blank piece of paper and a guitar. How do you get the songwriting process started? Where do your ideas come from? And how do you maintain a fresh supply of ideas so that songwriting can be a daily activity? I think if you’re using the same process every […]

The Importance of a Good Song Title

For many songs in the pop genres, creating the title is a bit of a no-brainer. You simply take the bit of lyric that comes along with the chorus hook or refrain, the bit that repeats probably more than any other bits, and there’s your title: “Happy” (Pharrell Williams) “Just Give Me a Reason” (Pink, […]