Musical ideas

Good Songwriting, and the Demand for Uniqueness

I’ve had an approach to writing music that I’ve described on this blog before, which is that second ideas are often better than first ones. That shouldn’t be so surprising, since your second idea will usually take the first one as its model — whether consciously or subconsciously — and modify it. In most cases, that […]

Hal Blaine

Being Good, Being Unique, Being Famous

I think it’s fair to say that no one becomes famous for simply being good. There are lots of really great musicians — and I’m thinking specifically of studio musicians — but unless you take the time to look them up on Wikipedia, you’re not likely ever to know them. The ones that get famous […]

Songwriter - Lyricist

Becoming a More Distinctive, Unique Songwriter

The best songs exhibit a mix of two things: Predictability. Songs need to sound enough like other songs out there that audiences enjoy your music. Uniqueness. Songs need to sound different enough from other songs out there that audiences don’t feel that you’re simply rehashing other writers’ ideas. And that’s a tricky balance to get […]

Songwriting: On Being Safely Innovative

The danger of innovation in songwriting is the possibility of losing fans. They know what to expect from you, but suddenly you’re moving in a new direction that they don’t like. The danger of not being innovative is that you won’t build a fan base, or at least build it painfully slowly. I maintain that the […]

Musical tightrope

Leaning Without Losing Your Footing

Songwriting in the pop genres is, for the best songwriters out there, like walking a tightrope. Lean too much one way, and you’re giving your audiences exactly what they expected from you. No challenge, no getting them thinking outside whatever musical box they live in. Lean too much the other way, and you’ve given them […]

Cooking as a Musical Metaphor

It Doesn’t Take Much to Make a Song Uniquely Yours

I’m not much of a cook, but I’ve certainly eaten enough food to know that once you’ve combined all the ingredients of a recipe in a pot on the stove and turn the burner on, new, wonderful flavours emerge. Flavours that you wouldn’t notice when you consider your ingredients separately. If you really love food, you’ll know […]