Some of you on the site have commented to previous posts here and I have incorporated some of your insights and responses into my blog post at belladonna53.blogspot.com. Appreciate any further responses to gain a deeper appreciation of all the experienced musicians on this site.

Writing Interesting Songs
After writing about 260 some songs since 2012, that was six years ago, I'm continually looking at what makes interesting songs. I look at other good and great songs to see what made them tick. I mainly write lyrics which is only 50% of a good song as the music and melody more so has to be good. A good melody can support not so great lyrics, but rarely the other way around. Although, people have mentioned rap where there is just a back beat and the lyrics are key. A lot of what people consider an interesting song is subjective as people have different preferences, whether they like instrumental only music and what song genres they like. I believe a good song does the following

1. Makes someone feel the emotion of the song happy, sad, angry, etc.
2. Makes someone want to dance or tap their toes.
3. Makes someone say I can relate to that, I understand.
4. Makes someone hear the lyrics and say I love that saying
5. Makes someone say that's my story, my life or that’s what's happening right now.

The listener identifies with the song in some way and it touches their heart, their emotions and their psyche. It draws the listener in.

I used to just write songs mostly mediocre and sometimes even bad, just to write and that is necessary in the beginning. Now, I try to ask myself why would someone be interested in this song and/or topic.

In folk and country music, maybe even pop, the lyrics are very important. In folk or country music they usually tell a story or bring a concept to life in a logical way.

The Song Title
Strong and interesting titles are very important. The title has to immediately grab your eye and make you want to check it out. In the world of advertising it’s that slogan or interesting label you see first that makes you want to take a second or a longer look. I’ve been doing FAWM (February Album Writing Month) for several years. Everyone posts songs from all over the world they have written and we all comment on them. I usually scan the song titles daily to see if one grabs my attention and then I will listen to the song. If the title doesn’t stand out I usually pass over the song. Finding good titles is key to your writing a good song. I look for them all the time and keep an alphabetical listing of good titles I find to have available when I want to write. Song titles come from everywhere in daily life. Title of books, movies, poems, ads, a spin on an old cliché (Time Wounds all Heals), a play on opposites (In the Out Door), etc. Although, titles are not copyrighted and you will find many songs with the same title, try to make them your own. When writing your song many times the title becomes your chorus, what they call your hook, the simple summary of what your song is about. The title usually is repeated in the chorus a couple of times.

The Song Lyrics
Now that’s you’ve got an eye catching title, the next step is to write interesting lyrics. Some things to keep in mind
1. Verses tend to be more detailed, versus the chorus which is general, usually a simple sing a long section. The first two phrases of Verse 1 needs to grab attention and draw the listener in quickly. Remember, there are so many songs out there and people’s attention span is short, so they’ll just say next and move on if you writing is dull or rambling.

2. The first verse should immediately define the characters, the scene, the time and place. The who, what, when and where. So you have four to eight phrases to do just that. The listener should know what’s happening in that first verse.

3. So you learn to say a lot in each line and the lines need to be interesting and maybe even clever. The lines need to show and not just tell about feelings or your thoughts. It’s the difference in saying “he was so in love with her” or saying “she woke to a dozen red roses sitting by her coffee”. The first phrase just tells something, whereas the second line paints a picture. The difference is using adjectives (dozen, red), action verbs (woke), nouns (coffee, roses). Think of each line as painting a pictures or a scene in a video you are recording of the song. Similes and metaphors are interesting ways to show information in your song phrases.

4. The second verse for many people is much more difficult, I’ve heard it called “stuck in second verse Hell”. But maybe it’s just because the song is not well planned out. In the beginning maybe I just started writing, but now I am much more methodical about planning my song in an outline sort of style, so I already know what I’m going to write in the second verse and possibly the following bridge. The second verse adds more information and develops your story more. It should progress logically and sequentially in some order from the first verse. Again you need what Nashville calls some furniture, using words that show and dress up lines and not just talk about feelings or what is happening. A little telling is okay and don’t worry it’s what tends to happen normally without even thinking, we automatically go to telling. So focus on trying to show and paint pictures in your lines.

Another interesting way of showing is conversations between your characters or having a conversation with the listener. Think of George Jones singing “He said I’ll love you ‘till I die” or starting the song with “Good morning, darling”. The singer is having a conversation and that’s interesting to the listener.

5. You don’t always need a bridge, but if you have one it should not look like another verse. The bridge should be shorter and show a different perspective or a moral to the song, or a positive, hopeful insight to wrap up the song.

If you want to progress as a songwriter you need develop daily habits of writing. That doesn’t mean you have to write a song every day, but you should collect some interesting titles and keep a list, you should write a few interesting phrases, maybe as a start on a song. Pat Pattison’s objectwriting.com is a great place to develop your skill of showing and not telling. Every day a word is posted and people write about the word using the senses of seeing, hearing, smell, touch, taste, internal senses (my heart was racing, etc) and movement (kinesthetic). This practice helps you write in a show me way. In addition, on the site is an area to practice metaphor and simile writing, which is a good daily thing to do, learn how to develop interesting metaphors.



Edited by Belladonna (02/20/18 08:56 AM)