Showing posts with label songwriting formula. Show all posts
Showing posts with label songwriting formula. Show all posts

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I Got This Songwriting Thing All Wrong

Allow me to paraphrase from a post on a songwriter's board:

"I've been studying how to write a hit song for a couple of years now, and I think I'm finally getting the formula down. Just moved to Nashville! I'm on my way! Just a matter of time!"

Hit Song Recipe

1/2 cup of attitude
1 heaping tablespoon of pickup truck
2 cups of female empowerment, stirred briskly into mix
a generous dash of rock guitar riffs
1 foot-long list, divided into four portions
1/4 cup of "my daddy" (found in the canned foods aisle)
1 can of cold beer


This recipe makes a great last-minute supper, because the ingredients are ones that all hit songwriters should already have on hand.

It doesn't require any hard-to-find items, such as heart, love, or feelings.


Grab a co-writer; two, if available, to help with preparation. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Pour all ingredients into a large bowl, and, using an electric mixer (set on high), beat briskly until mixture forms a pale yellow mush. Quickly pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan, and bake for five minutes at 500 degrees.**

**Or 2 1/2 minutes if you prefer your song to be half-baked. Most hit songwriters choose to use this method.

It is not necessary to allow hit song to cool after removing from oven. It can be served immediately to program directors. They will be so delighted with this dish that they will want to share it with their listeners as often as possible.


You're welcome! Bon appetit!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's A Cookie-Cutter World

Isn't it?

It's not just music. It's any form of entertainment. I don't watch TV dramas, because I know, fifteen minutes in, how it's going to end.

I watch very few sitcoms, because, again, the plotlines are often rehashes. Even some of the good shows. I watch reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond sometimes. Even they redid an old script from The Dick Van Dyke Show, and that was what, fifty years ago?? And least they stole from a good one. If they're not rehashes, then they're predictable.

But my main beef is with music, or more specifically, the music industry.

I don't listen to country radio, because of the boring sameness. The same arrangements, the same subject matter (girls: "I am self-empowered"; boys: "I don't how you could love someone like me, who's such a loser, but I'm glad you do"). The same voices, for the most part.

Why does everything have to be the same? And so predictable?

And then I surf over to some songwriting forums (on my lunch break, normally), and everybody wants to know the same thing: What's the formula for a hit song? Well, that's the problem ~ that there is a formula!

Stop trying to write to formula, and then maybe you'll write something good! How about writing about something you feel, and not being so worried about what rhymes with what? And how many lines need to be in the bridge? (I'm not holding myself up as a shining example of anything. I'm not. I'm speaking as a music fan.)

Postman, can you sell me
A special kind of stamp
One to send a letter from
This crazy lonely man

Hey! "Stamp" and "man" don't rhyme!

Guess the writers should have changed "man" to "tramp". This crazy lonely tramp. That would've been way better.

And honestly, Randy's voice doesn't sound all weak and reedy. He doesn't sound like he's singing in mono. His voice is rich and deep. And he doesn't put that little "cry break" at the end of each line. I don't know how in the world he ever had a hit song.

The other aspect of this recording that begs mentioning is that it doesn't feature a banjo. Any rube knows that in order to have a hit country song, you have to have banjo.

So, there you go. The reasons why "1982" will never be a hit:

1. Doesn't rhyme correctly
2. No thin, reedy voice
3. No banjo
4. No bridge

You know, if this recipe is what it takes to win in the "fame game", then count me out. I'm not saying I can't write to formula. I can, and I have. And those songs are really boring. They're what you write when you're stuck, and you have nothing to say.

They're like watching NCIS, when you know at 8:09 that it was the security guard who did it.

Me, I like songs with heart. I don't care if they're imperfect.

And I'm just tired of being bored.

Here's the song, written by Buddy Blackmon and VipVipperman: