To be successful, a song must be able to reach out and touch the listener and make him or her feel something. This means the song ideally needs to be about something that everyone is familiar with. It also means the lyrics should be honest, believable and heartfelt so that people can easily relate to them.
Taylor Swift says heartbreak is her favourite emotion when she is writing songs. She believes songs about people who are heartbroken tend to make the best and most interesting songs because most people can relate to how it feels.
“I think when you’re heartbroken you need music more than when you’re not,” she says. “There’s something so beautiful about people who are heartbroken. They think about things much more.”
She adds: “When you’re in love and you’re happy you don’t need to think; it’s just there. Love is one of those things that’s so simple, you only need to think about it when it’s bad. When you write a song about what you’re thinking… there’s such a gratification and it helps you move on.”
Taylor Swift is renowned for writing hit songs about her own relationships. For example, she has admitted that ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ was about the break-up of her relationship with One Direction’s Harry Styles. And tracks such as ‘Dear John’ and ‘All Too Well’ were reportedly written about her former flames John Mayer and Jake Gyllenhaal.
She says that when she eventually runs out of stories about her own life, she’ll start writing heartbreak lyrics from other people’s point of view.
Adele is another leading singer-songwriter who shares Taylor Swift’s view about the power of heartbreak songs. “Heartbreak can definitely give you a deeper sensibility for writing songs,” says Adele. “I drew on a lot of heartbreak when I was writing my first album, I didn’t mean to but I just did.”
Richard Marx – whose hits include ‘Right Here Waiting’, ‘Now and Forever’, ‘Too Late To Say Goodbye’ and ‘Hold On to the Nights – also believes sad songs can make the best songs. “I just don’t find that there’s much poetry in a successful relationship,” he says. “The poetry comes from unrequited love and heartbreak and longing … I just find that even as a listener I don’t want to hear happy love songs, let alone write them.”
And the legendary Burt Bacharach also admits that he is drawn to heartbreak songs. “I’ve never been a terribly sad or depressed person,” he once remarked. “But when I write, I just happen to go toward that sort of thing … Maybe that’s because ‘she loves you’ or ‘I’m so happy’ don’t make for such good songs.”
A 5-star rated book at Amazon, “How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is available from Amazon as a US paperback, a UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store. It is also available from Apple’s iTunes Book Store, Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.
“HOW [NOT] TO WRITE SONGS IN THE STREAMING AGE – 40 MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT TO GET MORE STREAMS” - This book shows how the dominance of music streaming is having a profound impact on songwriting and the structure of songs. Songs that connect in the streaming world are no longer the same as songs that work on traditional media, like radio. Successful streaming now requires a different type of song. This means songwriters who want more plays on streaming platforms need to rethink their songwriting approach in order to meet the specific needs of streaming audiences. This book aims to provide a better understanding of the new building blocks of song structure in the streaming age. It examines essential elements found in the construction, melodies and lyrics of the biggest streaming hits – and highlights the most common errors made when these key components are built into a song. To help new songwriters avoid such mistakes in their own songs, the book provides 40 insightful tips and a comprehensive Checklist for creating more streaming-friendly songs. The book is now available from Amazon as a paperback and eBook, and also from leading eBook retailers like Apple Books, Kobo and Barnes & Noble.
‘HOW (NOT) TO WRITE A HIT SONG! – 101 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IF YOU WANT SONGWRITING SUCCESS’
With a 5-star rating at Amazon, this book takes a close look at the essential elements that are consistently found in the structure, melodies and lyrics of all hit songs.
It highlights the most common errors that are made when these key components are built into a song, so that new writers can try to avoid such mistakes in their own songs.
Most writers have had to endure the disappointment of having their songs rejected, and ended up asking: “Could I have done more to make my songs better?”.
“How [Not] To Write A Hit Song!” aims to help writers recognize weaknesses in their songs, so they can re-work them, make them stronger, and hopefully achieve the breakthrough they’re striving for.
The book includes a detailed checklist of 101 common mistakes that writers can measure their own songs against.
“HOW (NOT) TO WRITE GREAT LYRICS! 40 COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN WRITING LYRICS FOR YOUR SONGS”
The 40 most common lyric writing mistakes are exposed in this new book by experienced music publisher and music consultant Brian Oliver.
Written in an easy, non-technical style, the book identifies the most frequent causes of lyric writing problems and aims to help aspiring songwriters steer clear of the many traps that they can easily fall into when writing lyrics for their songs.
“How [Not] To Write Great Lyrics!” gives new writers a wide range of valuable advice – from how to prevent common errors in the basic construction of their song lyrics … through to the perils of making bad choices when it comes to titles, opening lines, lyrical hooks, verb selection, clichés, rhyming patterns, and many other issues.
The book includes a comprehensive checklist of more than 100 potential hazards that writers can measure their own lyrics against.
“SURPRISING RHYMING FOR SONGWRITERS AND POETS -THE ALTERNATIVE RHYMING DICTIONARY”
With more new songs being written than ever before, songwriters are finding it harder to sound original and craft rhymes that have not already been used. “SURPRISING RHYMING” is a new kind of rhyming dictionary that aims to make it easier for writers to avoid clichés and create rhymes people may not have heard before.
Based on an in-depth study of the ingenious rhymes used by some of the world’s greatest songwriters and lyricists, this book offers an astonishing array of thousands of alternative rhyme options. It contains rhyme types much broader than those found in traditional rhyming dictionaries which tend to stick to ‘perfect’ rhymes. Instead, it focuses on ‘imperfect’ rhymes that are less predictable than ‘pure’ rhymes—and are therefore more likely to surprise an audience. The book also includes many new words that have been added to standard dictionaries in recent years.
With 624 pages, the book is laid out clearly to make it quick and easy to find the perfect word to achieve a memorable rhyme. There are separate sections for one-, two- and three-syllable rhymes, along with many useful tips on rhyming.
“SURPRISING RHYMING” is available from Amazon as a paperback and an eBook. It’s also available as an eBook from Apple’s iTunes Store, Barnes & Noble and Rakuten’s KoboBooks.