It’s What You Do With It

How many times have I heard amateur songwriters — and a few professional songwriters — complain that it’s impossible to write a good song about every day things because no one wants to hear that sort of song.

I have never subscribed to that concept.  I believe that every day things — those things with which a person is most familiar — make for some of the best songs written and recorded. 

In fact, when I teach my songwriting course, I tell my students repeatedly that writing what they are most familiar with is far more powerful than writing what they think is pre-fab commercially viable music guaranteed to secure song placement or airplay.

When you write a song, you have to remember some very basic rules about good writing.

1.  Write for yourself first.  Don’t worry about what sort of songs are in the Top 40 these days.  Don’t think about past Top 40 lists.  Don’t concern yourself with what today’s big acts are putting out on the market.  You’re not writing for your audience or some radio program director or some artist management company.  No, when you write, it’s all about YOU as the songwriter.

2.  Don’t be insulted when the audience doesn’t interpret your song the way you think it should be interpreted.  When they’re listening to your song, it’s all about THEM as the listener.  You have no bearing on how the song affects the listener.

3.  Don’t worry about the arrangement.  If your song is picked up by another recording artist, their people will create their own arrangement.   Stressing over whether they turn it into SOCA or Heavy Metal or any other genre of music is immaterial.  At that point in the game, it’s all about THE ARTIST and his or her team.

4.  A great song — one that endures over the decades — is great because of where it began.  It stands on its own merit and merit like that can only come from a thorough understanding of the subject material discussed in the song. 

It doesn’t come from being topical.  Current events change every single day!  It comes from being honest.  Honesty never changes regardless of the situation.

And to prove my point, I’ve decided to post the video for “The Mom Song” by Go Fish.     For those who scoff at the idea that a song about Mom could be catchy enough to get people up on their feet dancing and moving about, this video will prove to be an enlightening experience.  For those who already know that familiar subject material that touches the writer’s heart is where it’s at, this video will give you reason to celebrate Moms everywhere.

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One Response to “It’s What You Do With It”

  1. Jesse James Says:

    That video is so true and an excellent example of your point.

    Thank you for sharing it.


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