1 – FOUR BAR PROGRESSIONS
Some of the best songs were written use a simple four bar progression. However, this is something I find is often overdone. There often needs to be some kind of relief or new dissonance to ensure that the listener is exposed to something to peak their interest. Try adding 8 or even 2 bar progressions to mix it up. ADD A BRIDGE, even if it only appears once in the song. There is always room to reintroduce these parts of the song later.
2 – CLICHE IN LYRICS
Cliches such as “flying away” or “falling” are not necessarily bad things. All songs need a touch of the predictable to make it accessible to more listeners. But each writer can present something new to the craft of songwriting. If you want to present something that shakes thing up a bit, add imagery that will make listeners think out of their comfort zone.
3 – “FEELINGS”
In Dead Poets Society, John Keating described studies other than poetry as noble pursuits, but we write poetry because as “members of the human race,” we “are filled with passion.” We write songs because it defines the truth as we see it through the human condition. Many songs explore emotion.
However, I find songwriters take it very literally. Not to say that we should say when we are depressed or euphoric in a song. But I hear songs that say “I’m happy” or “I’m sad” in context to the song’s subject.
The first thing I would consider before doing this is the physical and how it can represent your emotion. If whoever you are writing about is stressed or overwhelmed, for example, it is okay to say it. But if they are smoking a cigarette, that imagery can be used to display the emotion that is meant to coincide, instead of literally saying “you are stressed”. Tell a story through vignettes and examination of physical surroundings.
In a haiku, the writer presents a physical scene, and we are allowed to interpret the philosophical or emotional point present. Let the physical examine the internal, and listeners will understand what you are expressing.
Originally published on ReadWave.
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