songs

Five words per song

Seth Godin has an idea called “Ten Words Per Page.”

He says that readers only register “ten words per page” when they are “reading” a text.

“Which means,” he says that in “your memo, your ad, your announcement, your post–you get ten words” to make an impression on them and cause them to want to engage (i.e. keep reading or take an action).

I’d posit that as songwriters, we only get five words… or less. And we only get the five melody notes that go with those five words.

(Of course, I am purposefully NOT talking about the groove, tempo, sound-scape of the song here. These matter too, but let’s take them off the table right now.)

Five words to make someone listen longer, hit repeat, send the song to someone else, talk about it with another person.

So… about that new song you’re working on:

Where are your most important five words?

What are your melody notes for those words?

Are they the most important melody notes in your song or are they just like all the others?

Maybe you have to write the song to find your five most important words. If that’s the case, then you must rewrite to make sure they are where they need to be (in the chorus, probably) and highlighted by the five most searing melody notes.

And as Seth points out, “If you can begin with the [five] words and write around them, you have the foundation for an effective message.” If you already know what your five most important words are … you are WAY ahead of the game.

My song isn't really mine, it's yours

What if me writing a song wasn’t about me. What if it was about you.

It seems strange to say this, because of course the song is about me. It’s my song. I was moved to write it about something I care about.

But what if, once I wrote it, it wasn’t about me anymore. What if now that I finished it, it became about you. It helped you understand something, it changed you, it healed you, it helped you. Maybe “my” song set you free, or made you cry, or had you pick up the phone and call a friend. Maybe it helped you deal with what you are going through. Maybe it gave you a little more strength, a little more faith. Maybe it helped you feel understood.

The song’s no longer mine, really. It’s yours.

2 Songs a Month - May Edition

Guess what?

I'm human.

This month's second song didn't happen.  Well, actually it did happen quite a lot.  I slaved and slaved.  But it's just not ready for the cold light of day ... yet.  So yeah.  Chalk it up to perfectionism.  Chalk it up being there for my Mom.  Chalk it up life and death and everything in between.  Some songs take their own sweet time. 

Here's the one song I hammered out this month.  It's called "Yes She Is" and you're gonna want to sing it to someone you know of these days.

As for the recording ... It's the same as it ever as: a work tape.  No going back, no overdubs.  From my heart to your heart, to his heart to her heart.  

What is this thing called the 2 Song A Month Club?  FAQ is here.  February and March and April, too!
 

I get a kick out of you / u

I'm working away on new songs this month.

Often, writing songs includes a lot of research: looking up words in the dictionary, checking out synonyms and antonyms, using a thesaurus, reading up on the etymology of a word, seeing how else it's been used, etc.  Sometimes, I end up down the rabbit hole.

It happened to me today, working on a new tune that is kind of a "list" song.  It made me think of other great list songs (someday, I'll make a list of list songs ... there are some great ones out there).

I wanted to remind myself of the lyrics to my hero Cole Porter's "I Get A Kick Out of You," so ... I googled it.  After reading the lyrics and listening to a bunch of different versions, I came upon this wonderful rendition / spoof.

It made me smile!  Hope it makes you smile too ...

Do you know other equally as inspired takes on popular songs?  I'm talking Weird Al and beyond?  Clue me in, will you?  Leave a comment below!  Share the wealth!