As a conscientious songwriter, you will be faced with a dilemma. On the one hand, you need to write a song that is likable and catchy since you need people to respond to it positively. After all, songwriting and performing is your bread and butter. On the other, you still want to be able to produce lyrics that have meaning and resonate with people.
Now, when you take a look at some of the catchiest songs on the charts, it might feel like you can’t actually reconcile these two elements. Despite this, it is possible – just as long as you know how. The article below deals with how you can create a harmonious balance between appealing and meaningful:
Repetition is Key - But Do It Properly
Let’s face it, one of the things that make a catchy song memorable is the fact that there tends to be a great deal of repetition. Now, some songs may simply repeat phrases or words over and over again. While this will help your listeners remember the lyrics, it isn’t an effective technique if you want to write an evocative song.
This brings us to the question – how can you create repetition and patterns without being a sellout? Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to do this. The first thing to keep in mind is that there are different types of reiteration and patterns. For example, let’s take a look at the lyrics to Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” and focus on the chorus here.
Here you get, “take another little piece of my heart”, “break another little bit of my heart”, and “have another little piece of my heart”. While she is technically repeating the lyrics, she is doing it in a way that creates a lot more imagery by simply switching up the first part of the phrases. At the same time, due to the echoing lyrics, it is an easy chorus to remember. You, too, can utilize such a tactic.
Follow a Popular Structure
People like things they find familiar – this is why you will notice that some of the most popular tracks use a song structure that is easily recognizable. So, when writing a song, there are two guidelines to abide by. You can either choose ABABCB or AABA. Here, A is the verse, B is the chorus, and C is the bridge. As long as you stick with this format, you will find that people gravitate towards your track more easily.
Another trick you can use is to create a contrast between the verse and the chorus. So, opt for deeper, more meaningful lyrics in the verse and round it off with a catchy, punchy chorus. This will help balance out the elements beautifully and also make your song more interesting to boot. It is something you should think about when experimenting with melodies on your instrument as well.
The real trick to writing a catchy song is to keep it short and simple. So, it is a good idea to keep your song under four minutes if you really want it to catch on with your audience. Closer to three minutes might be even better if you can manage it.
However, just because you have to keep your song short and to the point doesn’t mean that you have to forego emotion. What you need to do is to find a simpler way of expressing your feelings. So, it is a good idea to stay away from big words that will put people off. Rather, use words that tug at your heartstrings and create images in your mind.
Have Fun With It
You can talk about an important topic and still have a lot of fun with it. Take Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”, for example – it is an incredibly powerful song about a woman demanding equal treatment. At the same time, it is so much fun to sing and belt out. This is because the melodies and lyrics make it an upbeat track. So, the next time you want to tackle something that is significant but not necessarily heavy, keep in mind that there is more than one way to do it.
This article should make it easier for you to write a catchy song that also has a lot of meaning. Thus, you will be able to reach audiences’ hearts while also ensuring that they don’t stop singing your songs.
Guest Post by: Natalie Landecker
Natalie grew up in a household filled with singing and music. So, it wasn’t all that surprising when she gravitated towards the guitar at a young age and never looked back. These days, Natalie is focused on turning her passion into a career. She also loves reaching out to other music lovers and bonding over songs and instruments. Visit her at her site theguitarpal.com