You've all heard them. Classic rockers (and the not-so) singing awdry lyrics about their undying love for that special someone. With lyrics like:
I'll be there for you These five words I swear to you When you breathe I want to be the air for you I'll be there for you I'd live and I'd die for you Steal the sun from the sky for you Words can't say what love can do I'll be there for you (I'll Be There For You - Bon Jovi)
You can really tell what they mean. Really...
Have you ever looked at that special someone and thought to yourself, man, I really love him/her. Maybe I should write them a song and then you get stuck? Never have crossed your mind then, eh? Power ballads are simple and sweet, and any nimrod (no offence to professional writers) can write one. So, for all you non-nimrods, I'm going to show you how.
No power ballad can succeed without a formal structure. The average structure goes something like:
Verses are usually 4-6 lines of mushy oh-no-shes-leaving-so-I-need-to-make-her-stay-without-forceable-confinement-charges, like:
Guess this time you're really leaving I heard your suitcase say goodbye And as my broken heart lies bleeding You say true love in suicide
Another common theme in these songs is the stalker, like:
I could stay awake just to hear you breathing Watch you smile while you are sleeping While you're far away and dreaming I could spend my life in this sweet surrender I could stay lost in this moment forever Well, every moment spent with you Is a moment I treasure
Then, either another short phrase follows, or it goes directly into the chorus
The chorus is usually a simple reprise of the song's theme and title, which has something to do with love or something else that's rather stalker-ish. The structure of a chorus usually goes:
Then, some bands add extra spice by adding a second part to their chorus, which structure is like:
A good example of this is also from I'll Be There For You by Bon Jovi:
I'll be there for you These five words I swear to you When you breathe I want to be the air for you I'll be there for you I'd live and I'd die for you Steal the sun from the sky for you Words can't say what a love can do I'll be there for you
Why am I using so much Bon Jovi? It's probably because they're the kings of the power ballad.
But on to other things:
Basically, it's just the first verse, with a bunch of synonyms thrown in, but, occasionally, it could be a please-oh-please-oh-please-stay-with-me-because-I-love-you-so type plea. Other songs usually will use another stalker-like perspective.
Another chorus usually plays, which is followed by the ever-important solo:
Now the guitar solo in a power ballad is usually a little different than a high-energy song type of solo. First off, It's a little slower-paced, kind of like the song. It will be a bit more melodic than a regular face-melting solo. Keep it in with the key, or do a slight key change for a neat effect (like G to D, etc...) Don't go from a sharp key to a flat key unless you can make it work very well. Avoid a major key to minor key transition as well; it just doesn't work.
Now For The Bridge
The bridge is a few lines, which keeps in line with the theme, and it may make use of a past line, or the title.
Finally, there is generally a reprise of the chorus. It either is used in its original form, or a few lines are altered slightly. Usually following this final chorus you will find some sort of vocal ad lib.
That's the dissection of your basic ballad. Some are different, but for the most part, this is how they go. Sorry if I got a little lengthy, I tried to keep it brief.
Now you can go off, my young grasshopper, and write your own power ballad. Just don't ask me to help you rhyme something with their name though.