What is it that makes a hit song? What is it that makes a song "good"? Can I make the world's best song and will it be heard if I do?
I always had the notion that when that one song is found, that's it, stardom. But after a few years of trying to produce full blown songs, lyrics and all, I've found that when you look back your music you find that your ears really do no how to polish a turd. How do you listen from far away without loosing all sense of emotion?
I don't think I have the answer, I don't think anyone does. But I think there's a way to be honest and produce honest music. It seems that people have there own niche in certain types of music. Whether it is based on what they grew up with there parents listening to or just how they generally feel, it's got to be honest.
Therefore I'd like to attribute the first most important part of a good song to honesty. Whether your a singer, guitarist, bassist, or drummer. I constantly see band members restricting each other from doing what they do best. You cant sit back and contribute nothing, and you can't let other band members intimidate you. If they do then your environment isn't comfortable or honest. Without honesty your band is just another set of dead eyes producing no emotion from any angle. If you pour true emotion into what your doing than you should love it. If you love it then you'll find yourself fighting to make it the best it can be.
The second would have to be mentality. It might go hand in hand with honesty if you consider yourself something of a good person, but it really effects every part of your song. Do you think Keak Da Sneak could pull off metal? Can you imagine James Hetfield "spittin 16 bars"? I've made several songs where I put someone in my mind, and then performed for them. I don't know if I'd consider these songs the better of the bunch. It's always seemed better for me to think of who I'm making the song for and then get lost in my own world. Not to produce for them, but with them.
The third and final attribute to what I think makes a good song is quality. Once again going hand in hand with honesty. When you start getting deep into a song that really gets your blood flowing, an honest song that means a lot to you, you will find yourself fighting for quality. People really just don't want to listen to the sound of poop oozing from speakers. I'm not only referring to compressors, filters, and reverbs, etc., I'm referring to the artist themselves. The definition of quality "a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something" is a great way to portray how you yourself should be as a musician. Korn's sounds aren't the prettiest and distortion was a mistake. Bad timing adds a cool flavor to hip-hop (Swing) and a grotesque screaming singer enrages you. Quality doesn't have to mean pretty, it just has to mean that your song does what its supposed to. That you conveyed an emotion it in a proper way.
On a simpleton level, listen to your music through several different speakers, stop and rethink what your doing if you feel yourself start to burn out. Make sure what your doing is honest and know that what your writing is history. Make your mark and make it count. GO HARD.
By Christopher Paulson