#1
Ive been playing music for 8 years now and writing for about 5 years. In those 5 years, I have never wrote something that I was completely satisfied with your that gets stuck in my head. Lyrics are never an issue. Its always the melody.

With that being said, my favorite songs are those that you can never seem to get out of your head. Rock or pop. I usually write chords first, then melody, then lyrics. I primarily play rock music. My ultimate goal is to write an amazing rock song with great music and an amazing melody to go over top. How do i even accomplish this? Ive been putting a lot of time and effort into this and nothing ever seems to come out of it.

As a reference!, some of my favorite melodies at the moment are:
James Bay - Hold Back The River
Grouplove - Tongue Tied
Daya - Hide Away
#2
If there was some kind of a secret formula for that, everybody would be writing hit songs. But what pretty much all hit songs have in common is a catchy chorus. Focus on melody. That's what needs to be catchy. It's also good to have catchy lyrics.

Just listen to what you hear in your head. The best melodies are singable. It's far more likely for the melody to be good if you come up with it naturally and not by noodling around on your guitar.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
#3
If we knew the secret, we wouldn't be hanging round here.

And if we told you, we'd have to kill you...


Seriously, the "time and effort" you need to put into it should be focussed on learning as many other great songs as you can.
Why were the Beatles so great? Mainly because of the 100s of songs, of all genres, they'd learned to play in the 5 years before they made it.
Same with Dylan, and any great songwriter you care to name. They studied other people's songs, intensively and for years.
All that stuff goes into your brain, reaches critical mass, starts fermenting, and new ideas start bubbling up of their own accord. If there's enough stuff in there, you can't stop it.

The other essential ingredient is having something you want to sing about. A specific reason to write a song, other than "I want to write a song".

But - like I say, if I knew the secret I wouldn't be around here . So take all that with a pinch of salt...
Last edited by jongtr at Nov 11, 2015,
#4
Quote by jongtr

The other essential ingredient is having something you want to sing about. A specific reason to write a song, other than "I want to write a song".


I'm no expert by any means, but generally I find that lyrics are one of the least important parts of a song. I mean, great lyrics can make a good song even better, but passable lyrics aren't going to make a great song worse. That would be my view anyway, generally regardless of genre.
#5
Quote by Random3
I'm no expert by any means, but generally I find that lyrics are one of the least important parts of a song. I mean, great lyrics can make a good song even better, but passable lyrics aren't going to make a great song worse. That would be my view anyway, generally regardless of genre.

Yeah... The lyrics don't really need to be about anything deep. But I don't think that's exactly what jongtr was talking about.

But yeah, many catchy songs have really simple lyrics. Simple is what makes something catchy - too complex melodies and lyrics are hard to remember. Many times mainstream pop songs are about partying. They may also be about girls.

And I agree. Lyrics to me are not that important. They are there to have something to sing along with (they kind of make a melody catchier). They also shape the melody and the rhythm.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Bach Stradivarius 37G
Charvel So Cal
Fender Dimension Bass
Hartke HyDrive 210c
Ibanez BL70
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Yamaha FG720S-12
Yamaha P115
Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Nov 11, 2015,
#6
Some successful song writer's will tell you that they write the chorus first. If they can't come up with a good chorus and lyric hook there is no use going forward with the idea. I admire Dave Grohl's work as a song writer and I saw an interview where he said it usually starts for him with that hook driven chorus. There are a lot of good examples out there of songs that you just can't get out of your head and 99% of time it's that very sing-able hook. Don't think of writing a song as much as writing a good hook for the chorus, then build verses around it that will build back to that chorus.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
#7
Quote by jongtr
If we knew the secret, we wouldn't be hanging round here.


I know the secret.

Call Max Martin and ask him to write a song with you.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#8
Quote by theogonia777 at #33677531


Call Max Martin and ask him to write a song with you.

The Swedes really are everywhere, eh?
Glad to cross paths with you on this adventure called life
Quote by Jet Penguin
lots of flirting with the other key without confirming. JUST LIKE THEIR LOVE IN THE MOVIE OH DAMN.
Quote by Hail
you're acting like you have perfect pitch or something
#9
Hi mate, like most people have said if they knew they would be doing it. But I have a theory that if you listen to hit songs a lot, or popular music in a genre that you like, you kind of get a good idea what they are all about and it will help you write.

Usually hit songs are basic, upbeat, catchy and have a certain emotion about them (not all, but most) I for one say that melody is king, some people may not agree but I think that is that part of a song that gets in your head and makes you remember it.

I have about 3 ways of writing songs. I sometimes noodle and something good comes out like a chord progression or a riff that I can work with, or I have a vocal melody idea and then add chords to it, or rarely I have a lyric that just comes out, now I for one don't really concentrate on lyrics that much, I let the song flow and whatever comes out comes out I don't sit for hours writing lyrics ever! to me they are the least important thing but at the same time I kinda try to get them to make sense. Take a listen to some of my songs man, I listen to a lot of catchy popular music and feel its helped me write better. I am not the best guitarist as only been playing about one year but I am a drummer of 15 years but I am now writing loads of songs all the time trying to make them as catchy as possible Link is below

https://www.youtube.com/TemptedYouthMusic
#10
I agree with the above. There's no real secret I think. You just need to write a hit song, basically.

I find the melody is the most important element, and the hook the most important part of the song. So I think starting with the hook is a good way to go, but it doesn't need to be that way.

Keep in mind that even the best songwriters don't write hit songs every time. Some are very good, and have a real high success rate, like the Beatles, and like Max Martin, and the Beatles had a really wide range of variety also, new styles the world had not heard before even. But most songwriters only write a few hits per album, and a lot of the hits that are recorded in this day and age are written by teams of great writers in a studio, which is really powerful, because one guy can work off another and that can result in something new and interesting. John had Paul and help with arrangements and production, and Max Martin seldom writes and produces completely on his own also.

So, I think the only advice can be that you need to recognize the importance of the hook and the melody and you need to keep writing and improve that way, and trust your instincts. I don't think you could be successful at writing hits if you take a theoretical approach or something like that. But then again, I don't write hit songs for a living, and have never had a song even come in the vicinity of any charts, so you'd probably be better off asking someone that has written a lot of hits. I suspect a lot of it is natural instinct and feel though anyway.

However, I have written songs that I like a lot. Which is really what matters most to me, and it sounds to me like that's something you're having trouble with. So, I would try working section by section, and rework what you don't like until you like it. if you find a hook you love, or melody, you love, accommodate everything else to fit with that. Don't change your melody or hook to accommodate a progression you like, unless it makes the hook or melody better to your ears. To blend section to section, I either imagine what I want to hear, or I might trial end error some stuff and see if I strike inspiration. I might do that thinking of chord sounds, or I might focus more on melody and just find the chords that best fit that, or a bit of both. For my style of writing, lyrics are very important to me, and I spend a lot of time getting those how I like them as much as I can. I find them moderately important in general. To me, if music was a woman the melody and sound and feel of it would be her face, and the lyrics her personality, once you get to know her. Some songs are more shallow, and that's ok, but a song with really great lyrics also is something I can appreciate on a much deeper level. But that's more of a personal thing I guess. I do think though that wording and melody and topic and feel are important, so your content could be shallow, or common, but I find how you phrase it, use metaphors etcetera, is important.

I think it's also a good idea as mentioned above to listen to music, don't just hear it, but observe it, explore music, learn songs and name everything, so that you can pull from a larger pool of inspiration, and more is impulsively accessible.
Last edited by fingrpikingood at Nov 11, 2015,
#11
The thing, how many hit songs continue to remain popular? I mean more than a century? I think that is more difficult to do than write one that sells really well for a while until everyone hates it. It could be due to a couple of factors, such as social taste at the time. But to write something that transcends time is something that actually very difficult to do.
#12
My advice would be to just learn as many of your favorite songs as possible. Tear the song apart then analyze it measure by measure. The goal is to find out why you like the song. Do this for all of your favorite songs and you should start to notice a pattern. I've recently started doing this and it does work. It might take you a while to find out why you like certain songs, but if you analyze it enough you will eventually find it. Also, research the top rock songs of the 90's and 80's and listen to those songs also.
#13
Quote by GoldenGuitar
The thing, how many hit songs continue to remain popular? I mean more than a century?


A lot of Americana and Irish folk standards that remain popular are over a century old. Rocky Road to Dublin, Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye/When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Shady Grove, Cumberland Gap, Whiskey in the Jar, Danny Boy, Cripple Creek, Maiden's Prayer, Yankee Doodle, Turkey in the Straw, Arkansas Traveler, Rare Old Mountain Dew, House of the Rising Sun, Sailor's Hornpipe, etc.

Many of those date to the mid 19th century or older, with Whiskey in the Jar dating back to the mid 17th century (and Metallica's absolute shit recording of the song had some fair chart success), but are still among the most popular tunes played by bluegrass, Irish, and old time music bands. Not to mention that a number of those are very popular as children's songs.
There's no such thing; there never was. Where I am going you cannot follow me now.
#14
^ My point was considering the amount of songs ever written, only a small amount ever stand the test of time.
#15
Quote by GoldenGuitar
^ My point was considering the amount of songs ever written, only a small amount ever stand the test of time.


Ya I think that's a trait of fashion. Some people make great things, and begin trends, and others follow the superficial traits to be fashionable, and it works well for a while, until everything gets over-saturated with shallow mimics, and the quality stuff has moved on to some other style, sometimes even a throwback to something else. What else tends to happen is people will charicaturized some elements too much which makes people hate it. Like, idk, if big watches, or baggy pants or bell bottoms start being fashionable people will eventually get baggier pants or bigger bell bottoms or bigger watches to a ridiculous point and everything good about it is gone, it's just that fashionable trait exaggerated.

But as mentioned, I think a lot of popular music, a lot of hits can, do, and will, stand the test of time, but a lot won't also.
#16
One of the things that makes a song memorable is its structure, and especially its phrase structure (the rhythm used for that), and repeated use of the phrases, with or without change of notes involved. Listen out for that in any of your catchy tunes.
#18
Quote by João1993
You have to sell your soul to Satan
Unfortunately, there's a supply and demand issue there.
Seems he's pretty much got all the souls he needs. Too many people lining up to sell. He's not offering such a good price as he used to.
#19
ok a lot of this stuff is ok, but really all you need is a vocalist who sounds good. you can do whatever you want if the vocalist sounds good.
#20
Quote by jongtr
Unfortunately, there's a supply and demand issue there.
Seems he's pretty much got all the souls he needs. Too many people lining up to sell. He's not offering such a good price as he used to.


yeah back in the 60s 70s satan would take your soul for many hit songs like say beatles and led zeppelin

nowadays you get 1 hit song if your lucky