As songwriters we should always be looking for ways to express what’s inside our minds and our hearts plus, what we observe externally from ourselves.
We also have to balance this need to express ourselves with the fact that we also want others to listen to our songs and relate to, embrace and make those songs a part of their lives.
So, in saying that, why do we then have the tendency to complicate the messages or statements that we’re trying to convey in our songwriting?
It should be obvious to anyone that by making things too complicated in our songs, how should we expect our listeners, our audience to relate to them?
Songs are generally between three to five minutes in length so there’s only a small window of opportunity to create a lasting impression with your listener.
The best thing that you as a songwriter can do is:
1. Create an environment in which the listener can immediately understand and relate to what you are trying to say.
Use this as your songwriting mantra…
One song, one idea
One song, one story.
One song, one point of view.
One song, one image.
2. Allow the listener to focus on your song, not be bamboozled by it.
If you try to introduce more than one idea into the song you start creating mixed messages for the listener. The last thing you want to is to confuse your listener into turning off from your song.
We live in a world in which information is instant. People today demand the information that they receive to be concise, to the point and easy to understand.
Songs, as a medium to convey information and concepts are no different.
3. Hold the listeners hand through your song and take them on the journey.
Once you have established the point/story/message of the song you have a certain amount of time to really explore that with the listener. This is where the fun begins, this is where your creativity as a songwriter comes into play.
The balance between words and rhythm becomes very important here otherwise the song becomes clumsy and hard to understand.
Here is a songwriting tip for you. Go through your songs and for each one, write down all of the points you are trying to make.
Really analyse your songs to see if you are putting too many messages in them.
If for instance you have a song in which there are three distinct message that you are trying to convey, separate the messages and write three songs about each of them.
For me, if there’s a song in which for some reason I can’t finish, it’s normally because I’m trying to say too much in it. Once I strip it back, the path which completes the song magically appears before me.
Lets see if that happens for you. If it does, let me know.
Until next time, keep on writing,
All About Songwriting