How do you write a song?
How ‘bout writing a song for a loved one? Let’s riff on this one. I am sure some of you are getting ready to turn the page. “I can’t write a song; heck, I can’t even PLAY AN INSTRUMENT JEVON!!!” Gotcha! But you CAN write a song. There, I said it. How do you start? Now that is a good question. I have written songs and listened to a ton of songs written and lemme tell you something. Everyone thinks they can write a love song, but this may be the trickiest kind of song to write.
But why not?
Forget the guitar lessons (though I could help you with that) and don’t buy that grand piano yet (pianos are bulky space taker uppers that don’t match anything in a house). I think if you just sat down with a pen and some paper and wrote a song-style poem, you might get lucky in more ways than one.
When we write a song we look for phrases that we have all heard before. Sure you can try to write a song like “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” or use the word copacetic, but most of our favorite songs employ clichés owning the “hook” position in a song, like in “Hurts So Good” or “First Girl I Loved.” We have all heard these phrases or maybe even used them when talking to a lover. Songs like “Karma Chameleon” use trickier wording but make for great songs. Some of my favorite songs don’t mean anything special but SOUND really nice rolling off the tongue. I think looking for a phrase to start your verse or chorus is a good idea. Maybe your guy has a beautiful dad “bod.”
There is a way to HIDE the bad and emphasize the GOOD about your beau.
This is the beauty of song. You can also play on your strengths as a writer if you’re not the bomb diggity guitar strummer. I say write your phrase down and start singing it in your spare time, looking for a partner line for it. You MUST look at some of your favorite songs for ‘rip-off’ ideas. Guys like Paul Simon and Gene Simmons will gladly tell you they never invented anything. Steal, steal, steal. Rinse, repeat. See? There are some cute little tricks right there.
Repeating a good idea is a nice way to drive your main idea home. You can overuse words like “yeah.” Let’s try it. She loves me. Now we will add the word “yeah”—she loves me yeah, yeah, yeah. Now repeat that three times and you might just have something. A lot of great writers use innuendos to make the serious LOVE song a little funny to bring in another emotion.
Or maybe to give the “Mr. Serious Song Guy” a break. “Heaven’s On Fire” is a great tune that uses this songwriting trick to a tee. It will bring you to your knees. Last but not least, be yourself when writing a song. If you aren’t funny, don’t try to be. And I suppose you could pay someone to write a song for your wife too. But be careful. She might fall in love with the other guy! JK … JD
By Jevon Daly