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What is most important for a successful song?

Discussion in 'The Writers' Block' started by kbold, Dec 4, 2019.

  1. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes, for me anyway. I can only speak to my relationship with it.
     
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  2. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    xxx
     
  3. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Makes sense.

    A wild coincedence: This afternoon I started reading a collection of George Orwell's writings. The first article is "Why I Write."

    Though his writing and mine have nothing in common (even aside from the fact that his was great and mine isn't), it turns out we have a lot in common. He says:

    "I had the lonely child's habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons . . . ."

    "For minutes at a time this kind of thing would be running through my head: 'He pushed the door open and entered the room . . . .'"​

    That sums up exactly how I operate. Like Orwell, I'm always writing, whether I'm writing or not.

    Right now, my head is buzzing with a new guitar groove for the old Coasters song "I'm a Hog for You."

    I'd better get to it!
     
  4. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    PS -

    Yeah, I didn't mean it can't be lonely. I just meant loneliness isn't a requisite. Song writing is certainly lonely for some people. It's just not lonely for all of us — in answer to "Song writing is a lonely and vulnerable pastime."

    That's all I was saying. There are as many ways to write songs as there are songwriters. That's why I like the Writers' Block. Comparing (ahem) notes.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
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  5. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Afflicted

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    What is most important for a successful song ? A market for it.
     
  6. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    There is a song writing platitude :
    Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.
    My personal favorite components are a lilting melody, clever word play, and simple, clear imagery.
    I also like the KISS rule :
    Keep It Simple, Silly!
     
  7. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

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    For me, the writing experience is a bit like that bible verse that refers to casting one's pearls before swine. I feel like I expose vulnerable parts of myself and they are received with wooden ears, little or no acknowledgement, or are completely ignored. I find that, lonely.
     
  8. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    I hear you! That's hard. You might feel sort of like a Cassandra. Or a Nick Drake.

    As my avatar might tell you, I don't expect or try very hard to be appreciated. I do the things I do, including writing songs, because I want to.

    Don't get me wrong. I put a lot of time into making my songs good. But whether anyone else likes them is their business, not mine. When someone likes on of 'em, that's a happy surprise. When no one does, so what? It's just another so-what-else-is-new.

    Now excuse me while I go eat some worms . . . .
     
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  9. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Following up: Ended up with a progression I like so much that I might have to chuck the Coasters' words and stick my own in. The twelve-bar chorus:

    A G / Em7 D / (x2)
    D A / G D / (That A kills me.)
    Em7 / D - C G / (And that devilish C!)
    A G / Em7 E7 / (The E7 is the last nail in the coffin.)

    Hm. Scrribbled out an homage to payday recently. Oughta go dig it up see if it fits . . . .
     
  10. popthree

    popthree Poster Extraordinaire

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    And dont get me wrong. I write because i want to do it. Personal satisfaction is paramount. But if I'm honest with myself, being appreciated for my craft is important too. And thats where the loneliness comes in.

    Which is why I mentioned City of New Orleans.

    A lot of people dont even know that Steve Goodman wrote it. They think its an Arlo Guthrie song.

    Now ole Steve did get some credit, and that's deserved. I'm sure glad.
    But maybethe answer to the OP question is, a song needs a successful recording artist, to be successful.
     
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  11. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Hear, hear!
    Really, it was the wrong question. Or at least too easy. What it takes to be successful is sales.

    When we talk about art, success is overrated and overpaid. With a lot of recording artists, the more they make, the worse they sound. Next stop, Vegas.

    It's more fun hearing a street-corner nobody rip into a song for all it's worth. So I leave fame to the famous.
     
  12. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    Guess I can chime in here....

    As far as "what makes a successful song"?
    Write for the AM radio formula that's currently popular?.
    I don't really know as I'm parsecs away from achieving that milestone.

    1) Likewise....I don't write complicated music/progressions.
    That's not what I strive for.....I strive for coherent lyrics/good imagery/interesting subject/story line continuity and NON-chiche subjects.
    No vapid, love song sap for me or SJW/political rants/subjects as if to lecture people.
    Those views I keep to myself.

    I'm not easily pleased with myself and spend most of my song writing efforts with fleshing out the lyrical expression.
    There's a million subjects to write about...we just have to challenge our imagination as opposed cookie cutter subject matter.

    2) Yep....nothing I write would appeal to the masses...hence, the title of my 2008 CD..."Never Made It Big....But I Don't Care".
    Song writing is just something I've done for decades as creative therapy and it's a "lonely" passion much of the time.

    3) Ha....I hear you.
    Family/friends will always patronize our efforts....it means little to me.
    It's what my peers here say/think that has true merit from my perspective.
    I don't get a lot of comments when I post a new song here and it's generally on page two pretty quick....guess there's a message in that. :)

    No matter....song writing is very personal...we do it because it's part of who we are and how we desire to express ourselves in this context.
    Should our peers comment favorably (if I may quote myself from an older thread) "it's just frosting on our creative cake".

    I do wish this forum to stay (more) active with their creative efforts.
    I'll always chime in if I find something I perceive as musically noteworthy.

    But....that's just me.
    Be smart/stay safe everyone....back to it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2020
  13. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    PS -

    The coincidences are piling up. I'm still reading that Orwell book, and I just came to a part about Herman Melville that reminds me of what you wrote:

    "We see him as an overworked man of genius, living among people to whom he was hardly more than a tiresome, incomprehensible failure . . . . [P]overty, which threatened even when he was writing Moby Dick, infected him through nearly forty years with such loneliness and bitterness as to cripple his talents almost completely . . . .

    "He was, it is clear, a man as proud as Lucifer, raging agaist the gods like his own Ahab, yet full of a native joy that made him embrace life even while he saw its cruelty . . . . More important than his strength, he had — what is implied in real strength — passionate sensitiveness; to him beauty was more actual and pain and humiliation more agonising."​

    Not bad, huh? Rage on!
     
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  14. Charlie Bernstein

    Charlie Bernstein Poster Extraordinaire

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    Except for my wife, thank God! She tells me exactly what she thinks.

    Had to Google SJW. A few of my tunes are guilty — mostly retellings of labor history stories — but not many. Mainly it's my stuff is just straight-ahead blues and Americana.
     
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  15. chulaivet1966

    chulaivet1966 Tele-Afflicted

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    Ha....
    1) That could go either way....just catch her in a good mood.
    My wife says likes my material but never does any back flips when I write a new one.....hmmmm.

    2) I don't know...I'd guess most would characterize my drivel as light rock....I tend to think of my efforts as difficult to finish up/record and be mildly satisfied with.

    Back to it amigos.....
     
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  16. refin

    refin Friend of Leo's

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    hook.jpg
     
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  17. Biffasmum

    Biffasmum Tele-Meister

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  18. kbold

    kbold Tele-Afflicted

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    There's a lot of truth in that - doesn't give me any joy.
    I think I'll go and have a shower and wash my eyeballs.
     
  19. Milspec

    Milspec Poster Extraordinaire

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    I can only say what it is for me, but it has to hit a nerve...period.

    The best songs / music are the ones that trigger an emotional response in the listener. It might tie them to a memory or a place. It might even generate energy and anger. Those are the songs that stand the test of time, but only for those that it affects I suppose.

    I think about being deployed to the desert and how the attack helicopters were blasting AC/DC (TNT) as they flew cover. Those of us on the ground were so pumped up with adrenaline that you had goose bumps and the bad guys likely were having bowel movements over it.
     
  20. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    commercial success, you mean?

    commuter women agree with it or relate to it, and can sing along

    if you don't care about making money, a successful song is a done song
     
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