Check out The 7 Reasons Your Songs Might Be Boring by Gary Ewer. The following list doesn’t include issues that don’t apply directly to the writing of a song. For example, a bad performance can kill a song, no matter how good it is. But when it comes to the actual writing of the song, keep reading and see if you’re committing one of these basic songwriting errors:
- There’s nothing “hooky”. No rhythms or melodic shapes that jump out and grab the listeners attention.
- Chord Progression Have Too Many Chords. Since chords are part of what makes music sound like a journey, you can tighten up that journey by making progressions succinct and to the point.
- Chord Progressions that Don’t Resolve Properly. Certain chords feel like they naturally want to move to specific resolution points. For example, you know that dominant chords (V-chords) will often want to move to tonic chords (I-chords). Normal resolutions should be happening most of the time. If it sounds like your chords are meandering around without any sense of direction, your listeners will get lost and feel bored.
- Instrumentations That are Unimaginative. A simple guitar strumming the entire way through a song, with no attempt to spice it up with some technique, or no attempt to add something interesting, can make songs sound boring. Look for ways to add other instruments that will raise the interest level: fiddle, French horn, string quartet… all these ideas can help give your song better “curb appeal.”
- Melodies That Have No Shape. Melodies don’t need to move up and down constantly, but a melody that has no distinctive shape is difficult for a listener to remember afterward.
- The Tempo isn’t Right. You’d be surprised what nudging the tempo of a song a bit faster, or a bit slower, can do to the overall impression of a song by an audience. Tempo is strongly linked to energy. So consider tempo to be a crucial part of the songwriting process, and experiment.
- The Song is in the Wrong Key. This probably comes in under the “performance” category rather than the “songwriting” category, but it’s so important that I have to mention it here. We know that it’s normal to consider placing the key of a song basically in the middle of the singer’s range. That way, you can reach all the notes with ease. However, songs with powerful lyrics may need to be placed higher to get the emotional impact across. Without that impact, songs can fall flat. As with tempo, experiment!
Get back to writing great songs, and get back to ENJOYING the process! Download “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” e-book bundle now.