Songwriting – Arranging a pop song
Good pop songs are easy to listen to and sometimes seem very simple, but nothing could be further from the truth. Writing a good pop song is not that easy. It really is an art to make a song sound ‘easy’. It’s the right combination of lyrics, hooks, and production.
Needless to say, well written lyrics are needed to come up with a good pop song, everyone understands that. But how do you write it? First of all, it is important to write in a language that you feel comfortable with. Not knowing what to say is extremely annoying. For example, if you really want to write a French song, but you don’t have a good command of the language yet, you might consider writing the lyrics in your native language first. Once the basics are in place, you can try translating it back to French.
In addition, it is not a superfluous luxury to avoid clichés. They are things that you have heard too often in songs, if you also start using them, people can quickly get tired of them. So, make sure you are original. Do you have trouble with that? Then read the tips and tricks in the article about ‘Lyrics’.
Hooks are specific parts of a song that keep haunting the listener’s mind and make them not easily forget the song. Hooks can be different things, lyrical tricks, melodic delights, recognizable rhythms or innovative productions.
A lyrical hook is sometimes called a ‘tagline’. This is a word or phrase in the chorus that often stands out. It can be repeated throughout the chorus, or just close the chorus at the end. You regularly find that ‘tagline’ as the title of the song.
Other types of hooks include Phil Collins’ drum solo in ‘In The Air Tonight’ or the piano in Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’. Hooks don’t necessarily have to be hidden in the lyrics or vocals.
Production and arrangement
When writing a (pop) song you must think carefully about the structure. The most used structure is “Verse – Pre – Chorus – Verse 2 – Pre 2 – Chorus 2”, possibly followed by a bridge and a closing chorus.
Nowadays you don’t hear many intros, and if there is one, it is very short. Experience shows that today’s consumer no longer has the patience to listen to the intro and often skips to the next song if it takes too long. So, make your point quickly. Also often said: ‘don’t bore us, get to the chorus’.