The Key Components to Writing a Great Song

Do you want to write a great song? If you do, the key components are entailed right here. So let’s cut straight to the chase. In the past blog, we explained songwriting structure. I would recommend reading that blog before you read this blog.

The following components are imperative to have if you want to write a great song

Great hooks and great melody! It doesn’t matter what genre of music you are singing, writing or playing. You need to have great hooks. It doesn’t matter whether its classical music, heavy metal music, pop music, RnB or whatever. You’ve got to have great hooks and a great melody.

What is a great hook? What is a great melody? I’ll give you some examples. A hook or a melody is a movement of notes within a song. These movements can be small shifts or large jumps. I am going to use ‘Let It Be’ by the Beatles as an example because most everyone knows the song. So please listen to the melody in the verse or the hook in the verse below:

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

As you can hear, there are smaller movements within the verse. Then Paul McCartney incorporates bigger hooks and bigger movements in the chorus:

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Now, I am sure that you’ve na-na-na’d along to your favorite songs when you’ve heard them on the radio. You’ve had these melodies stuck in your head. You’ve loved them. You went out and purchased the song. That’s a hook at work! That’s called a money hook. It doesn’t matter what genre of music you’re into. If you like music, you like it because of the melody or the hook that you heard. It has attracted you or drawn you into that song.

You have to write great melodies and hooks. Most of my students who are in original bands, are coming in to get their voice moving up and down so that they can write great hooks. That’s the key to success and to writing a great song.

Keep the verse and the pre chorus mellow and use smaller note intervals. When you get to the chorus, go into bigger melodies and use bigger jumps. Hit people where it hurts. The chorus is where you want to get your melody and your voice working in ways that will stick in people’s heads. People will then hopefully like your song and in turn, buy your songs.

A non-sense lyric. Not all songs have this, but it is very good to use hooks like this. A non-sense lyric is the “Oh oooooh oh oh” part in ‘Working Class Man’ by Jimmy Barnes. You may have heard the “Whoaaaaw” in ‘Sex on Fire’ by the Kings of Leon. If you have heard that chorus, you’ll see that that’s a fantastic hook. Imagine that song without a non-sense lyric. It’s pretty boring isn’t it? But with the “Whoaaaw’s” it makes all the difference. So, a cool non-sense lyric is very important if want to take your hook to the next level. The other great component of a non-sense lyric is that people love to sing along with them wherever they are. It could be in private, at a club or at a live gig. This is so great for crowd interaction.

One more tip. If you are having trouble writing hooks, that’s fine. Remember to never ever throw away a song. Always keep those songs that you think are bad. Put them in the song spare parts bin because you may need to use that in your future songs.

Write four to five songs in a row. Use different songs and pick the best three or four hooks out of those songs and put them together into one song.

Do you think Lady Gaga doesn’t do that? Hear the Poker Face song:

(Hook 1) Mum mum mum mah
Mum mum mum mah
Mum mum mum mah
Mum mum mum mah
Mum mum mum mah

(Hook 2) I wanna hold ’em like they do in Texas, please
Fold ’em, let ’em, hit me, raise it, baby, stay with me (I love it)
Love game intuition play the cards with Spades to start
And after he’s been hooked I’ll play the one that’s on his heart

(Hook 3) Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh-oh-e-oh-oh-oh
I’ll get him hot, show him what I’ve got
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh-oh-e-oh-oh-oh,
I’ll get him hot, show him what I’ve got

(Hook 4) Can’t read my,
Can’t read my
No he can’t read my poker face
(She’s got me like nobody)
Can’t read my
Can’t read my
No he can’t read my poker face
(She’s got me like nobody)

(Hook 5) P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face
(Mum mum mum mah)
P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face
(Mum mum mum mah)

There are five different hooks that have been put together in one song.

Repetition and practice is very important. You have to continually practice your craft of songwriting. Do not be disheartened if you do not get the hang of it right away. Just start off by writing one verse and one chorus. If you like the sound of what you have written, go and finish the song. If you don’t like song you’ve written, save it for spare parts and move on to the next song.
Go away and write a hit song and hope that I will hear it on the radio, you-tube, iTunes or Spotify soon!

Watch the 5 minute singer video in relation to this blog here.

I hope that has helped you out. If you have any questions that you would like answered please email myself on peter@voxsingingacademy.com and I will be sure to write a blog for you in the very near future!

Thanks!
Peter Vox