How to Write Popular Songs (Sorta)

Lots of people have asked me how I compose such popular songs. My usual response is "I don't know." This is true. Mostly. Upon examination, there's some things that are similar about my most popular songs, so that's what I have written here. These are just some general song-writing tips that might help you write popular songs.

As far as I can tell, my most popular songs are Electric Clay, Nothing, and Stellar Winds. I really don't keep track of how many people ask me to play each song, but those ones seem to stand out in my memory. It's somewhat interesting to note that those aren't MY favorite songs.

Anyway, on with the advice:

Simplest Is Bestest. It's simple and grammatically incorrect, but I live my life according to those three words. And I compose according to them. Er, or something. There's plenty of musicians and artists out there nowadays (ooc) that purposefully make their work difficult or impossible to understand without hours of study or a book to explain. I have no authority to say whether such things are art or not, but if your audience can't understand your music, they won't like it. Most people can 'get' my music after listening to it only once, which I believe is one of the reasons it's popular.

Involve Your Audience. This is possibly the best way to make people like your songs. If you have a melody that people can hum along to, and a rhythm they can tap their feet to, they'll like your song more than if they were just listening to it. Having words that can be sung along is good as well. Lyrics are kind of hard to do, as we only have text boxes to work with, but it can be done. A simple melody repeated several times (like, say, Electric Clay) will get stuck in people's heads. This is a good thing... for you at least. ;)

Make 'em Laugh! Serious music is all well and good, but deep down, everyone wants to laugh. :) So write whimsical music! Write songs that parody other songs! Write a song that starts out serious, but ends up as a parody of itself! And make sure that you have amusing /actions to go along with it! :) I have a song like that, but I don't play it often. Another thing you can do is have a 'gimmick' in your song, like the laggy music in Rakshasa's "Fog of War." If your song makes people laugh, they'll want to hear it over and over again. Look at Rakshasa's "The Duck." Then you have to make sure that you don't play it so often that they lose interest.

Evoke an Emotion. Sometimes when I compose, I'm trying to compose a song that will cause the listener to have a certain emotion. Usually because I'm feeling that emotion when I'm composing the song. Songs like Cruel Betrayal are like that.

Use a style. Sometimes I try to compose in a certain style. Ancient Groove is a complete rip off of old-school rock and roll. I made sure that I wasn't copying any songs that I knew, though. Klezmerics is another song like that, as are all those blues-es I've written. If you like a certain genre of music, try to compose a song in that genre! Just make sure you aren't copying anything *too* blatantly. :)

Well, that's all I can think of for now. Hope this helps!

Go back to my music.