Know what a song idea looks like

  • James 

Know what a song idea looks like

Recognise great song ideas when you see them


I you don’t know what a good song idea looks like you will:

  1. Waste a lot of time on things that won’t work
  2. Ignore ideas with potential


If you know what makes a great song idea it’s easier to spot potential. Abstract concepts like love and freedom are really hard to write about. It’s often better to focus on tangible experiences. The things many people do in day to day life are ideal. The best songs about big ideas often come from describing simple everyday things. There are no rules in songwriting and you can find exceptions to every case but if your song idea has the following it’s more likely to work.

  1. A clear key message (that you can express in less than 10 words)
  2. Powerful emotional (potential)
  3. Story (potential)
  4. Connection points (situations and feelings the audience knows)

Some examples from existing songs
Giant by Rag n bone man and Calvin Harris
Respect Aretha Franklin

A clear key message
Giant’s message is “Your support makes me strong”
Respect says “I’m an equal in this partnership”

Powerful emotional potential
Giant makes me feel powerful, it’s an uplifting feeling. Together we are great and can achieve anything we need to.

Respect also conveys a feeling of personal power. We all feel empowered as Aretha demands what she’s entitled to.

Story potential
Stories in songs are usually very simple. Both of these have implied characters and we can read into them filling the void with our own experiences. They have just enough story to keep us interested.

Who is the other person in giant who holds the singer up? Who was their unrequited love? We don’t know but we are intrigued.

We don’t know the couple in Respect but we can imagine…

Connection points
The audience can connect with these songs. We can all relate. They are singing about situations we can recognise and feelings we know.

Now what?

Try out some other recipes from how to find song ideas

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