Writing Songs That Are Less Predictable

You can take practically any song and move it firmly into one genre or another just by adjusting the way the song is performed, and changing the production decisions of that recording, and it’s actually not that hard to do.

Every singer-songwriter possesses a unique style, often reflected in their performance and production choices. This style is what listeners identify and connect with in a song. Interestingly, the same song can traverse different genres simply by altering its performance and production style.

For instance, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” can be transformed into a bluegrass tune, while Rihanna’s “Diamonds” can take on a classical aura. This versatility demonstrates that a song’s core elements – melody, lyrics, and chord progressions – remain constant, despite varied interpretations.

The Challenge of Songwriting: Avoiding Repetitive Patterns

As a songwriter, you might wonder if it’s necessary to diversify your writing style, especially when performance changes can significantly alter a song’s genre. However, sticking to a specific genre means it’s crucial to ensure each song stands out at the songwriting level. To avoid predictability in your music, consider these strategies:

  1. Vary the Key: Changing the key in which you compose can prevent your songs from sounding too similar, especially if you tend to rely on familiar chord progressions or scales.
  2. Experiment with Tempo: Analyze your recent songs for tempo similarities. A different tempo can give a song an entirely new direction and feel.
  3. Alter Your Starting Point: Mix up your songwriting process. Start with lyrics for one song, chords for another, and maybe a melodic idea for the next. This variation can significantly influence the final composition.

Adapting and Evolving Your Music

If you find your songs sounding too similar, don’t worry. Many iconic songs have been reimagined in different styles, like Eric Clapton’s “Layla,” which evolved from a rock classic to a slow ballad-shuffle. This adaptability is a testament to the power of performance and production in reshaping a song’s identity.

Source: Writing Songs That Are Less Predictable | The Essential Secrets of Songwriting

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