I had a discussion with my family over the weekend about lazy songwriters that developed into a discussion about what makes music “good.” In that discussion, I arrogantly monopolized the conversation in the interest of trying to be funny, which I’m prone to doing, except I think I did it at the expense of my actual ideas, looking like a jerk in the process. To rectify this, I wanted to write down a few of my thoughts about songwriting here. If people are going to think I’m a pretentious jerk, I want them to do it for the right reasons. Also, feel free to disagree if you wish (have at it in the comments section).
I showed my uncles a live video of a band called Axis of Awesome who perform a song called “4 Chords” on YouTube, which contains a little profanity, so I won’t link it here (you can search for it yourself if you wish). Suffice it to say that they write a medley containing about 30 hit pop songs that use the same chord progression (I – V – vi – IV). Non-musicians may not be able to fully appreciate how this progression is like sandpaper against our ears, but I think the Axis of Awesome at least introduced a lot of people to the problem. It’s the songwriting equivalent to painting bowls of fruit or watercolor sailboats, and people actually intentionally buy that stuff.
For me, good songwriting can be broken down into two halves: content and delivery. Continue reading “Was this song really necessary?”