There are always a whole lotta party-all-night, feel-good songs on the Country music charts, especially in the summer. It’s a theme with tons of appeal for Country listeners.
The songwriting on all these hits is solid, of course, but, after a while you might start to notice a certain same-ness to the lyrics. They all seem to have pickup trucks, beer, and girls in shorts. So, wouldn’t it be cool if you could write a hit song with this commercially appealing theme and set yourself a little apart from the crowd? Let’s take a look at a Country hit that does exactly that.
“Play It Again,” the summer 2014 hit song recorded by Luke Bryan, has the required tailgate and girl in shorts but the song brings this girl to life in a way that’s vivid and believable. You get a real sense of both the singer’s character and the girl’s. The song plays out like a series of scenes, fun to watch and easy to get caught up in.
Take a listen to the song on YouTube. I chose a video with lyrics rather than images so you can run your own mental movie while you listen. Notice how the song paints pictures for you.
Artist: Luke Bryan Writers: Dallas Davidson & Ashley Gorley The Shortcut numbers below refer to specific chapters in my books “Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting” (“Hit”) and “Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV” (“Film/TV”).
The genre is Contemporary Country. (What is a genre?)
The song structure is…
VERSE / PRE-CHORUS / CHORUS
VERSE / PRE-CHORUS / CHORUS
BRIDGE / CHORUS Continue reading →
Happy songs can be a real challenge to write. It’s so much easier to sound serious, deep, and interesting when you’re writing sad songs! Yup, everyone sounds cooler when they’re singing about a broken heart. So how do you write an upbeat, feel-good song that doesn’t end up sounding shallow and predictable? Let’s take a look at a great one and see if we can find out.
Written & Recorded by Jason Mraz
Writer: Jason Mraz Lyrics are available on the internet. Shortcut numbers refer to my book “Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting.”
GENRE – Adult Contemporary
Jason Mraz’s No. 1 AC hit, “I’m Yours,” is a great example of an upbeat, happy song that still manages to convey depth in the lyrics and unexpected twists in the melody, keeping listeners involved from beginning to end. Not only was it a radio hit that’s still being played, it’s also been used in six different TV series.
The song has an interesting structure:
VERSE / SHORT CHORUS
VERSE / FULL CHORUS
BRIDGE / VERSE / CHORUS
The final chorus is a duet with the background singers singing the chorus melody and Mraz repeating a verse. The chorus always begins with the line “I won’t hesitate no more, no more” and ends with the title in the payoff line, “I’m yours.” The first time we hear the chorus, he sings just the opening line and payoff line, dishing up the key lines from the chorus as a kind of appetizer. Continue reading →