Writing an energizing song is one of the big challenges songwriters have. Writing happy, fun songs seems to be the holy grail of songwriting for most. So if you’re one of these struggling songwriters (as I know I was), this article is for you!
Because we want to tackle as many parts of our audience as possible, we’ll go through this subject holistically, looking at it from all angles: emotions (chords), body (groove) and mind (power words).
So without further ado, let’s get started:
1. Pick The Right Chords (Emotions)
For energizing Pop, I recommend using a chord progression in major, with at least one other major chord in the chord progression. Generally, it could be said that the more major chords you use, the better.
Although there are many songs in major that sound sad and many happy minor songs, this concept works well as a guide line. If you want to experience the difference between mejor and minor in a fascinating way, I highly recommend listening to the (digitally shifted) minor version of the Beatles classic „Hey Jude“.
2. Make It Groove (Body)
So we‘ve tackled the emotional bits of your audience, now let‘s get physical.
The goal is to get your listeners dancing, tapping their toes or nodding their heads. Since dancing releases endorphines, you can indirectly make your audience happier by writing a groove that invites to move to it.
3. Find A Great Power Word (Mind)
Now that we‘ve talked about emotions and body, let‘s get to the psychological things we can do to energize our audience.
First off are power words. Power words are words that get a strong emotional reaction from your audience.
For example, „shark“ is much stronger than „animal“ and „wreck“ is stronger than „break“. Read more on this concept here.
4. Choose Your Performers Wisely
This is a biggie and one of the reasons why your songs probably don‘t have hit character yet.
If your singer and instrumentalists can‘t translate your melody into something enjoyable, you could be the best songwriter in the world and it won‘t help you.
Singers are the most important here. A professional singer gives your songs that special something that others simply can‘t give it. They smile when they sing and you can hear it in the recordings. It‘s often those last 5 percent that make all the difference.
Take this as a rule of thumb: If it doesn‘t make you smile at the recording stage, you should probably find another musician.
5. Make It Sound Hi-Fi
This is another subtle one and it comes up in the production phase. Hi-Fi sounds more exciting and more immediate to us than Lo-Fi.
Hi-Fi has a lot to do with equalizing. Hi-Fi sounds have more highs (which makes them sound closer) and are more clearly defined (so there is less overlap with other sounds).
While you‘re arranging your song you can already take care of avoiding overlap. I call this the „Rule of 5“: The idea is to never have more than 5 different sounds playing at the same time (doubling and layering is allowed).
So for example, a section of your song could involve drums, bass, vocals, guitar and a string section, but no more. Using more than 5 elements at a time will make your mix sound muddy and unnecessarily busy.
Songwriting Coach & Composer
With recommendations from industry heavyweights Erwin Steijlen (Pink, Shakira), Conrad Pope (John William’s orchestrator), Jeff Rona (God of War III, Traffic) and Rene Merkelbach (Within Temptation), Friedemann started his songwriting/producing school Holistic Songwriting in November 2015.