Songwriter Theory Podcast
Episode 29

Deliver At Every Part Of Your Song

Joseph Vadala published on

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You have to deliver at every part of your song. The intro needs to deliver. So does the first lyric you sing. The first chorus can’t disappoint. And no one likes an anticlimactic bridge or finale.

You have to deliver at every part of your song.

Deliver Lyrically

You need to deliver lyrically at every part of the song. Areas to concentrate on are certainly the first and last lines of the song as well as the entire chorus, but you need to nail it everywhere.

You can’t just have a clever lyric here and there. It needs to all be good. Better yet, great.

You always want at least one “tattoo lyric” per song. But why stop at one?

The most common offender of thrown together lyrics is the second verse. The second verse is often more like the “second string verse” behind the “starter” that is the first verse.

We don’t want that. The second verse shouldn’t be clearly worse than the first. It shouldn’t feel like it’s the “second best verse”.

You need to deliver at every part of your song. That includes verse 2.

The best way to slowly, incrementally get your lyrics where they need to be is to level them up iteratively.

The basic idea here is to be satisfied with slowly but surely increasing the quality of the song. Maybe just looking for some synonyms and “upgrading” a single word you use. Or maybe a part of a line. Even just upgrading one line in a mini writing session can be a huge win.

Don’t pressure yourself to get it right the first time. And don’t pressure yourself to restart the whole section or line if it isn’t quite right. Try to keep making each word, line, and section better piece by piece.

Hey, at least your first line is probably better than this one. Seriously though. What is on Joey’s head?

Deliver Melodically

You want a good verse melody. But the chorus can’t be a disappointment.

You don’t want the response to your song to take a negative turn once you get to the chorus.

A song can survive and even thrive with only a good chorus. Not many songs can survive without a great chorus- no matter how great the rest of the song is.

That being said, we don’t want to just deliver for that first chorus.

The transition to the second verse can’t be disappointing. The listener can’t roll their eyes with “again?” for the second chorus.

And, please, don’t cop out on the bridge. The bridge is not an obligation you need to get through. It is an opportunity to make a good song a great one. Don’t make me think “Just get back to the chorus already” during the bridge.

So how do you deliver melodically at every part of your song?

First, simply have a good melody in each part of your song. What does that mean? It means the melody should be memorable or catchy and it should emote what the lyrics are saying. It should match the song and be something people either want to sing along with or be silent to enjoy.

Second, find ways to change it up. Often, the chorus utilizes a higher vocal range. This is partly because this is one of the easiest and best ways to add excitement and to sound “bigger”.

Changing how long notes are held is another common way to add interest to different melodies throughout the song. Normally, verses have shorter-held notes and more lyrics, while the chorus lyrics are simpler with longer-held notes.

A great way to really make a chorus stand out is to have large leaps in the notes of the melody or have the most catchy vocal hooks be in the chorus.

Find a way to make sure the melodies stay interesting.

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