How to Write Songs that Suck

how to write songs that suckEveryone listen up: mediocre (and worse) is in! If you want to make it big, you need to start doing the opposite of conventional wisdom.

If you have any aspirations as a musician (or want any bragging rights), then you need to start writing, recording, and publishing songs that suck.

1. Start recording

You don’t need to work out ideas. Sit down with a mic and just… go somewhere. Heck, you don’t even need an instrument. Or a band.

Start with recording your song, and then send it.

2. Write your lyrics down

Listen to your recording, and write down what you sang. Does it make any sense? Does it tell a story? If it does, be sure to fix that—you wouldn’t want to make your audience actually, you know, connect with your song.

Maybe you can switch up different lines in the lyrics. Or, if you have any lines that repeated (in what might otherwise be called a “chorus”), make sure to fix it so every line is as unique as a snowflake.

3. Arrange your chording and melody

Try to use the most obscure chords possible. Why use a C when you can use a Cadd9aug or a Cmadd2? Open chords are your worst enemy.

Your melody should not go anywhere, but rather should dither here and there and hit the entire range of the scale. It’s better to show off your vocal range than it is for people to be able to sing along.

4. Make sure there’s no structure

Chorus? Verse? Bridge? Throw it out. Go back to step 2 if you need help making sure your song follows its own path.

5. Choose a title

Make sure it has no relation to any of the lyrics. Your title should be vague and reference a theme that is only subtly implied by your lyrics.

Also, make sure it’s totally generic title. Bonus points if there’s a dozen other (famous) songs with the exact same title.

6. Add a hook

Okay, your song is almost done. The only thing you still need… is a hook. Whether it is a lyrical, musical, or structural hook, make it draw people out into the woodworks of your song.

7. Go back and make sure you’ve broken all the rules

DON’T FORGET TO FOLLOW NO RULES because otherwise you will be utterly uncreative and a POSER. Just so you know.

But seriously…

If you’re not writing songs that suck (under the intention of writing awesome songs, of course), then it’s going to be exceptionally difficult to ever get to writing songs that rock. Like any other skill, songwriting can be learned, and must be practiced.

And for every mock-tip I made up there, you can probably think of a song that you love which pulled it off incredibly well. And maybe your songs will pull these party-tricks off just fine.

So the moral of the story is that you should write songs. You should try all sorts of ways of writing them so you find out what you like, what you don’t like; what works for you, and what drives you crazy.

Try collaborating. Try writing and recording everything yourself. Try a genre you’ve never done before. Or try combining a new genre with your main style. Some of them will suck. Try identifying what about them you hate.

Some of them will not suck. And those, those songs you should share.

(If you’re looking for more articles to help your songwriting, check out this one, this one, this one, and this one.)

What do you think? What are some songwriting qualities that make songs mediocre? What tips would you give a baby songwriter?

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