Write a Hit Song – The Formula
What’s the formula to a catchy and hit song?
What’s common between ‘Hit Me Baby One More Time’ and ‘Smells like Teen Spirit’? Both are super hits of the 90s!
Yes, they are poles apart but it all just boils down to how much ‘listenable’ your song is.
The genre does not matter. You can score a hit in any genre. Then what really is a formula that produces a sure shot hit? Stick around to find out –
A good rhythm section. That is what you need. Whether it’s a rock song or a peppy pop number, the audience should be grooving to it.
The harmony needs tension, followed by release. Keep the listener on the edge of his seat sonically. Look at your song as a journey; anybody would want to have an adventure before coming back home. The feeling of ‘coming back home’ is the release here. Hint: minor notes will help you create tension while getting back to tonal center will achieve release. A little theory might be of help.
Lyrics are important- Period. Write your lyrics to make an impact. Write about things you know. Captivate your audience with simple words they can remember, and simple feelings they can understand.
Keep it short and simple
Too much complications and technicalities might be welcome to a ‘musically educated’ audience. But your focus is to make a hit. So stick to basics. Simplicity is the key sometimes. Too much of a length also will do you no good.
Remember to add a hook to your song. The hook can be anything – a small catchy guitar solo or a vocal part that is repeated. The idea is to draw the audience in and make the song ‘memorable’. It can come in at any part of the song, but it should become the essence of it. Need an example of a good hook? Think of the opening of ‘Eye of the Tiger’.
The Bridge is the high point of a song. It can add a dash of freshness and keep the listener reeled in. A 4 minute song can also seem to be dragging sometimes. A bridge part can break away the monotony in the simplest way.
So now that you’ve found the mantra are you ready to try it?
Well, these are a good point to start at but honestly, there is no sure-shot formula to write a hit song. Get the foundation down first. Things just work out sometimes. The most important thing is to be true to your craft!
Written by Soma