How to Write a Pop Song

How to Write a Pop Song

A Story by Robbie H.
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Have you ever wanted to write a pop song? Well, follow this guide...

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The basic premise of music is to shut off your brain from thinking and let mindless, sweet sounds fill your head with pleasure.  Back when music was made with instruments and had smart lyrics, it required thinking.  Instruments played complex song structures and lyrics required interpretation.  Let’s face it, today’s pop music is strides better than the oldies, or even music made ten years ago.  It is catchier, more musical, bursting with artistic creativity, and easy to write.  How easy to write?  Here is a step-by-step guide on how to write a pop song.    

 

1.  The first step to writing a number one crowd pleaser is to build a solid foundation, which is usually achieved through the use of a drum loop.  What is great about pop music is that no one has to know how to play drums and, better yet, no one has to actually play the drums.  By using drum loops instead of real drums, musicians can cut out, at least, two weeks of recording time.  The best part about not using real drums?  Saving money.  Drums are expensive, really expensive.  After buying the drum set, heads, cymbals, and microphones, you are already over $1000 in debt.  The cost of a drum machine can be less than half of that price and you can do twice as much.

 

2.  Once a basic foundation is laid down (most likely a sweet-a*s “Uhn Tiss Caht Tiss Uhn Tiss Caht Tiss”), it is time to add some melody.  Melody can come from anywhere, your heart, your brain, or the best one of all, other songs.  Nobody likes writing a melody line.  It sucks.  There are a lot of music notes and measures and all that other junk, it is just easier to take a song that is already popular and simply “borrow” pieces of it.  That is clearly the most sensible thing to do.  If you take something popular, change it a little, and market it as your own, of course it is going to be a hit.  “Sampling” (the professional way of referring to this) is seen in a number of songs: Eminem �" “Sing For the Moment”, Flo Rida �" “Right Round”, Kanye West �" “Stronger”, Rihanna �" “Don’t Stop the Music”, and so many more.

 

3.  Before throwing down some vocals, you must write some words, or “lyrics” as they are called in the music business.  Lyrics determine the intellectual level of your song.  You want the song smart enough to show you have a high school education, yet simple enough for everybody to understand.  Something you may want to keep in mind is the catchiness of the lyrics.  It is best to use a lot of alliteration and make most words rhyme.  Let’s look at two sets of lyrics and then judge the strength of them.  Here is an example of lyrics from the song “Lateralus” by Tool in the year 2001:

          Black

          Then

          White are

         All I see

         In my infancy

         Red and yellow then came to be

         Reaching out to me

         Let’s me see

These lyrics obviously require thinking and are open for interpretation, math proficient people may also realize that the lyrics follow the Fibonacci Sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5).  Wow, what a load of bullspit.  Thinking while listening to music sucks.  Today, pop songs have simpler lyrics.  Here is an excerpt from the hit song “Fly Like a G6” by Far East Movement, which was popular in 2010:

         Hell Yeah

         Drink it up, drink-drink it up,

         When sober girls around me, they be actin’ like they drunk

         They be actin’ like they drunk, actin’-actin’ like they drunk

         When sober girls around me actin’-actin’ like they drunk

That is a huge step up.  Society loves consistency and constancy and repetitive lyrics give them that.  Listen to the Black Eyed Peas, they have mastered this concept.  Imma be, Imma be, Imma, Imma, Imma be honest and say they are one of the most musically talent groups of our generation, only surpassed by Katy Perry.

 

4.  With the lyrics written, it is time to get some vocals in the mix.  Remember singing?  Well, screw it.  We have Auto-Tune.  What is that?  I am glad you asked.  Auto-Tune is a program that makes bad singers into good singers.  Bring Gilbert Gottfried in for vocals and it would not matter.  That wonder program can take his voice from Aflac duck to Kanye West.  This concept of making notsinging into singing may be mind-blowing and new to you, but turn on any pop station and you will hear Auto-Tune.  Did you actually think that Ke$ha is a good singer?  Maybe after brushing your teeth with a bottle of Jack, but yeah, no, she is not a talented vocalist.

 

5.  This step is vital to the song.  People love pop music.  People also love rapping.  So we can conclude that people love rapping in pop music.  To make your song great, you have to add a rapper, preferably one that has been featured in many songs before, like Pitbull and unlike Petey Pablo.  Ideally the rapper should start after the second chorus.  By placing the rapping there, it gives the listener time to groove to the music and then BAM!  You hit them with Snoop Dogg.  Lyrically speaking, the rapper must begin with a small reiteration of the chorus or repeat the same phrase multiple times.  Keep in mind that only one verse should be rapped because any more than that gets sickening.    

 

            If you have been following along with this guide, you should have a fully developed pop song.  Was it as easy as I said it would be?  Of course.  Now that your song is ready, go release that masterpiece to the world and get ready to live it up like Justin Bieber.  Well, that is all I have for you.  Feel free to purchase my next guide “How To Live It Up Like Justin Bieber”.

© 2012 Robbie H.


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Added on December 10, 2012
Last Updated on December 10, 2012
Tags: pop, song, write, justin, bieber, pitbull, petey pablo