It’s never a perfect science as to what makes a hit song. Some say the key to good songwriting is the melody. Some say good songwriting is the combination of a catchy melody with the right lyrics. Some say songwriting has little to do with it – it all depends on the artist… some artists will sell plenty of copies of a new album no matter how poor the songwriting is.
For me, lyrics are as paramount as the music. A catchy melody is only an inspiration to me if the lyrics convey something meaningful to the listener. In other words, songwriting should make a point. The author should stand for something.
The other important aspect of songwriting is honesty. I will say that I like my private world, because it’s exactly that: it’s a secret place where my frustrations, insecurities and vulnerability are safe from the scrutiny of the world outside.
The conundrum is that inspiration for good songwriting – the deeper truths – are found in that private world. It’s the stuff that we all relate to. And a good song is an honest song. A good album is an honest album.
If you haven’t already deduced it by now, it’s a time of reflecting on my own inspiration, and thinking about the new album. My life has taken on new meaning in the past 18 months. The band has matured, travelled a bit and we’ve discovered some things about ourselves. I find inspiration and confidence in this.
The other obvious inspiration for a new album is that I’m a father of two now, and I look at everything differently. I find I’m constantly asking questions. Do I practice what I preach? Am I honest enough to say no? What kind of world do I want my kids to grow up in? What makes me angry? Where do I find peace? Is there hope?
Songwriting and inspiration for this new album is wide and varied… I’m intrigued more and more by bible characters. I wonder about God constantly. I’m inspired by living legends. I’m angry and optimistic about the city I live in. I’m more in love with my wife than I was when I fell in love with her. And my kids bring me inexpressable joy and hope for the future.
You know… normal, simple truths.
If anything, the new album will be cranked up. Somehow, I will be able to afford that electric guitar. We’ll get Tammy’s vocals up to full throttle. Rudi will smack his pig skins. Jon will reinvent how a keyboard is played. And we’ll throw Berto out on the audience to crowd surf.
In other words, it might get loud.