Song Tip Tuesday #22 – What is the subject of my song? What is my song about?

Welcome to Song Tip Tuesday. My song tips are a way for you to think about your songwriting in different ways. They guide you to focus on a particular part of the craft of songwriting. They are free and for you to use.

Today’s song tip is a question that you should ask yourself every time you write a song. What is the subject of my song? What is my song about?

Songs can be about any subject: animals, sports, science, politics, social issues, people, products, events, and of course the subject of love. Regardless of the subject, the basic rule of thumb is a song should be about one subject. Why? Because the basic pop song form isn’t very large, and for the most part can’t handle more than one subject’s worth of information. Too many words, not enough space.

Think about it this way, a song is made up of between 16 to 36 lines of lyric with the chorus taking up say, 4 lines of lyric which usually repeats multiple times, leaving you few extra lines of lyric to work with. A song is not a dissertation. You can write a song about more than one subject, but a likely response from a listener will be one of confusion. They will zone out. Songs about more than one subject will not hook the listener.

Here is a very basic example: A song is about a relationship breaking up which is establish in the first verse. Then a verse two speaks about finding a new love. Yes, they are closely related, but losing a love and finding a new love are two different feelings and two different subjects. In fact, they are two different categories of love songs. Subject one is a I lost my love love song and the second subject is a I found a new love love song.

Suggestions:
Tell one story, not many, describe one moment not many. Ask the question:
What is the subject of my song? What is my song about?

If you sense that your song isn’t focused in any way, ask the question:
What is the subject of my song? What is my song about?

If you are stuck on one lyric spot, ask the question:
What is the subject of my song? What is my song about?

The art of writing is rewriting.
Randy Klein