Don’t bury your lyrics

I heard somewhere that when you feel your song has an important message and you really want people to hear it and get it, you should keep the melody, chords and all the other musical elements very simple. 

Think of the John Lennon song, Imagine.  The melody follows the cadence of the words.  It’s conversational, almost as if he’s talking to you.  The piano and other instruments are simple and straight forward.

There’s another aspect to this that is harder for me to describe.  I believe that with a simple, sparse arrangement and a simple melody, the listener is drawn in to the words and the singer somehow seems more earnest, the song feels more personal.  It feels like the singer is talking directly to me, communicating heart to heart, as opposed to entertaining.  Less Hollywood, more real. 

Try this approach when you have an important message.  I wouldn’t want to limit myself to writing only these types of songs, but it’s another songwriting “trick” to can keep up my sleeve.

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