Songs are the lifeblood of an artist’s career. No one walks down the street humming a voice. No matter how awesome a singer might be, they need exceptional songs, songs their audience can connect to. While perfectly crafted songs are a dime a dozen, those that have that special something that X factor are as rare and precious as diamonds.
An exceptional video, such as the one for “Somebody That I Used to Know” (recorded by Gotye, featuring Kimbra, and written by Gotye and Luiz Bonfa) can play a big role in bringing a song to the public’s attention. A recording’s production, instrumentation, and an artist’s vocals all make contributions to a song’s becoming a hit. But for non-performing songwriters, these are factors about which we are rarely consulted. So, let’s examine some of the elements that are in our control, the factors that can elevate songs from album cuts to smash hit singles, and from “good” to “wow.”
Lyrics and Melody makes a Hit song….
A new angle a fresh way of expressing a topic that millions of listeners relate to—coupled with unique lines of lyric can be the bait that hooks in an audience. Finding new ways to express ourselves becomes even more critical when writing about topics such as love and physical attraction, subjects that are frequently addressed in songs.
Songs that rise above the competition rarely do so with lyrics that are predictable or cliché. Listen to the songs listed below to hear a variety of lyric techniques that contributed to their becoming hits.
The top three reasons songs become hits are: 1) melody 2) melody, and 3) melody, it doesn’tm3wn that lyrics are unimportant. It doesn’t matter how amazing your lyric is unless it is melded to a melody that is unforgettable.
Some hit songs set themselves apart from the pack with distinctive melodic intervals, which can be defined as the distance between two pitches played in sequence.
A musical track and production elements that differentiate the song and recording from others in its genre are also important elements in hits.
Most hits don’t rehash anything that preceded them. But while the majority of hits incorporate or hybridize aspects and styles that have previously been successful, they don’t reinvent the wheel. The goal is to fit within the format we are targeting, while pushing the creative envelope. Unless there is something new and different to set our songs and recordings apart—elements that break new ground—it’s unlikely that they will make the kind of impact we hope for.
It is rarely only one element that causes a song to rise above the competition. Why not use all the tools at your command? There is no guaranteed formula for a hit, but we can give our songs their best shot by building on a fresh lyric concept—a unique angle; including original “wow” lines in our lyrics; including distinctive melodic intervals and rhythms in the vocal melodies; using the most effective chord changes; and incorporating distinctive elements in the production and instrumentation.
Incorporate the tools and techniques that have proven themselves to be successful.
But most importantly, dare to push the creative envelope and give listeners something new and exciting. Infuse your songs with melodies and lyrics that only you could have written, and you’ll maximize your chance of a hit.
In the United States and the United Kingdom, a single is usually considered a hit when it reaches the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 or the top 75 of the UK Singles Chart and stays there for at least one week.