Writing a great “single” is one of the most difficult things a musician may encounter. However, as an artist in the music business, it is an expectation.
A focus track – single, carries more of a heightened expectation. Certain writing elements need to “hit” hard and fast in an expected structure/timeframe. They must punch through and make a BIG and memorable impact!
From the overall song length, to the intro, verse, pre-chorus, to the chorus (the ALL-MIGHTY HOOK) that include your band sound/signatures, great arrangements, catchy melody lines and lyrics, all need to be on fire!
As an A&R person, I look for ALL these elements to appear within the first 35-40 seconds of a single. My body wants to feel and hear those arranged switch ups and timed elations to occur when I anticipate it, and when I want it.
If I hear all of those points hit solid in 40 seconds, then I know the remaining of this song is pretty much a “step and repeat”- moving forward with a possible 20 second bridge, that dips me down and builds me back up to that final catchy chorus that is blasting its way out by 3:00.
When those expectations go against the grain, my body feels disconnected. If I don’t really remember anything about the song five seconds after I played it…Yikes!!!
Patience levels are at low these days. Expectations are even at a higher level. You need to get to the point fast and with strength!
As Jon Bon Jovi says “Don’t bore us, get us to the chorus!”
Don’t be afraid to write structures and (somewhat) formulas. It’s NOT corporate!
It just may make you a better “single” writer.
Head of Artist Development/ A&R