Arnhem 04/05 November 2023
Li'l Heaven Studios
Cities are a major topic for popular songs.Music journalist and author Nick Coleman has gone as far as to say that apart from love, "pop is better on cities than anything else."
Popular music often treats cities positively, though sometimes they are portrayed as places of danger and temptation. In many cases, songs celebrate individual cities, presenting them as exciting and liberating. Not all genres share the tendency to be positive about cities; in Country music cities are often portrayed as unfriendly and dehumanizing, or seductive but full of sin. However, there are many exceptions, for example: Lady Antebellum's song "This City" and Danielle Bradbery's "Young in America".
Lyricist and author Sheila Davis writes that including a city in a song's title helps focus the song on the concrete and specific, which is both more appealing and more likely to lead to universal truth than abstract generalizations. Davis also says that songs with titles concerning cities and other specific places often have enduring popularity.
Whilst in the historic city of Arnhem, reflect on how this makes you feel, elated, tempted, little wary?
We will focus on how cities have been used as inspiration in all genres and write our own city based songs
Rhythm in popular song composition
Rhythm in pop music isn’t at all straightforward, pop vocal melodies, in particular, frequently are off the beat to such a great degree that a note sung on the beat often feels like it isn’t!
Whilst melody is often cited as they conduit to contrast in your song sections. i.e. verse to chorus, the meter, or rhythm of your lyrical phrasing can be just as effective. Switching to a half time chorus with longer phrasing is a staple of contemporary RnB pop and coming in on, before or after the beat are often thought about beforehand and not there by happy accident!
From the swing of Sinatra to the quick fire delivery of todays dance/pop artists switching up the feel of your lyrics and landing places is a necessary technique of any songwriter, particularly the top line melody and lyricist
We will explore this in todays workshop.