Nashville Entries (Part 2)

Hey everyone!

Well, I’ve been back from Nashville for a couple of days now and I’ve been settling back in to life back home, but I wanted to provide you all with more of a recap than I was able to do with my last post.

And yes, A LOT OF STUFF HAPPENED SINCE THE LAST POST.

It’s like I said before, the first couple of days were more of a vacation than a business trip, and I was looking forward to taking advantage to both as much as I could.

And now, I want to spend some time talking about the people that I had a chance to work on my music with.

 

My first songwriting session was scheduled on Super Bowl sunday, and I had to pleasure to work with a very nice woman named Kelsey Muse.

Coming into the session, I was pretty nervous.

Being in Nashville left me out of my comfort zone a little, but as time passed, I was able to focus on working on a great song with her. Kelsey had a lot of insightful ideas to help my story flow the way that I envisioned when I wrote it.  This aspect came up a lot with all of the people I worked with, but I was able to solidify my craft more with time. All in all, I was extremely happy with what we came up with, and I would definitely want to work with her again if I had the chance!

On the next day, I worked with Bill DiLuigi of the song placement company, Rhyme Partners. The transition into writing on that day was MUCH easier because I was feeling less nervous and stressed. At the end of the day, we finished a song that I was and still am really proud of!

I had other sessions scheduled, but unfortunately not all of the dates materialized, so my next songwriting session came on Friday 2/6 with Allison Megan at 12:30pm, and then Kevin Crafton at 5pm. Both of these sessions provided a sense of ease and relaxation that I was lacking on the first couple of days I was here. Both of these singer-songwriters are really nice, down to earth, and provided a great experience for me in two completely different scenarios.

Let me explain…..

While Ali helped me finalize two of my songs, Kevin and I worked on a song of his. Both of them are very versatile writers, so nothing that I played for them felt out of place. I felt like things clicked not just on a work level, but on a personal level too. I was feeling less shy, I was talking more to both of them, and….. I really don’t know how else to describe it, I just felt at home in a way.

The same can be said for my last session scheduled with Lindsey Ellis on the next day. While she has a bit of a critical side sometimes, I’m happy about that because she did that to help me. I understood her mindset because I’m my own harshest critic when it comes to my songs. It’s the perfectionist in me.

Anyway, sidetracking aside, Lindsey was also really nice, versatile and provided a great session for me to help perfect a song that I had been working on for the past couple of months.

The names of these songs will not be revealed because…….. I WANT TO SURPRISE YOU ALL!!! SURPRISE!!! OH WAIT…. SURPRISE!!!! NO-
But yeah, I’m really happy with all of the sessions that I took part in. Everyone that I worked with provided a wonderful experience for me and to any songwriters reading this, I would highly recommend working with all of these people. They’re knowledgeable, nice, and provide a nice environment to be productive and successful with your work!

Well, I’ve got to go perform a show in Baltimore now with Los Swamp Monsters over at Donna’s Tavern. So with that said, keep rocking out and I’ll conclude these Nashville entries on the next post!

Nashville Entries (Part 1)

Hey everyone!!

I know it’s not Thursday, but I figured I’d get my log up now for a couple of reasons.

1. On the way to and during my first day in Nashville, my WiFi selection really, really sucked. It’s hard to really work without having that as a resource so that way I can log in.

2. It was 3pm on Thursday by the time I got to my hotel, I drove for a total of 11 hours in a little over a day’s span, so I felt pretty winded anyway.

3. Nothing seriously eventful happened on Thursday, so if I did it then, it would have just been “Nashville Log: I Got There. The End”

ANYWAY……. I’ll share what has been going on the past few days!

Well, on the first day, I got myself situated and then I attended a Writer’s Night at a venue called the Commodore. The unfortunate part was that a lot of acts were scheduled to play that night, so by the time I got up there, I could only do one song and most of the people had left by the time I got up to perform. So, kind of a mixed bag, but I did enjoy the performer’s sets. They were versatile, catchy, and compelling at times!

The second day I treated as more of a sight-seeing and exploration day. I ended up getting a late start because of some songs I was writing, but by the time I got done, I decided to have brunch at Arnold’s Country Kitchen. Let me tell you, if you’re ever in Nashville, I’d definitely recommend trying this place! Even though there’s a line, it’s very efficient and orderly and their food tastes really good. They may be best known for their chicken, but I think their meatloaf was spot on!

After traversing through a nice record store, I decided to explore Broadway, because I heard a lot of positive things about that part of the city from some friends of mine. The nightlife has endless possibilities over there, you could go to various types of bars, hat stores, and I even saw some places that gave me familiar callbacks to Baltimore such as their own Tin Roof. After admiring the sites, I got wasted away in Margaritaville. I went there in Florida when I was 12 before I knew anything about Jimmy Buffett, but now that I’m a casual fan, I wanted to go down there again to drink, eat, and admire the scenery I glanced over before. What can I say? It’s a fun place!

Today is more of the same as yesterday, but with different food places. I’ll be meeting a friend of mine at a concert later tonight though so that will be a nice change of pace!

As for my writing sessions, my first one starts tomorrow, and then my schedule becomes more centered around the business aspects. I wanted to take the first couple of days to make it seem like I was on a vacation, and so far, it’s been a nice vacation! The work may begin tomorrow, but I can’t wait for it!

I need to head out now though, so have a great day, keep rocking out, and I’ll conclude this log next week!

NASHVILLE BOUND!!!

Hey everyone,

 

I’m going to make this post short today because I have too many commitments that I need to take care of.

So, if you didn’t see the last entry on my top five states that I’d like to visit, I gave a little breaking news bit at the beginning stating that I’ll be in Nashville very soon.

Well, I’m very sad to tell you all this sad news…..

 

Wait, it’s not sad. Just look at the title up there!

Yeah, up there! ^ NO, NOT THE LINE ABOVE ME, NOT THE STUPID LINE-

ANYWAY….

IT’S STILL HAPPENING!!

I’ll mostly be writing with some great songwriters while I’m there, but I’ll try to squeeze in a couple of performances as well. After all, the showman in me can never seem to be tamed for more than a day!

I’ll still make time to work on some more entries, but for the next two weeks, the main focus is going to be recapping everything that is going on so far. I’d feel terrible giving everyone absolutely no activity on here, so I feel like making a “musician diary” is a good way to make up for it.

Plus, “Good Times Never Fade” is on the radio circuit right now! Follow this post to see all of the stations that are playing it so far:
https://www.facebook.com/marshallstone.music/posts/10152749725189531

Have a great night everyone, and I’ll check back with you next week with some updates on Nashville!

 

News and Top Five Places I Would Like To Visit!

I’M ALIVE!!!!!!!!

(And don’t worry, the blog is going back to being up every Thursday)

So, if you haven’t heard it from me already, I’m going to be headed down to Nashville, Tennessee at the end of the month for a little bit. I’ll be doing everything from sight-seeing, performing, and working with some talented songwriters. I honestly thought that I would never get the chance to go down to Nashville, and now that I am, I’m feeling excited just thinking about it.

I figure that I should give a little bit of new content to celebrate this awesome occasion, so, here’s a new top five list! These are the TOP FIVE STATES OTHER THAN TENNESSEE THAT I WOULD LIKE TO VISIT IN THE NEAR FUTURE!

 

5. California

Yeah, yeah, obvious choice, but I figure that I’d get those out of the way first.  Where exactly would I like to visit? Well, I have always had a growing fascination of wanting to travel anywhere, so any place in California is fair game. (Side note, in my personal bucket list, I actually want to be able to take a road trip and visit every state in the USA. I don’t know when I’d be able to do that, but if I’m able to, I would be really happy!) My biggest fascination is to be able to see all of the cities and experience the wonderful beaches down there.  Whether it would be Hollywood, San Francisco, San Diego, and others, I have a genuine interest in visiting everywhere that I can over in California.

4. Louisiana

Now this may not seem like an obvious choice, but you would be wrong. It is a very obvious choice for one reason alone: NEW. ORLEANS. The environment down there just stuns me to the point where my curiosity keeps peaking with every passing day! The people, the food, the nightlife, ohhhhh the nightlife!! Celebrations, festivals, just a night on the town, the amount of fun that could be had is endless! And I really want to be around for that kind of insanity!

3. Nevada

*See the explanation above except replace New Orleans with Las Vegas*

I’m just kidding!

Ok, so I compare Vegas to searching for the holy grail. You go through pleasant and rough stretches on your travels, but once you see the very thing you’re looking for, your mouth waters and your eyes light up with joy! With me, while the casinos sound nice, I’m more interested in the different performances that are around as well as being able to see the various nightlife spots! You never know what you can find when you travel, and I think that Las Vegas, Nevada is a perfect example of this.

2. Texas (I’m going to cheat a little on this one, but for a good reason)

While I have been to Texas, that was back when I was 8, and to be honest, I don’t really remember much of it. And while I hear so much about the music scene in Tennessee and in California, Texas is the scene that I’ve been most curious about, at least in terms of the live performances. I’d also want to see the various forms of nature and of course go to a couple of rodeos! YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHAAA-Alright, that’s enough, my sticky keys are starting to turn on.

 

1. Illinois

Again, a choice with one city in mind, but  I’d love to be able to go down to Chicago to see all of the performing arts down there! Think about it, you have blues, soul, jazz, and gospel, plus I hear that they have a great theater scene as well! This is another one that is very mysterious in my head, and to me, the more mysterious, the better the adventure!

Now, if anyone reading this blog is from or has visited any of these places and could tell me if any of them are worth going to or not, let me know in the comments below! Until next time, have a wonderful night, and keep rocking!

 

 

In Regards to the Holidays…..

Hey everyone!!

Still holiday shopping? Well, I know I am!

Anyway, since Christmas is coming up, I’ll be taking a break for the next eight days. Why eight? Well, I don’t want this holiday hiatus to last for two weeks, so by the time the 26th comes around, there will be something new to check out on here!

With that being said, I want to wish all of my friends, family, and all of my fans the best. You all have helped me make it this far into my career and I don’t intend on stopping anytime soon.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, whatever you’re celebrating. I hope you all are spending it with the people that you love, and to close out this, I’m going to post an improv poem about Christmas:

With one week ’til Christmas is coming around,
Have you got all of the things on your shopping list down?
With My Little Pony, Spider-Man, maybe Mr. Fantastic,
Your kids will relish all of those commercial hunks of plastic.

“But it’s not what I wanted” they silently utter,
Common complaint, I just hope they recover.
Because if in their teens these kids are still pricks,
Why should you even give them an iPhone 6?

But it’s not only kids that worry about gifts,
I’ve seen man-children that throw plenty a fit.
The season of giving can’t get as much joy
When the people who receive are constantly annoyed.

Understand that Christmas is a special time,
And shouldn’t be comprised of “Mine, mine, mine!!!!”
You have plenty of charities that represent a good cause
But then there are off-shoots that have broken a few laws.

So, do me a favor and keep this in mind:
Good nature today will help in good time.
Whether saying “I love you” to a parent or friend,
Or volunteering to help the homeless be happy again.

There are too many things that can be done this year,
But not enough people willing to spread the cheer.
So stop what you’re doing and open your heart,
There’s a lot to be done, so let’s go ahead and start.

-Marshall Stone

 

Happy Holidays everyone! If you’re still looking for a gift, my album Good Times Never Fade  is available on Amazon, CDBaby, and iTunes now! Visit marshallstonemusic.com to get the proper shortcuts available!

 

 

Top 5 Worst Christmas Songs

Before I begin, I must give an honorable mention to a song that I did not include in my top 5 best Christmas songs.

“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”

The reason why I didn’t include it was because I originally saw this as more of a villain type of song than actually a Christmas song. However, after thinking more about it, I can see why. How The Grinch Stole Christmas  is a great book and the animated special had some wonderful music in it, so it only made sense that I included this song in the running. I just made an oversight, and for that, I apologize, I just didn’t see it as a TOTAL Christmas song.  Keep in mind though, THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S A BAD SONG.  I love it, it’s one of my favorites that I grew up listening to, and I always enjoy it time and time again.

Now let’s dive into the polar opposite……..

These are the Christmas songs that suffer through a lot of faults to the point where I either can’t get into them or, to put it nicely, I DESPISE THEIR EXISTENCE!!!

So……. let’s just get this over with. As much as it pains me to have to listen to these songs, I give you my top 5 worst Christmas songs I have ever heard.

5. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Ok, this may be a little bit of an odd choice, but in my defense, I don’t really HATE this song. But even with that said, it’s probably my least favorite in terms of the actual songs that tend to be labeled “classic carols”. When listening to this song again, I found it to be kind of dull. I don’t think the lyrics have any real substance to them, except for some…… mixed messages. How comfortable are you knowing that Santa “sees you when you’re sleeping” and “knows when you’re awake”? If any stranger that I knew acted like this towards children, they’d be serving 15 to life. Oh well, I know that people like this song, and I can see why, I’m just not a fan.

4.  The Chipmunks Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)

Why????? Just why?????

Even as a kid, I did not like this song. As an adult, it’s even worse. I understand now why my parents didn’t like to talk about this song or try to ignore it when it plays on the radio. Have you ever had that friend that can’t take a hint and is an ultimate buzzkill and you’re only friends with them out of pity? That’s sort of like this song. It’s irritating, obnoxious, grading to the ears, and a waste of pen and paper. Mostly because the genius who thought of multi-tracking  extremely high pitched voices won’t shut up!!! I guess if it were regular song sung by natural voiced males or females, it would be marginally better, but if you have to use that defense, you failed. I’m not even going to specify in what, you just fail.

3. Funky, Funky, Christmas- New Kids On The Block

This is a first for me.

Whenever I’ve listened to Christmas songs, I tend to bite the bullet and just listen the whole way through whether they’re good or not.

Then this song came and I couldn’t even get through half of it. You can say that it’s not credible of me to put it on the list, but here’s my point: THE SONG IS 5 MINUTES AND SEVEN SECONDS!!!!

I am not a fan of New Kids on The Block to begin with, but this song is trash and the worst song from them I have ever heard. The “writers” try to put a Beastie Boys mixed parody spin on a hip-hop Christmas song but it fails miserably because if you’re going to write a parody, it’s supposed to be funny. This isn’t. Funny is a word that dies with this song, and everyone involved should be ashamed.

2. Last Christmas

Which version? ANY of them.

From the way that I trashed the last……. thing…… you would think that this song would be ranked near the beginning of this list, but I cannot give this song that luxury in any way at all. This song suffers from so many problems, but it all comes down to the writing.

What’s the story? You have a person singing about how he/she had their heart broken after confessing their love to someone on Christmas and they proclaim that the next year they’re going to give it to someone special. Ok, that would be fine if that was it ,but it’s not. You have a first verse that has the narrator being flirtatious with the person they’re singing to  (I thought this was the person that broke your heart???) and then you have another verse with them being spiteful towards that person. THIS SONG IS A FOUR MINUTE CASE OF BIPOLAR DISORDER!!! Songwriters, it’s ok to write a serious and heartfelt love song, but don’t make your narrator a nutjob!! It’s ok to be head over heels about someone, but with the literal tone that this song has, I feel like someone’s going to be dead by the time this song is done. It’s cruel, a cock-tease, and really mean-spirited. If you like this song, that’s fine, I’m not going to judge and I can sort of understand, but….. to me,  this song is just not good. I guess I can say that the production on every version I’ve heard is fine, and the singing has never been bad in any means (I’m not going to name drop on a particular version that says the opposite), but if a song has bad writing, it’s not a good song. That’s pretty much as nice as I can be about it.

1. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer

Before I begin riffing on this garbage, there’s one funny version of this song I heard that had a hardcore punk feel to it….

But I can’t find it. Let’s get this over with a list of problems this has…..

1. This is a Christmas song about death, not just a death in Christmas, but a death in the narrator’s family on Christmas! Did you think that Grandma was ok? No, she’s dead!!!! And this is a problem because…
2. This song is supposed to be a playful little comedic tune, there’s no mellowness in any of this. The fact that this is supposed to be comedic is baffling to me, it gets everything wrong. Which brings us to…

3. Speaking of everything being wrong, listen to this song and tell me how many times it takes for that chorus to be annoying. I’ll wait.

 

Oh you’re back! Do you know what the answer is? Great! Let’s say it together. ONCE. ONCE. ONCE.

I’m talking about the singing, the musical arrangement, nearly everything about it has this tendency to want to keep annoying you. ANYTHING FUNNY IS NOT SUPPOSED TO DO THAT!!!! Why this song had the notoriety and success that  it did, I don’t know.

 

Until next time, I’m going to give myself an eggnog hangover because I can’t stop thinking about that drek.

My Top Five Christmas Songs!

Hey everyone!

With Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the joy of the holiday season fast approaching, I’ve decided to embrace the spirit of winter by making December a Christmas-themed month!

FA LA LA LA LA, LA LA LA-yeah.

Anyway, part of that festive spirit of Christmas lies in music. It can be warm, bouncy, wild, calm, most anything, really. You even have hardcore punk covers of Christmas carols……..

You don’t need to re-read that last sentence,  it’s just as funny and odd as you think it is.

So, let’s take this occasion for me to name off my top 5 favorite Christmas songs!

(DISCLAIMER: CHRISTMAS SONGS ENTITLES NOT JUST CAROLS BUT ALSO POPULAR MUSIC, ODDITIES, AND ANYTHING WITH A CHRISTMAS OR WINTER RELATED SUBJECT, THIS IS ALL OPINION BASED SO IF YOU HAVE HITMEN ON SPEED-DIAL…….. WELL, I GAVE YOU THIS DISCLAIMER. ENJOY!)

5. Jingle Bell Rock

Yeah, yeah, not surprising, but still, why wouldn’t this be on my list? I think this one of the first Christmas songs I really got into when I was a little kid. The sound of the original recording just sounded so appealing to me, and looking back on it, it still has the feeling of a timeless classic. From the smooth vocal delivery to the tight rhythm section, this is one of the perfect songs to hear while decorating your christmas tree.

4. O Holy Night

Through college, I had a bit of voice training, so I grew to appreciate classical singing and operatic voices more with each passing lesson. THIS song is one of the perfect examples of me cherishing voices in certain musical pieces. Now, you may ask, which do I prefer for this song?
Well, my two favorite singers of this song are Charlotte Church and Josh Groban. They each provide their own skill-set and talents to capture the true beauty of this piece. When I hear them both sing these lyrics, I feel like I’m there in a symphony hall hearing both of them.

So, what about the piece itself? It’s graceful, the lyrics are touching, and the movements are really soothing. This song is a true staple of Christmas, and I love listening to it every year.

3. Carol of the Bells

Which version? Pretty much all of them that I’ve listened to. I haven’t found a bad one yet!

This is a song that always makes me feel like joining a choir and performing it out of the blue. This song contains a sense of darkness and suspense that I truly love, and with the booming vocals, it makes the result far more powerful!

The Trans Siberian Orchestra version is really nice too. I think it’s a TAD overrated, but I know why people love it, and I still think the piece is very well performed!

2. Christmas All Over Again- Tom Petty

Again, another obvious choice for me because of my rock background, but I really do love this song!

I think I’m a sucker for songs that sound really full in the production and instrumentation because this song has all of those elements! Complete with  jangling guitars, awesome rhythm section, sweet piano playing, and even some sleigh bells for a nice touch! I always find Tom Petty’s voice kind of hit or miss, but his vocals in this song provide a certain charm that helps turn this good song into a great one! Bonus points for his “Christmas list” at the end that he recites.

1. Silent Night

Ah, a classic carol. I chose this song because it captures the beauty of Christmas and the very sight of the manger scene. Sometimes it’s the imagery that truly helps a song shine, and this song has plenty of it. I’d have more to say on it except, you’ve probably heard this song already, the very nature of it speaks for itself! It’s calm, soothing, and provides a great close to a wonderful set of carols.

Thank you to everyone for checking out this list! I hope you enjoy it, because next week………. we’re diving to the bottom of the barrel. So enjoy these songs before I reveal next week’s things.

Ok, that’s a bit harsh for most of them, but one of them deserves that distinction. Which one? You’ll find out next week. Have a great night everyone!

 

 

Songwriting: What To Look For (Part 3, The Finale)

In a world…….

Where men become heroes…..

Where pets have the uncontrollable urge to scratch themselves….

And where build ups like this don’t exist anymore….

Seriously, what happened? I mean, I know there are more people that have voices like this for movie trailers, WHY CAN’T WE HAVE THAT HAPPEN AGAIN???

Oh well, here’s the final installment of the songwriting trilogy.

Part 3:

Today, we are concluding our look into songwriting with me discussing one of the ultimate determining factors in making a basic song great: the melody.

Am I talking about vocal melody? The melody of the riff? The melody of the guitar solo? Well, I’m talking about all of the above, because like I keep stressing in the previous parts, in your performance, it needs to be done with passion and it needs to be memorable.

Granted, this is all opinion-based, but it’s important if you’re writing a song to be perfectly satisfied and proud of what you just penned down or performed. I have a little notion that some people will probably agree with:

If you aren’t sick to death of the part or melody you wrote because you can’t get it out of your head, you did well.

Remember, it’s important to be catchy, but being catchy means nothing if the song isn’t refined. Pretend you’re performing this song out, what do you want to do to it for you to be proud? By the time you know the answer, it will take repeated tries, but with each effort, the final product will get closer to how you envisioned it.

Now, with the key fundamentals being covered, let me talk to you about my process of crafting what feels like a good song in my eyes.

First off, I need to have a vision. Usually I try to figure out what I should write about during the brainstorming stages because it makes the process easier.

Second, I need to find a way to tell the story. This is the point where the music and melody can be a rough take to help you along. When I’m doing this, I figure out how to make the narrative flow with the ability to keep a listener engaged. Nobody likes a terrible story.

Third, I refine the music and melody. THIS is the longest process for me, mostly because of how hard it is. It’s hard because it is constant, constant trial and error. One day you can be satisfied with a part you wrote, but then all of a sudden, you hear something out of place that screws up your thinking and makes you type stuff like this:

eroipar89gujt49[w04g993e4stgjie;pruioPIGghseproguiserpgs89erhgs;fbnxcvmbnPIGdfbmxcv,.bmxnldfihxeoPIG;ighehr;goiserigshe;PIGrgosetis;goierghO;IRHEOHE0T9E0YHE;FSID;FSHIDJ;HSOE9059590OHGSER;GnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnPIG

Ok, maybe not that.

Still, it can be a pain.

Fourth, I go and perform what could potentially be the final version of the song.

However, if something ends up wrong, I review steps one through three again to make sure nothing went completely haywire.

If everything comes together though, I feel so satisfied because of all of the work that was put into making the song a quality one.

Well, that concludes this analysis on what to look for in songwriting! I had a lot of fun writing this, and to my fellow musician friends out there, I’m really curious. What is YOUR writing process? If you have a specific method, feel free to comment below and let me know! To everyone else, have a great night and keep being amazing!

 

 

Songwriting: What To Look For (Part 2)

Hey everyone!

You know when I said on Friday that I’d have this part up tomorrow? Yeah….. I meant the day after tomorrow.

While I take care of all of the angry mobs forming outside right now, enjoy this next part in the Songwriting analysis!

Part 2: 

When we last left off this column, I was talking about the importance of having flowing lyrics in music along with the advantages and disadvantages of writing with different points of view.

This time I want to discuss the crucial importance that the instrumental sections have with making or breaking a song.

One thing that I have heard a couple people talk to me about when it comes to hit songs that are actually really bad (see my previous post for more detail) is that a certain song “has a good beat”.

Now that in itself is true, but I think I should probably explain a little more about that “beat”.

When I think of beats, I think of drums, percussion, any form of tempo accompaniment that helps establish the pace of the song. However, I think when people talk about the beat, they also mean the general direction of the main riff that’s driving it. Both the tempo and the riff are a true essential in making sure a song is worthy of listening to .  But in the best way to do that, both of them need to play an essential part in the song. I’ll give a couple of examples here:

Sunshine of Your Love: Cream 

It starts out with a memorable guitar riff by Eric Clapton, but when that riff is joined in with the bass and drums by Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker respectively, it helps take the song to a new medium, especially in the chorus.

Smoke On The Water: Deep Purple

Do I even need to say more about this riff? Most guitarists starting out have heard this as one of their first songs they’ve learned. Most musicians know this song, and the ensemble of musicianship surrounded around the riff takes the song’s power to a great level that is still high today!

Dream On: Aerosmith

Keep in mind when I say ensemble of musicianship, I mean the vocals too, because without a good vocal performance, something will feel like it’s missing in your song.

Anyway, all of these elements are addressed in Dream On: an amazing opening riff that is integrated throughout, captivating vocal performance by Steven Tyler, and the fact that you feel the song building and building toward its peak. Those were all of the things that I realized were going on when I heard this song for the first time.

Now someone might be thinking:  “Ohhhh Marshall, these are all classic rock songs, why aren’t you talking about things from other genres that we were born to listen to?”

To be honest, do I really need to?

All of these things that I’m saying can apply to really any song that you would take a liking to, whether it’s technically good or bad.

Now, what do I look for in the overall riffs?

Well, there needs to be passion. Without somehow feeling the effort and determination of what you’re playing or singing, the performances can come off as very robotic. As a result, you lose the next key component: memorability. Without it, your song can lose its personality and end up as a no-name copycat in a genre full of them. Here are the biggest culprits to me: Country, Pop, and Alternative Rock Music.

I don’t hate Country, I may have brought it up as a subject of criticism in these past two blogs, but I don’t hate it, I really don’t. I just like it when it’s good.  In today’s generation I’ve noticed that a good bit of Country has succumbed to the traps of Hit #444Z trying to sound the same as Hit A. As a result, the riffs or “beats” start to sound the same, making the resulting songs a bit generic.

Now, Country is one of the tamest offenders of this though, Pop and Alternative Rock are much worse. I feel like Pop has this little pie chart dissecting one song and turning it into seven new songs within the span of two weeks. Granted, it’s gotten better, they’re adding diversity in their song genres. That in itself is nice,  but it still doesn’t offer the amount of quality that you would ask for as a general listener, much less a musician.

Alternative Rock: See the last two paragraphs and combine them with a harder edge to it. I love Alternative Rock, but lately this seems to be the case. However, throughout this year I’ve heard really good callback songs from bands like The Pretty Reckless, Royal Blood, Volbeat (even if I’m not a huge fan), and plenty of others.

Thanks for reading this installment of my Songwriting series, and next post I will be concluding this discussion  by talking about a few more important things and then discussing my process into crafting what I feel is a good song. Until then, enjoy your day and keep rocking out to your favorite songs!