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#1152950 - 04/24/19 11:22 PM Breakdown of Top 10 Country Songs  
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Gary E. Andrews Online content
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Gary E. Andrews  Online Content
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Portsmouth, Ohio, USA
Trending in country, shorter, Bridges, Pre-Chorus.

I saw this on www.songwriterjunction.com five enlightening minutes with Larry Beaird.


There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com
#1152954 - 04/25/19 06:39 AM Re: Breakdown of Top 10 Country Songs [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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Everett Adams Online content
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Everett Adams  Online Content
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Listeners to songs may not know what is a bridge or a second chorus or a pre chorus, all they know is if they like the song or not. If it speaks to them, they like it, How ever long it takes to tell the story, take it but if it's too long, radio may not like it because it uses up too much ad space.

#1152955 - 04/25/19 08:32 AM Re: Breakdown of Top 10 Country Songs [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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Gary E. Andrews Online content
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Gary E. Andrews  Online Content
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I was amazed to find out how short Songs used to be back in the old days. Elvis and The Beatles sometimes got it done in a little over two minutes. Yet, listening, I didn't have a sense that the Song was short.

The Structure of these Songs Larry Beaird discusses is the lesson. Verse I, maybe Verse II, or maybe direct to Chorus after Verse I. Another Verse, VII or VII, a second giving of the Chorus, and then a Bridge, another Chorus and Coda to end. The goal seems more about 'running out' the time than letting a Song go where it wants to go to tell the story.

The Songs merit closer study to see whether they are actually good Songs, with enduring qualities, potential to become classics to be covered again as the years, decades, go by. Or, are they manufactured for ear-candy radio, disposable after their 'newness' has worn off?

A Bridge seems most functional when the Songwriter despairs of finding a Verse III to logically complete a Lyric. It enables a break from the risk of monotony of repeating the Musical Melody listeners have heard in a Verse/Chorus, Verse/Chorus so far, with a third Verse/Chorus. Some call it The Third Verse Curse, that inability to logically and with entertaining words, find that denouement' to end the storyline set up in the Verse/Chorus up to that point. The Bridge renews interest, and listeners are then ready to hear again the Chorus they've heard twice before.

An instrumental Bridge can be used, rather than a Lyrical Bridge. It serves the same function. A Song must have 'enough' Repetition to supply Structure listeners can relate to, 'enough' Change to keep them interested, 'hooked', listening. The concept of 'enough' is elusive, a judgment call on the part of the First Listener, you, the Songwriter.

Some of the difficulty may arise because the Lyric to that point is not styled as a story, so no logical progression to end the story is obvious. Sometimes, often, a Song's Verses are 'examples' of a situation that makes the Chorus logical. But finding that third 'example' is elusive, and can be monotonous. A Bridge renews interest with its Lyrical ideas, its Melody, which should be different from the Melody of the Verse or the Chorus, and, having given listeners a break from Repetition, they welcome back the familiar Chorus and that Structure consumes the requisite time to call it 'finished'.

These are definitely Songs intended for the 'Single Market', and terrestrial radio play, marketing tools for the acts/artists who sing them, to supply name recognition and sell their live-play ticket sales.

I'm beginning to be intrigued enough to want to compile the list and actually study these Songs a little closer to see if the Structural 'trick' actually satisfies my sense of entertainment or just 'works' as a trick.

Last edited by Gary E. Andrews; 04/25/19 08:58 AM.

There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com
#1152957 - 04/25/19 10:28 AM Re: Breakdown of Top 10 Country Songs [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Writing to a formula may beget you a great song but may be as boring as watching paint dry. I mostly write to what comes to me as a particularly good idea at the time. When I wrote THE LOST CHAD SONG, lyrics posted on lyric board one the idea just came to me. So I would not worry too much about a particular formula of how to write songs. I do think some pop writers from the past did write to a basic formula Whatever works for you is the right way but many of the big hits weren't written to some type of formula.

Ray E. Strode
#1152958 - 04/25/19 10:35 AM Re: Breakdown of Top 10 Country Songs [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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Gavin Sinclair Online content
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Gavin Sinclair  Online Content
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Gary, I saw Larry present this information in a workshop he did for our local NSAI chapter. One of my songs was picked to compare against the template he had extrapolated from his analysis of the hits. It was about 5 minutes long and obeyed almost none of the rules! He was much too nice to make me stand in the corner for the rest of the class, LOL.

Of course, rules are there to be understood and then judiciously broken. There is another video showing how country songs of the year do break these rules. Writing a great song might not always be the same as writing a hit.


Interesting what you say about how a bridge can be introduced when the writer despairs of finding a logical denouement. Another way I sometimes do that is to vary the end of the last chorus, so that the chorus as a whole is still familiar enough but you can end the song on a twist.

#1152959 - 04/25/19 10:45 AM Re: Breakdown of Top 10 Country Songs [Re: Gary E. Andrews]  
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Gary E. Andrews Online content
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Gary E. Andrews  Online Content
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If I confirmed one thing it's that country, as currently constituted (or whenever these Songs were released) is NOT my market for entertainment. Songs sound Rhymey, rappy, Melodically stunted, predictable. I found myself enjoying the pretty girls in the videos )Wow! Bebe Rexha!( (See there? She done turned my parentheses inside out!) and not paying much attention to the Songs. I tried not watching the videos and didn't enjoy the Songs much. I'm curious enough to want to 'listen' again, and try not to watch, to see if I can learn more about these Songs that made it to market, possibly served their function and made some folks some money.

That may be the best lesson, commercially thinking. We're not talking about classics-potential or great Lyrical or Melodic art. We're talking about marketable product, suited to the music consumer, those Leadership Decision-Makers in the industry first, who decide what will be marketed, and the mass public, who decide where they'll spend their time and money. What will 'sell'? Will it keep them listening to terrestrial radio long enough to hear the commercial ads that pay the bills? Will they download it for 99 cents? Will they decide to come to the venues to hear it in live play, not exclusively because they like the artist or the Songs, but partially because it's a social event, a date night, something to do?

Lots of readjustments of reasoning to do here. If you want to exploit the country market you can probably do at least this good in your Songwriting. Doing just a little better shouldn't be too hard either. And if you can get a pretty girl in a video to 'sell' it, you can probably open some doors.

Here's the list, youtube links if you're curious enough to study them, or just want a good walk through what the market is/was doing. And, again, Wow! Bebe! (See? I'll bet that makes you wanna watch!)

"Meant To Be" Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line

"Greatest Love Story" Lanco

"What If's" Kane Brown (I notice every word is harmonized on the Chorus. I think that's a mistake. A solo voice in some places can be much more effective. Let harmony vocals drop off on one word, a phrase, here and there, strategically, and you can have a stronger effect.)

"When It Rains It Pours" Luke Combs

"Body Like A Back Road" Sam Hunt (The title seems to stand alone, like a Line that came to the Songwriter but couldn't be logically supported in a Lyric.)

"Light It Up" Luke Bryan

"Unforgettable" Thomas Rhett

"I'll Name The Dogs" Blake Shelton (Clever Lyric, but kind of 'routine' style. That works in the country market.)

"Like I Loved You" Brett Young

"Small Town Boy" Dustin Lynch

Thanks, again, to www.songwriterjunction.com and Larry Beaird.

There will always be another song to be written. Someone will write it. Why not you? www.garyeandrews.com

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