Aug 18, 2017
John Rich's Songwriting Tips #82
Obviously, I've been getting a little jaded lately. I mean, Big Kenny and yours truly, the Rhinestone Redneck Playboy, are still putting it down (Check out our latest hit, "California!"), but things have slowed a bit on the songwriting side. Have you seen my name on the credits for many hit singles lately? Nah. I mean, don't get it twisted. I'm still living the pimp life hard, son. I still light my Cubans with twenties. But you know… things are different in the ville.
My newest advice is going to be the hardest I've ever given, because it goes against everything I stand for. Like me or not, you know I work hard, write hard, drink hard, and f… never mind. I don't settle for mediocrity. But here's what I'm telling you, based on the trends I see on Music Row.
Settle for mediocrity. If you normally write songs with wit, depth, story, and emotion, don't do that. If you can sing like Elvis or Etta James, take it down a hundred notches. If you can come up with melodies that would make Paul McCartney swoon, stop that shit. Nobody wants that anymore. They want substandard monotone songs sung by people who couldn't place top 5 in a high school talent competition.
Find a bunch of inspirational posters online and do the opposite of what they say. F**k 110%. Give 55%. Dance like somebody is watching and ridiculing you. When the going gets tough, whine.
Write lyrics like you're in an eighth grade creative writing class and can't think of any synonyms. Just go to a party and describe what you see in one syllable words. "Me drive truck, me drink beer, me tell girl, come right here." That's a hit! Well, it's a hit as long as it sounds exactly like the other songs on the radio.
Don't strive for excellence. Don't try to leave a mark. Get it, fit in, shut up. Yeah, I'm mad. What are you looking at?
*not actually written by John Rich