Posted by: Corey | February 14, 2012

Does Your Song Have An X-Factor?

It’s time to learn how to put an x-factor in your song! You might be wondering how exactly to do that. Simply put- all you have to do is think of something grandiose and amazing that the other songwriters haven’t thought of 🙂

I realize you might need a bit more clarification than that. Let me start by defining this concept.

First of all, this isn’t a universal notion. It’s something that I’ve personally noticed, and that I decided to name. To me, it’s when a song has a large-scale, completely unique component about it. It’s easier to explain by example.

A normal song will often have instruments strumming chords. A normal song will often have some subtle elements like backing vocals or light percussion to spruce up the track. Nothing that really blows you away or totally stands out from the crowd.

On the other hand:

  • A song with an x-factor might have a 27-person band, complete with horns, woodwinds, traditional rock instrumentation, and a choir!  Such as The Polyphonic Spree’s “Light And Day”.
  • A song with an x-factor might have 10+ vocal tracks at once to create a vocal wall of sound, such as in Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
  • A song with an x-factor might have breakbeat electronic drums over a rock instrumentation. Or include an acoustic guitar being played in a slap-style open tuning, such as in the movie “August Rush”.

In other words, think big! Get excited about what you can do with your songs. Brainstorm ideas that you wish you’d hear more often, or that you haven’t heard yet.

As you can see- this mindset can be incredibly powerful. But in keeping with my overarching theme of “songs-are-about-emotion”, these ideas should only be used if they fit. If your song is a soft, tear-jerking ballad, you obviously will want to skip the 4 minute, distorted sitar solo! That said, I’ll now reveal a more subtle application of the x-factor: sometimes what really gives your song that legendary edge isn’t these dramatic ideas. It could be the amount of heart behind the simplest song, or maybe a unique combination of elements that doesn’t sink in until repeated listens. It’s up to your own taste. But it will help to keep the idea in mind that your songs should stand out, that they should be legendary.

You get the idea. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and ask yourself what innovations you could include in your songs that would instantly blow people away!

at said, I’ll now reveal a more subtle application of the x-factor: sometimes what really gives your song that legendary edge isn’t these dramatic ideas. It could be the amount of heart behind the simplest song, or maybe a unique combination of elements that doesn’t sink in until repeated listens. It’s up to your own taste. But it will help to keep the idea in mind that your songs should stand out, that they should be legendary.

You get the idea. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and ask yourself what innovations you could include in your songs that would instantly blow people away!

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