Hook, Line & Sinker (Writing The Album)

Writing an album all on your own isn't easy. You have to focus on every aspect of the experience from the listener's point of view, and at the same time, hold the quality up so high that as an artist you're personally (and professionally) satisfied.


And when I think of the great rock albums in my life, every one of them was written by a band. Bands like Boston, where one genius wrote most of it, are exceptions. But bands like Queen, Pink Floyd, Bad Company, and Heart had a team of extremely talented musicians who all contributed parts.


Photo by Stacey Muniz (soulthreading.com)

But no matter what, every great album's beginning starts with great songs. The production, musicality, orchestration and arrangement come much later and rightfully so.


As an example, The Wall (Pink Floyd) was mainly written by Roger Waters and David Gilmore. One of my favorite songs from The Wall is Comfortably Numb. Before the words were written, and orchestration was laid out, it started with a High String D chord and David Gilmore's ohhh's and ahhh's over a D Major and A Major chord progression. After that was worked out, the words were written. In other words, the chorus was "written" first.


Every songwriter knows that the melody in the chorus is a great place to start writing a song. And they know certain notes are held back from the verse for emphasis on the chorus. Perhaps you didn't know that.


Again, going back to Pink Floyd, maybe you didn't know Comfortably Numb was written in a B Minor chord progression, with the relative Major (that is, D) in the chorus. But it is. The minor progression in the versus gives you a sad feeling. The chorus gives you a happier feeling.


And what makes it so fantastic is the arrangement. It is verse, chorus, guitar solo, verse, chorus guitar solo. The arrangement, as far as I know in Rock Music, is unique. In other words, I believe it's the only song in rock history with that arrangement. But maybe not. My music history isn't 100% complete. Still, the first guitar solo is very sad and yearning. And the second guitar solo is very aggressive.


Behind the entire song is an orchestra that hints at minor 3rds and Lydian 4ths, giving the song an unresolved and yet relatable feel. Those of you who don't know music theory, please see Rick Beato's music theory course on this. These reasons are why Gilmore and Waters complimented one another so well. And is likely the reason they struggled all the time to get along.


So, what? Why am I asking you to read this blog about Pink Floyd's song writing? Because I love their music and want to honor what these great artists have done. At the same time, I really want you to understand what I'm up against. I am a stand alone musician, at least for now. I must do everything myself. Everyone else costs money I don't have.


And that's why things are taking so long. Don't worry. I'm not complaining. I love the music writing process. Many folks have complimented me on my ability to turn out good songwriting. And again, I want to live up to expectations that what I'm doing will get better and better over time.