What makes a song a “classic”.
The melody? Tons of advert jingles have great catchy melodies. Do any of them get any love after 6 months? Not likely.
The lyrics? There are many great song lyrics which will rival great poetry but don’t get the amount of praise that a song in a foreign language receives (Gangnam Style?)
Production values? Think of the thousands of “one hit wonder” artists who have typically put out several albums over the course of their career – all of their music had the similar production values (if not better) and still got nowhere close to the popularity their one-hit song got.
I argue that what makes a song a classic is the emotion it creates. The perfect combination of melody, lyrics and production. It should be no surprise that most people tend to listen to the music they listened to when they were a teenager for the most of their adult life. Dad-rock used to be Led Zeppelin in the 90s. Nowadays Dad-rock is Guns’n Roses and Nirvana. In 10 years time Dad-rock will probably be Linkin Park.
One unpopular fact about music production is that as production tools got a lot cheaper and could be adopted by the masses – the bar of entry got lowered a lot. 40 years ago for a band to go into the studio they needed big budgets and these budgets were only approved after the band had proved their worth by producing great music and playing live for a while first, then the band would have to go through a music bureaucracy – which was essentially businessmen who sold music instead of other products. And what these businessmen understood was that the best selling music was the music that created the most emotion.
What makes the audience cry and scream – sells records.
This meant only the top of the food chain ever got to see the insides of a studio.
Today, every kid with 500 USD can buy his own recording equipment and start producing music on his laptop which doubles as a gaming device.
Back to songwriting.
There are tried and tested methods to write songs that will create the most emotion on the most basic level. My take is this : if the song is good on only guitar&vocals – it will still be better after proper production. If your song sucks when played on a guitar & vocals, then no matter how much you polish it with fancy production – it will still be mediocre at best.
Let me put this straight – nobody can promise a hit song. The music history is built around hit songs that the artist, producer and record executives thought was crap and would almost not include in the album. Kiss by Prince, Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones and Sweet Dreams by The Eurythmics were deemed as “not worthy” by the producers and almost didn’t get released. However they have been massively popular and have generated millions of dollars of royalties over the years.
The massively popular Lorde song Royals has an urban legend on how Lorde posted the soundcloud link to the song on 4chan asking for anonymous critique (and it was trashed by the responders).
My point is this – nobody can promise you to write a hit song. Even the masters at this craft never know if a song will resonate with the listeners and create emotion and become a hit or not.
However you can still do your best to make sure that your song has strong fundamentals and is not self-sabotaging. Having a proper structure, lyrical movement, melody, build up and climax are methods that all great songwriters employ while creating classics.
I can help you revisit your songs and ideas and assist you create the song with strategies which will have good melodic and lyrical movement so maximum emotion is achieved. All you need to do is for you to drop me a line.