We know already that familiarity breeds enjoyment. Our brains naturally enjoy something they recognize. This is why it’s so all-important to get your listeners to hear your song multiple times – it develops in them a desire to hear it even more times. Within your song, repetition of a hook serves the same purpose – to breed familiarity and anticipation.
Wait… Not Good?
But as a songwriter, familiarity can be a burden. Without exception, songwriters hear their songs repeatedly as they’re being developed. We become accustomed to hearing those lyrics and those musical moments that we once vowed to replace with “something better”, and we reach a point at which we can actually forget that those lyrics or musical moments were waiting for their chance to grow up into something special.
This is where collaborating can be HUGE for your songwriting. Take that song that you’ve re-written enough that you have strong familiarity potentially clouding your judgment, and play it for another songwriter. Or, perform it for any audience – which can serve to put you in different mindset altogether, hearing (sometimes painfully) the parts of your song that you’ll wish you had worked more on before sharing it. Mysteriously, we often can’t achieve that level of awareness in private – we need to be anticipating the reaction of an audience to suddenly become fully aware of our songs.
Three Ways to Have a Second Look
They say “you can’t see the forest for the trees”. Inviting a collaborator into the room, or performing your song for an audience, or simply dedicating yourself to giving a fresh look at your song, will lead you out of the trees so that you can observe the whole forest.
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