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Songwriting Trends

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How much do you take account of trends within the industry? How do you go about observing and incorporating them within your writing?

Looking around the boards I don't see much evidence of this aspect of writing, yet it is an important facet of commercial songwriting, be that as a staff writer or as a writer/performer. Perhaps it is lurking under the surface, not spoken of and hidden as the unacknowledged ingredient in the mix.

For me it was an aspect of writing that I certainly didn't formally focus on. I listened to tracks, I liked ideas and perhaps experimented with them. Present day i don't purposefully think "this song needs some current up and coming trends written in...", rather I love making observation on music from a variety of different styles, and then liberally sprinkling those ideas, cross-breeding and mutating, into the songs I am writing. Those ideas are as likely to come from old songs (mine or classic) through to the latest tracks coming out...

My production is a similar blend. Unlike most commercially mixers these days i like a rawness to both the performance and the production, but blend in some of the latest approaches where i think they lend to a particular song. Something close to the mixing approach taken in the 70s but with some modern twists and ideas in there. the most modern aspect probably being that I have the luxury of recording in a computer based system rather than a reel to reel... and that flexibility does affect the kind of music that is produced, even if that is simply the amount of a track created within a sequencer instead of bringing in a performer to lay down the track.

For me the key is the quality and number of "fresh" ideas in a track. That is often as simple as a unique or rare combination of ideas. That's not to say everyone should do that, but more that is what I look for when I listen to new tracks.. The overall sound and the ideas, sounds and performances that tweak my own interest.

Songwriters and performers often try to create their own "context bubble". By that I mean they try and create their work as if the rest of the music universe did not exist, trendy or not. Uncompromising and unflinching reflections of the writer and performers. i am sure those writers do incorporate "trends" into their songs, but are possibly have less awareness of this, or are less willing to admit that their songs have been influenced by such forces.

Anyways..... trends... What are your thoughts on the matter?



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My first reaction to current songwriting treads is one of "Thanks, but no thanks." As a devout amateur, I like to think of myself as surrounded by a protective bubble that keeps the influences of modern songwriting trends outside of my creative process. That delusion sometimes lets me take the credit for stuff other people thought of first.

The tried and true traditional music process and the trends of the 1960's though the 1980's is where I'm most comfortable. But I am a product of all my experiences. And although I don't care for the direction the music industry is headed, I'm still affected. In fact, I feel certain that part of the reason I started writing songs with unrhymed verses was to counter the mindless rhymes of modern Rap. A more positive influence was hearing how fresh new hit songs sound when fewer rhymes are present.

I like a combination of tradtional instruments (guitar, piano, etc.) and synthisizers in music production. I haven't owned a synth since the 1980's (I have owned a Juno 106, a Prophet 600 and a DX7). To give you an idea of how tradition and trends affect me, I currently lust after both the Prophet 08 by Dave Smith and Omnisphere soft synth by Spectrasonics. Can I borrow a few bucks? :P

I don't have to consciously think about trends because I only answer to myself when I'm creating. But I'm affected; it's hard not to be.

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it is an important facet of commercial songwriting

I guess so.

There is definitely a history out there of people trying to emulate the successes of others.

But generally 'trends' per se have never made much impression on me.

Been too busy trying to get to grips with basics.

And aiming for beauty.

Maybe I operate within one of these 'context-bubbles' - but certainly not "as if the rest of the music universe did not exist".

From my perspective it's the trend focussed stuff which is most guilty in that department.

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Re-reading I don't think I expressed the universe bit very well. I was thinking of writers who are almost anti-trend and the word "often" shouldn't be there... but alas too late :D and yes it's probably a pointless point ;D as there are trend based writers who are just as guilty if not more so of working within a context bubble to the exclusion of the rest of the music universe.


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I listen to some of the newer sounds, some make me go WTF :angry2: , some make me go, hey, I should try that idea. Albiet, my "newer sounds" are not the same sounds you hear on the radio, but new and hip nonetheless (no matter what Lazz says). I don't "copy" persay, but I do take the idea into my brain and try to make sense of it and use bits and pieces where I can. I realize I strayed from the subject a little, but WTF, FIRE ME :P

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