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How To Evaluate Your Songs

Once you’ve written a complete song (words AND music), you need to decide how commercial it is if you’re interested in pitching it (presenting it to either a publisher or an artist).  In general, a commercial song has the potential to produce a hit record, motivates people to buy it and request to hear it on the radio.  When a song has this much exposure and response, it will generate income.

The following is a checklist that many professionals in the industry use to evaluate songs:

THEME (underlying idea or concept)
1. Is the idea one that a lot of people can relate to?
2. Is it a unique or fresh approach?
3. Is the idea believable?
4. Does the song confuse the listener with too many themes or details that don’t lead to the hook? (Again, the hook is the focal point or main message of the song.  Hooks are often the title.  Hooks can be lyrical and or musical.)
5. Are the characters interesting or believable?

LYRICS (words)
1. Is there a memorable title or hook? (Exceptions are certain love songs or story songs.)
2. Is there a strong opening line?
3. Do the words sound old-fashioned or out-of-date?
4. Are the lyrics something you would hear in a conversation today?
5. Are the lines concise and does every word count?
6. Are the rhymes too predictable? (moon/June, true/blue, rain/pain)

MELODY (music)
1. Is there a strong marriage between melody and lyrics?
2. Has an appropriate mood been established through the rhythm and tempo?
3. Is the musical hook memorable?
4. Is there an interesting melodic change between verse and chorus and/ or verse and bridge?
5. Does the melody build into the chorus?

1. Does the song have a beginning, middle and end?
2. Are all the verses strong and non-repetitive?
3. Is the message powerful?
4. Does the song generate emotion?
5. Is the storyline good?
6. Does the song resolve itself to the listener’s satisfaction?

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