Nirvana “Smells Like Teen Spirit”: What Went into Writing an Anthem of a Generation

Kurt Cobain is a songwriter with a very distinct personal style. What he didn’t know was how many people would resonate with what he was expressing. Whether it’s a blessing or a curse, when you create a highly expressive piece of art, one that crystalizes and sharply evokes a focused …

The Most Important Instrument in a Rock Band

This link came in my Facebook feed, in which Brian May is quoted to tell guitarists that they are not the most important instrument in a rock band. I agree. And from the songwriting perspective, for songs with vocals/lyrics, obviously guitars are accompanying instruments to vocals. But even from a band …

The Beatles “Nowhere Man”: Let the Song Speak

This is the third and final entry in a series examining a song from four different dimensions: songwriting, arrangement, performance, and production.  This post examines the latter two. So what do you do when you have such great material that don’t require a lot of decoration?  You get out of the …

The Beatles “Nowhere Man”: Arranging a Lean, Mean Impact Machine

This is the second in a series examining a song from four different dimensions: songwriting, arrangement, performance, and production.  This post focuses on the oft-overlooked aspect of music: arrangement. In the previous post we examined how John Lennon wrote an efficient little pop gem using two well-matched chord progressions and repetitive …