The Winning Formula

Hit singles that strayed from songwriting tradition that can inspire you to supercharge your own songs.

Posted: 16 July 2019

Writing a song isn’t hard. Writing a good song, however, is an art. We all recognise the standard structure of a song—verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s safe and dependable and if you’re lucky it’ll even become a hit. But sometimes it’s the songs that break the mould that we remember. Here’s just a few that stand out from the crowd and can influence your next tracks.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody is just one on those songs that you can feel in your bones. One minute you’re minding your own business and the next thing you know the whole gang is in diamond formation, holding torches under their chins and belting out the famous lyrics. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. On paper, the song shouldn’t be so memorable. Songs are usually defined by their choruses, but Bohemian Rhapsody doesn’t have one. In fact, all seven of the song’s verses are completely unique. That’s just what happens when you roll three different songs into one musical epic.

 

Paranoid Android

The weirdness of this Radiohead hit doesn’t stop at the title. Aside from the instrumentally dense nature of the verses, the beginning of the song sets us up for a typical verse chorus verse structure. Then the guitar charged middle 8 gets us pumped for a third chorus that never comes. Instead we get a stripped down lyrical bridge before an explosive musical outro. Although it seems strange on paper, Paranoid Android is a perfect example of how a great guitar riff can hold a complicated song structure together.

 

The Beatles

When it comes to unconventional songwriting, The Beatles have tried it all. ‘Love Me Do’ is essentially one repeated chorus with slight variations, while ‘Hey Jude’ abandons the chorus altogether. Instead it has an A/B verse structure with a stream of ‘na na nas’ that take up the entirety of the song’s second half. Another example is ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, a multi-part song where each of the sections has a totally unique feel to it.