That may be the best bit of songwriting craft advice I’d ever gotten.
Way back in the day, when I was considering moving from Tallahassee, Florida to Nashville, I had a skpye song critique session with accomplished songwriter, Sally Barris. Sally was absolutely amazing during the critique, and gave me loads of good advice, but this particular bit of truth has always stuck with me:
The verses are for you, and the chorus is for everyone else.
Let’s disect this statement:
The Verses are for You.
Literally, they are not. From an artistic perspective, they are. The verses offer you a place to write in your voice. You can let things get crazy and interesting here. Break some rules. Be overly specific. Be overly vague. Add mystery. Big words. The vereses are where you have the most liberty to write from your own unique voice. The verses are for you.
The Chorus is for Everyone Else
The chorus is where you need to summarize your whole song. The chorus needs to relate to everything you said in your verses. And most importantly, the chorus is what your listeners are going to sing along to. Give them something they can memorize quickly, after one listen. Give them words that rhyme. Give them repetitive rhythms, and memorable melodies. The chorus is for everyone else.
Agree? Dissagree? Let me know in the comments and let’s talk about it!