Hundreds of songs chart competitively every single week, crossing genres of country, pop, dance, acoustic, EDM or R&B. All of which charting for extremely simple and similar reasons.
Looking at the most recent Top 10 Spotify Hits, you will see some tracks with big global successful names and others who have only been around to a consumers ears for a few months to a couple years. Many rising artists and songwriters feel that general charts are created by big artists and big labels having the upperhand as they have the power to do so, but overall it's irrelevant how big these names are. 90% of the time a hit song comes down to how strong and powerful the song alone is. That 10% is the fanbase giving the song that extra push in the right direction in the charts - without an audience rooting you on and streaming your music, there's no long-term career for the artist.
The 4 Key Components
Whether the genre is Country, Dance, Singer-Songwriter, R&B, you name it. Writing a smash hit will always come down to how strong at least one of the 4 components are - vocal melody, lyrics, vibe, production.
What Makes A Great Vocal Melody?
Having an outstanding vocal melody in a song is usually what takes a song from good to incredible. It comes hand in hand with the dynamics of a song, which means the vocals have to lift in the right sections, keep the vibe alive and of course the listener interested. Vocals can be pushed in a number of ways such as going an octave higher in the pre or choruses, creating 2 or 3 simple vocal hooks that mezmorise the listener throughout the song (Sia is excellent at making every single line a hook without overbearing the song - take a listen to her greatest hits), and another would be adding layers of harmonies in the pre and choruses to give the vocals an extra level of power.
What Makes A Great Lyric?
Having come across many songs or demos from artists that are still on the unsigned journey, it's been noticeable that many songwriters struggle with the same thing when it comes to writing lyrics. Creating smart lyrics instead of simple is extremely important - even just one very well said line in the entire song could make quite the difference.
This means saying the most common phrase in an entire new way - Ed Sheeran and Lewis Capaldi are great examples as they mostly write about falling in love or being heartbroken, but the big difference is how incredibly well they tell the story.
Visit Topline Bible via Spotify to hear Unsigned Bible's hand-picked well-written vocal melodies, lyrics and contexts from recent years.
What Makes A Great Vibe?
Creating a vibe can come from production a lot of the time, but still can from the artist and how they're singing the great vocal melody and lyrics.
Motivation by Normani is an excellent example as this 68M streamed hit is all about the vibe, excitement, fun, and 'bounciness'. The story is all about using the current relationship to motivate the partner to find a new relationship - not so happy, right? But the production and vibe change the tune into something much more lighthearted and into a party track. This is done and can be used in other demos by very importantly trying out new beat sounds, tempos and pitches, also by throwing in new instruments you wouldn't have thought would work, or very light sound effects that can take the song to the next level in the most subtle way.
What Makes Great Production?
Production within a song is a crucial part of the music process that can completely alter the outcome of a song. But producers, please please be aware that if the songwriting of the music is bad, then working for weeks on the production of it is only wasting your time and will never fix the songwriting. The Topliner and Producer both have to work together to create a masterpiece.
Similar to creating a vibe, finding the right beat, tempo, pitches and sounds will make all the difference. As well as ensuring you're complimenting the vocal melody and song structure by dynamically lifting the music in the right sections, creating brilliant hooks within the production but strictly not overpowering the vocal hooks.
Visit Production Bible via Spotify to hear Unsigned Bible's hand-picked well-produced tracks from recent years.
What Made These Songs So Successful?
With an outstanding amount of Spotify streams on Joel Adam's 'Please Don't Go', let's take a look at the one very simple reason as to what made this song what it still is today.
Looking at the 4 components this one comes down to one small vocal melody and it's vibe, that's the intro and it's use right after choruses. This powerful hook punches in right from the start and is used as a post-chorus to bring the whole song alive and just from this ties in a great vibe. Take a listen by clicking above and add to your favourites!
Co-written by the incredible Jessie Ware and superstar Ed Sheeran is 'Say You Love Me'. A sensational smash hit that still to this day warms and aches our hearts all at the same time. But how? How did this song become what it is?
The captivating vocal melody, relatable lyrics and the perfect harmonies in the bridge to take the song that extra mile, it's the recipe to an extremely well-written heartbreak song.
The lyrics break the ice right away in its clever 2nd person view, telling the story to the significant other in an argument perspective - "Say you love me, that's all it takes." and "I don't want to fall in love if you don't want to try." Two very simple but well-said lines that break into the verses and choruses, and what's better than it being topped off with an incredible vocal melody! This song reached over the 100M stream mark as each component of the vocal melody, lyrics and vibe compliment each other so much that it makes the individual components that much greater.