I’d like you to listen to (at least a minute of) each of these songs:
What do these all have in common? Two things – for one, they all peaked at number 1 on the US Billboard charts. That’s a pretty big deal.
The second thing they all have in common is that the production truly showcases the song – it fits just right, making each song great in its own right.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – “how can you even compare a work of genius to a work of garbage?” But that’s just the point.
You see, “Yesterday” by The Beatles is an incredible song. Even by itself – without any fancy production elements – it stands alone.
And, as much as I enjoy Tha Carter III, one of the biggest hip-hop albums ever made, the first number 1 single “Lollipop” is admittedly a terribly written song. There’s hardly any content to it, and half of the singing is just auto-tuned moaning and groaning that can sound rather unpleasant at times. But there’s something about the production that draws people in and makes them want to listen again.
“Teenage Dream” is somewhere in the middle – definitely more going on lyrically, but not quite enough to make it stand out for its creative writing. The production, however, helps just enough to propel this song into greatness.
The lesson here is that it doesn’t take the most profound song or the biggest production to make something great. What makes it great is when the production showcases the song. If it’s an amazing song, it doesn’t need a lavish production to showcase it. If it’s a mediocre song, the production can help fill it out and make it shine.
Keep this in mind when you’re working on your productions – this can really help your songs shine!