On Songwriting: Is Your Song Any Good?

Is this song any good? That’s a question songwriters ask themselves a lot. But “good” is subjective. What’s less subjective is knowing whether your song is remarkable.

Remarkable is the thing you’re after as a songwriter. What do I mean by “remarkable”? I mean someone, of their own volition, remarking about your song. This can’t be if you’re asking for feedback. That doesn’t count. It is somebody reaching out to you in an email or coming up to you after a show. It could be someone messaging you on social media. However they do it, the person is going out of their way to say your song was meaningful to them.

Remarkable is important because you can actually quantify it. Pay attention to this metric when trying out new material. Why? Think about what it takes for someone to get to the point where they remark on your song. First, they have to have taken the time to listen. Second, they listened closely enough to have been impacted by the song. Third, your song has stuck in this person’s mind and heart. Fourth, they take action to thank you—they remark. That’s a significant impact and a useful metric or tool to show you which songs resonate. If it resonates with one person, it will likely resonate with many.

Put the songs people remark on in your “remarkable” folder. These songs, regardless of how you feel about them, are worth spending more time on. Play them live more often. If unreleased, release them.