“I don’t know, it just doesn’t FEEL right, you know?” I’m sure we’ve heard or thought this plenty of times about a song. When you hear a groove or track you love, you can just feel it. It’s in your bones. It fills your lungs and for a brief moment, everything is right in the world. It could be any style or tempo, but when the song’s “feel” is there, it makes all the difference. So, that’s obviously our goal here: to give your song the feel it needs.
I want my song to have the “feel!”
But wait…what is a song feel?
The term “feel” is a tricky subject, particularly because it’s so subjective. If you are working with a producer or session musician and you tell them you want the feel to be upbeat, that might mean completely different things to each of you.
So, how do you get the right feel from your team?
The easiest way is to use other songs as references. I know most songwriters don’t like to copy anyone else, but trust me…every emotion has been expressed in a song before. Unless you’ve invented a completely different emotion (which will be tough for listeners to relate to), there’s a song out there with the emotion you’re seeking. Send that to your team and make sure they all understand what feel you’re going for.
Another good way is to describe the emotions that led you to write the song. I recently had a client send me a song and told me the story of how he came to write it. It was a difficult divorce that ultimately had a happy ending. I was able to use the story to channel my emotions when singing, and I think it resulted in the song he envisioned.
Sometimes, it’s as simple as adding or removing an instrument. Sometimes it’s in the mix. As long as we know what emotion you’re trying to portray, we can do our best to convey your message through music.
Ludwig van Beethoven said, “To play a wrong note is insignificant; to play without passion is inexcusable.” It is so important that your song have the right feel to it, so make sure your team knows what the feel should be!