Is Passive Promotion right? Are bridges a fool’s game to write for budding superstars, such as myself?
Brian Hazard at Passive Promotion, a killer blog for indie musicians, just posted about how songwriters who are just starting out should keep things simple and not write bridges for their tunes. Instead, they should stick with verses and choruses only and keep things simple. Naturally, the post inspired a lot of debate. But before I get into my particular point of view, a few words about bridges.
First off, I call the bridge a middle 8, and a middle eight is usually that one part of the song that’s different from the other parts. One of the most famous middle 8s is in a song by the Beatles (of course!) called Try To See Things My Way. The middle 8 is the bit that goes “Life is very short and there’s no time…”, thought by many to be the bit that makes the song. Brian says middle 8s don’t repeat, but of course they do.
Anyway, Brian goes on to suggest that inexperienced songwriters should not write bridges, because a bridge will over-complicate a song and make it more difficult for listeners to get into right away. In other words, it won’t be a hit.
Truth be told, I agree with Brian. If you’re just getting going — just hoping to get someone to listen and be hooked — your verses and choruses are what you want to nail. HOWEVER, bridges usually don’t’ occur until later in a song, so if your song hasn’t hooked someone by the time the bridge happens, what does the bridge even matter?
Here’ what it all comes down to for me: to quote (roughly) Tom Petty, if one part of your song isn’t as good as the other parts, kill it or rewrite it. To me, that is such good advice. Petty’s only rule is MAKE IT GREAT. I’m good with that.
Oh, and what the hell do I know? I’ve NEVER had a hit!