Music, they say, is the only universal language, and songs are its words and alphabets. We’ve been writing songs since our ancestors first learned to speak and tap rhythmically on blocks of wood. Singing comes naturally to us as barking to a dog or meowing to a cat. Writing a good song, however, isn’t easy. You have to create lyrics, melodies, and harmonies. Depending on the atmosphere, message and mood you want to create, you’ll also need to understand chord progressions, tones and timbre. Music theory isn’t necessary to writing good songs – a lot of great songwriters started out without knowing their scales from their chords – but it may come in handy when you want to write more something more complex.
The majority of listeners, on the other hand, couldn’t be too bothered by all the technicalities, they just need to be enveloped by the depth of emotion and the plenitude of sound the music delivers to their ears. Hence, good songwriters mask the technicalities like a great chef does with a gourmet meal.
It’s the dish as a whole that impacts you before the ingredients become apparent. On such songwriter, is newcomer Takeshi Aida, who has just released the single “I’ll be there” by Takeshi & Friends. Takeshi has a penchant for rock ballads, and forges his talent on this track, which takes us back to the classic rock sounds from the genre’s golden era.
A slow acoustic buildup in the verses, heartfelt lyrics and epic, atmospheric choruses that require a powerful and dynamic voice to carries the song’s sprawling melody and emotive quotient. Luckily, Takeshi found the voice that does justice to his composition, by enhancing its auditory impact.
The instrumentation is kept stripped down to allow the singer breathing room, and space for the melody to grow into, while the lyrics remain audible at all times – essential when trying to communicate a story to an audience.
Over and above all the rules and formulas though, a great pop or rock song should be felt when you hear it. You can hear songs that are technically great, songs that tick all the boxes. But for a song to be felt, you need something else. It’s also incredibly important to that you remember a song right after the first or second time you hear it. That something sticks to you, something that makes you think: “I need to hear that song again”.
That’s fundamental, and that’s what happens with “I’ll be there”. It’s a track that you’ll want to hear again. Which means, that though only at the start of his songwriting career, Takeshi Aida, has already assimilated the basic ingredients of great songwriting. I’m keen to see where he goes from here now.