I have young children. Whenever I ask them what song they would like to listen to in the car they say “Wake Up Jeff“, a song written by Australian group The Wiggles. These guys write kids songs and have had massive success.
So it wasn’t a big surprise when I received The Wiggles tribute album, ReWiggled, for Christmas. Basically it’s adult musicians playing Wiggles tunes. I highly recommend it even if you don’t have children.
It’s a real mash-up of “children’s” songs and “adult” sounds from which I took these insights:
- Nearly all the songs are well under 3 minutes long. As The Wiggles themselves say: “… songs were short and started with the chorus because the group believed that it was necessary to provide young children with the topic of each song in its first few lines.” This is applicable to all writers. Why should you make the listener wait? Why should you hold back the chorus? Will the listener keep listening?
- As children we are introduced to music as something fun. Why are you making your songs so serious? Are your songs fun in any way? Approach your songwriting as though you’re writing for kids. Imagine them singing along and dancing.
- You’re a songwriter but most people aren’t. Most people don’t have a refined sense of songwriting. If you want to reach most people (and that’s a big if) then give them something they can immediately recognize and connect to. Listen to the new Coldplay song “Paradise” for instance. This song is terrible but it connects quickly with lots of people.
- The Wiggles used to be in an “adult” band called The Cockroaches but have admitted that musically the main difference to The Wiggles was “just the lyrics”. And maybe the skivvies!
- I really liked the adult versions of the songs. What makes a song sophisticated is sometimes NOT the music but rather the performance and arrangements. How complicated is your music and lyrics? Try starting simple and adding finesse at the production stage.
PS: Never start a new blog before Christmas again. What happened to the last 4 weeks?!