Top Ways To Complicate Your Songs and Confuse Your Audience

by Clay Mills
Apr 15, 2024

There’s a number of common songwriting errors that complicate the lyric and confuse the listener. If you want to leave your audience scratching their heads (not recommended), try these techniques for songwriting confusion.

Switch your pronouns around.

Include several female characters in your song and then use the pronouns “she” or “her”. This gets them every time. They won’t be able to keep up with who is talking. So much fun to see from the stage!

Jump back and forth in time.

Start in present tense, then go past tense, back to present, then throw in some future tense. They won’t know which way is up!

Businessman in panic for not meeting the deadline

Don’t stick to one topic.

The more you say that doesn’t have anything to do with your hook, the more the audience will wonder what in the heck is going on. Throw in random lines that don’t have anything to do with your song idea and watch the “glazed and dazed” looks fall over the audience like rain.

Throw in some poetic nonsense for maximum songwriting confusing.

Try things like “You’re a blue sky baby” or “Roses never had it like you.” No one will have any idea what you are talking about. Some may even give you the “Whoa dude, that’s righteous” kind of looks, if they are heavily medicated or in an altered state.

Write a super depressing lyric to a happy melody.

If you can kill off a dear family member in your song while keeping a happy melody frolicking along, you’ve accomplished something.

Spend zero time learning and reading about your craft.

Clay Mills wrote a great blog on the 7 Books All Songwriters Should Read. Don’t read ANY of these books if you really want to write confusing songs.

I’m sure I will think of additional ways later to create even more songwriting confusion, but that’s another post for another day. Write on! ~MD

Clay Mills

Clay Mills

Clay Mills is a 16-time ASCAP hit songwriter, producer, and performer. He is the co-founder of SongTown and has 2 Grammy nominations for “Beautiful Mess” by Diamond Rio and “Heaven Heartache” by Trisha Yearwood. Clay is also the co-author of Mastering Melody Writing and The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Co-writing.


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