Songwriting Tip #6 – Keep It Short

Songwriting Tip #6 – Keep It Short

A common issue that songwriters often struggle with, is how to determine the length of their song. In this blog post, we’ll learn the importance of song length, by studying Queen’s famous rock anthem, “We Will Rock You”.

This article is a summarised transcript of the sixth part of our video “How to Write a Killer Rock Anthem – 7 Secrets from Queen’s We Will Rock You’’. Click here to watch the video for more details, explanations and examples.

Short and Sweet

The original recorded version of “We Will Rock You” is two minutes and two seconds. It’s straight to the point, with absolutely no fluff or filler. In order to understand why the song is this short, we have to first understand the purpose the song was written to fulfill in the first place.

Queen created this anthem to encourage people to sing and clap along. To this end, the song has three refrains which in turn provides the audience three opportunities to join in. However, once that’s been done, the song would have served its purpose.

Imagine, if the song had been even 30 or 40 seconds longer, we may have felt that it was dragging and thus, the punchiness and impact that the refrain currently has might have been entirely lost.

If you’d like to learn more about how you could plan your song sections out, click here to download a free “Song Map Template” PDF now:

Questions to Ask Ourselves

Based on what we know about the length of “We Will Rock You”, we can surmise that it’s important for us as songwriters to ask ourselves the following questions when determining the length of our songs:

  • What is the purpose of our song?
  • Does the length of our song currently support its purpose?
  • Have we given enough time so as not to detract from the punchiness of our refrain/ chorus?

Remember that there isn’t a fixed answer to how long a song should be. Some songs might even need as long as six and a half minutes to tell the full story. Instead of trying to follow a specific songwriting formula, what’s important is that we tailor our song lengths to suit the purpose of our songs.

In the case of “We Will Rock You”, Queen felt that it needed to be short and sweet, with three verses and three refrains. This keeps the song punchy, and successfully carries its point across.

Conclusion: Songwriting Tip #6 – Keep It Short

As an overall, it’s important to remember that every song is unique and the appropriate length will vary. However, embracing the concept of keeping it short and sweet, as exemplified by “We Will Rock You,” can lead to powerful and memorable compositions that leave a lasting impression on our listeners.

This is only the sixth of seven songwriting tips we have for you from analysing Queen’s song, “We Will Rock You”. Check out the full article for all 7 tips or watch the video here now.

Turn your inspiration into beautiful songs with step-by-step guidance through two professional songwriting methods. By the end of this course, not only will your tool belt be stocked; you’ll have a plan and a method for finishing your songs – all of them:

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