Last updated on January 6th, 2023
After my last piece about experiments in song structure, you’re probably trying trying to find musicians who exemplify a confident and innovative approach to that particular area of the creative practice. Therefore, as both a courtesy and a personal indulgence in my love for music and my favorite songs, I figured I’d provide a list of different songs/artists that I personally believe are some of the best as far as their structural composition goes. Bands looking for songwriters are bound to give you a keen second look while skimming through the Muze app for musicians if you’re a good writer with an ear-catching approach to both lyrics and song structure.
If you’re looking to join a band near you, it’s good to be aware of these things. There’s a good chance you’ve heard some of the tracks I’m going to talk about, and hopefully, you’ll pick up on some things that you may have never noticed before. Ideally, it’ll help you to become a better songwriter and maybe join a band later on.
1. “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot
No chorus – just a catchy musical refrain that crops up after every verse. The lyrics of “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” present in no less than seven long-winded stanzas that collectively read like an epic poem. Against seemingly impossible odds, this song is actually really catchy and exemplifies a simple yet daring approach to structure.
2. “Hunger Strike” by Temple of the Dog
I mentioned this track in my previous piece which, if you recall, pointed out how it virtually just repeats a chorus over and over again for four minutes straight (sort of the “anti-Edmund Fitzgerald” formula). The melody/riff doesn’t really change much either. Really, it manages to harvest the bulk of its appeal through the dueling vocal exhibitions of Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell (it also doesn’t hurt that they’re two of the greatest singers to ever exist). Otherwise, “Hunger Strike” builds something massive out of pretty rudimentary counterparts.
3. “Best of You” by Foo Fighters
It’s hard to find a band more charmingly explosive in their sound than Foo Fighters (RIP Taylor Hawkins). I think “Best of You” encompasses everything they are pretty much to a T. It kicks off heavy, bold, but relatively stripped down with Dave Grohl’s eruptive vocal prelude coupled with a singular guitar before the rest of the band joins in. Pay attention to how cohesively it rises, falls, then rises again with several tactfully placed “stops” here and there. Really, you can listen to any Foo Fighters song and find numerous examples of great song structure. Much of it resides in the nuances and smaller details, but their sum makes for a whole arsenal of unique song structure.
And by that, I mean anything and everything Prince. His royal moniker is well-deserved, as he really is the Prince of all music and melody in my opinion. It’s hard to put a finger on a more bold, innovative, and overall talented artist than the late “Purple Rain” mogul and if you take ample time to explore his near endless roster of songs, you’re bound to get a profound and renewed sense of song structure.