Writing rock: What makes a good rock song?

By Owen Jameson

27 May 2024

What goes into writing rock lyrics? Is it angst? Anger? Drugs? Death? Sex? For Sheffield based band Atakarma, it’s a mixture of things.

Here at Feedback, we spoke to Dan Fox, Lead singer and songwriter and for Atakarma to find out what makes a good rock song.

He said: “Most of it (The first EP) was about hating your job, or without being too political – the government.

“Just kind of, working for the man. Being told to this or told to do that.”

These themes have been discussed in hit songs before; Pink Floyd’s, Have A Cigar comes to mind instantly.

For Atakarma and Dan, writing songs about personal and highly relatable experiences is a good recipe for making a rock song.

‘We just take how we feel and turn it into something you can tap your feet or bang your head to’ Dan told me.

For rock music you can really unleash your anger and put it into your music. Lyrics can be heavy and dark; you can thrash your guitar or pound the drums with real emotion. IF your lyrics are filled with raw emotion, listeners will recognise that and more likely than not feel those same emotions with you throughout the song.

When asked about their most powerful song lyrics Dan mentioned their song Misfits: “Yeah that one’s really powerful, it’s in your face.

“It’s really good in terms of hating something, if you can relate to the lyrics directly or channel your own separate hate into it – yeah it’s just really powerful.”

Anger and hate are appealing emotions for rock music. The two just go together like beer and a kebab.

Appealing to your audience’s emotions is a sure-fire way to stick in their heads.

Having songs that are open to interpretation, gives your audience a chance to make your song their own. When this happens, people can channel their own feelings into your music; those songs tend to stick around for longer in their ears and hearts.

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