Thursday, December 16, 2010

How to Write a Power Ballad

You know those moments - you hop in the car.  You're at high school prom.  Maybe you're shopping for paint thinner.   Perhaps you are mowing the lawn.  And then it comes on the radio - The Final Countdown from Europe.  What merited such a fantastic treat for your ears?  Dear Neptune!  Fortune has smiled upon you today with a power ballad.  These powerful kinds of songs are a rarity - they are quite difficult to master but they are indeed life changing.  And when your everyday crosses one of these, a smile will be sure to be plastered to your face for the rest of the day.  Hearts tremble.  Knees shake.  Tears quagmulate!  You know the spirit of the Power Ballad has just rocked your soul.

You're converted.  This is your moment - you grasp the guitar neck firmly in your hand and count down with your garage band the final "3, 4!"  But nothing happens.  Are you in a slump?  Are you talentless?  No sir!  Don't let your spirits droop, dear mediocre musician!  This thing they call a "Power Ballad" is indeed a difficult thing to master!  What can you do to write your one-hit wonder?

1) Grow your hair out - we all know those music videos where a long, curly haired guitar man shreds some mean chords and sings his heart out.  Yes indeed, long hair will ensure you of Samson-like abilities on the guitar and unleashing the true passions and yearnings of your heart.  Don't forget to convulse your body as the spirit of rock takes over.

2) Find a mean keyboard player - these guys save the band.  Believe it or not, a lot of those funny Nintendo sounds in the background don't come from the guitar, but the delicious vanilla ivories of the Roland keyboard.  Hook that E-05 into your biggest amp available and let the magic happen - it will indeed "be the wind underneath your wings."

3) Write lyrics that you wouldn't dare repeat in any other circumstance - let's face it.  Men may be brave, but the intimate feelings of a breakup or desire to hold a girl's hand just don't belong in the boxing ring.  Only the truly manliest of men can open their heart and let their emotions soak into their music and therefore the hearts of their listeners.

4) Write something that sounds kind of sad.  And be sure to sing really, really loud at the chorus.  There will be no dry eye within earshot of your masterpiece.

1 comment:

  1. Are you kidding me Ethan?!?!?! This is the coolest, most insightful, hilarious, revolutionary article I've ever read. Please, feed me MORE! When did you start writing this stuff?