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Learn the art, craft & business of songwriting from hit songwriter, Brent Baxter!

The Frettie Journal
A collection of interviews, updates, tips and resources for songwriters.

Every cliche’ lyric is a missed opportunity.

Tips & Resources by Brent Baxter, Pro Songwriter on March 28, 2018

Every time you use a cliche' in your song, you miss an opportunity to do something great.

Cliche's get used so much because the’re so easy. They are the first things that come to mind when we want to communicate certain things.

For example, it’s a lot easier to just say we’re “raising hell” or “painting the town” than it is to dig deeper and say “we’re filling Friday night full of empty cans” or “trying to make the Bar-hopper’s Hall of Fame.”

The cliche' gives the listener information, but it’s forgettable because the listener has heard it a thousand times. There’s no emotion left in it. (Unless you somehow set up the cliche' in a way that makes it fresh.)

When you go beyond the cliche', you have a chance to wow the listener with something they haven’t heard before.

A great example of this is "Summertime," recorded by Kenny Chesney and written by Craig Wiseman and Steve McEwen. It’s about being young in the summertime, and there’s a part in the chorus where they reference driving around.

Young + summertime + driving = radio up + window down. Right? Yes, and that’s why it’s a worn out cliche'. Sure, it’s true- we’ve all lived that line many times. But there’s nothing memorable or “wow” about it.

Instead, these hit writers reference a Yoohoo bottle on the floorboard. So much better!

It’s believable- I can totally picture young guys leaving a Yoohoo on the floorboard.

It’s fresh- I’ve never “seen” that image in a song before.

Bonus: It provides a fun melodic moment when Chesney sings, “Yoohoo!”

The writers took a cliche moment and made it a hit moment. It’s our job to do the same.

What do you think? What’s your take on this topic? I’d love to hear your comments. And if there are other examples where the songwriter make a cliche' moment into a hit moment, share those in the comments, too!

Knowing simple things like this is how you write stronger songs- and market-smart songs (songs that have a competitive advantage in the market).  If you want to learn more about how to write like that, I have a killer opportunity for you.

Every Monday night in April, I'm hosting The C4 Experience, or C4X.  It's an exclusive, live online event where I help 10 writers like YOU create explosive growth in your commercial songwriting.  I want you to win, and I'm going to help you write songs that artists want to sing, radio wants to play and fans want to hear. But you must hurry - THE DEADLINE TO JOIN C4X IS TOMORROW!

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God bless,


PS- Thanks for stopping by Frettie! I appreciate it. As a matter of fact, I want to give you a special little something just for your visit. It's my FREE ebook "Think Like A Pro Songwriter," and it reveals valuable I-learned-it-the-hard-way-so-you-don't-have-to tips to help you succeed at the art, craft and business of songwriting. You can download it at

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