Zia Hassan

A Second Verse And A Bridge

+++ title = “12” date = 2018 +++

Many songwriters know this feeling. You write a great song, and you call it a song even though you still need to write a second verse and a bridge.

And the thing is, the second verse and bridge are infinitely harder to write.

I’ve spent 10 mins on a first verse and chorus before. Any lay person would be fooled into thinking the song was complete. And I’ve then spent years thinking about a second verse and bridge. Never playing the song live or recording it. It just exists when I’m alone with my guitar.

I think it’s because saying something somewhat original is not too hard, and that’s what the first verse and chorus offer. Yes, that’s difficult too sometimes, but not nearly as complicated. Writing a second verse requires an examination of the same idea but with a new take.

And a bridge? Oh you know, just the effort needed to transcend all the lyrics in the rest of the song to tie it all together in a perfectly soul moving opus. This, by the way, is why songs with good bridges just end up being better songs in general.

I’d compare writing the first verse and chorus to laying down the puzzle pieces. Seeing what the larger picture might be and laying down the outer edges.

The second verse (or third, or fourth…) is filling in the gaps. It’s trying pieces until they fit, examining the images on those pieces, making sure there is cohesion in the piece.

And the bridge is figuring out the perfect place to frame and hang the completed puzzle. It’s the life, the soul, the heart because it turns a puzzle from a bunch of interlocking pieces to a profound and complete thought. Yes, you can have a great song without a thoughtful bridge but it won’t be an excellent song.

Sometimes I knock all these steps out in 15 minutes and other times it’s years. I find that the less time I put in between completed songs, the quicker it goes when I do write.

The process is deceivingly hard. But all songwriters forget this the minute their instrument is in their hand, their notebook open for lyrics.

In that moment, it seems easy every time.