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July 10, 2019

Simplicity - NSAI feedback

Simplicity is one of the first songs I wrote. I've been dragging it around for decades (literally) knowing that it's weird and not likely to mean anything to anyone apart from me and a few very close friends who love it. Funny thing is that it always goes over well at shows, so I threw it into the mix for this. Here's the version I submitted, as distributed to YouTube via CDBaby:

I put it in the Americana/Folk category and asked for to to be assessed as a commercial song. Here's what the assessor had to say:


Song Title - Simplicity

Evaluators Comments -
EVALUATORS OPENING: Hello, its Evaluator #XXXXX and thank you for having NSAI
and myself be a small part of your writing career. Please understand that
what I am about to lay out are merely suggestions to help improve your
writing and make your song and your future songs as strong as they can
possibly be to compete in todays competitive market. Lets get started!!

FORM/STRUCTURE: Im very confused with your structure. I dont know what this
is supposed to be. I see a V-V-C and then more chorus-like sections. Not
the most effective way to set up a song. Think more V-V-C-V-C type approach.
For a moment I thought you were writing an AABA type song but clearly thats
not the case either. Overall a 5 minute song is way to long for todays
market. The only other thought is that you dont hit your chorus till past
the 2 minute mark. Thats a long wait for a chorus.

TITLE/HOOK: The title is ok but its only heard through in only one chorus.
Hard to really know that thats the TITLE of the song.

LYRIC: I have no idea what this song is about. Im not really seeing the main
point of this lyric and not seeing a strong main point setup line to your
title. Again having completely different lyric in the other choruses, makes
it really hard to see what the main point takeaway is for the listener. I
would try and dial that in better and give your title more prominence.
Lastly, try a less poetic approach. Poetic lyric just is not all that
current. Try and keep it more conversational.

MELODY/METER: The melody fits the lyric well.

OVERALL THEME/IDEA: I think the idea needs further developing. I just dont
know what its supposed to be about at this time.

CLOSING COMMENTS: Always feel free to grab a second opinion. I hope you find
this helpful and wish you the best with your writing.


OK, so clearly this is not meant to be a commercial song in the NSAI mold. Still, there's some positives in this feedback and a few tips that I will try to accommodate to make it better as far as other people are concerned. Let's go through this point-by-point:

The structure of this one has always been wierd. I'm OK with that. If Stairway to Heaven can be a hit, then this structure works for me. It's structured that way for a reason and people who get it, get it.

Good point about the title missing in action. Might do something about this one. It could use more clarity.

Yeah - it's unique and confusing unless you've been there and you get it - but so is Stairway to Heaven. I know what this song means and peple who have taken my journey know what is means and love it. I'm OK with Nashville songwriters not getting it. I'm not trying to be "current" with this one. As with all of this feedback so far, I will try to get more clarity into the lyric.

Great to know that the melody fits the lyric well. I've agonised over this one at that point. Another good reason not to tinker with the lyric too much.

In summary: OK, so it seems that this is not the kind of song that is appropriate for the NSAI mode of commercial songwriting. I'm ok with that because not every song is - and this one is special to me. Good to be put back in my box about why I am doing this and what is appropriate to this audience. I'll re-write it in small ways but I think I'm just gonna produce this one for myself and put it out there as I hear it. THANK YOU NSAI!

What do you think? How would you feel about this feedback and what would you do about it?

Posted by Hughie at July 10, 2019 8:14 AM

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