How do you write a throwback tune without it sounding outdated

Listening to old songs can bring back a lot of nostalgia. A melody or lyric, no matter how old it is, can take you back to a time when you first heard the song. How can we achieve that in contemporary music?

Let’s discuss the “throwback song.” A throwback is music that emulates the elements or ideas of an older song. The art of writing a throwback is much more complex than it seems. Many songs have been successful in this regard, but many more that you’ve never heard have failed.

If you copy an old song exactly, you’ll only have an old song. If you create a new song that has hints of a beautiful nostalgia piece, then you have a winner.

How do you go about doing that? Here are some tips on how to write a throwback without sounding outdated.

Melodic themes

It would be best if you looked up the melodic motifs of music from the period you are trying to imitate before you sit down to write a Throwback song. This is crucial to making your song sound contemporary because you will know how and when to use the melodic motifs.

You can achieve the same effect by using a melody from another period in your production.

Themes Rhythmic

When writing your throwback tune, it’s important to know the rhythmic themes that were popular in the period you want to “borrow” from. Both the rhythm of the words sung and the rhythm of the track can tell a lot. Think of the piano lines from the 1960s or the four on the ground from the 1970s. These two rhythmic pieces are excellent era markers.

Bring them into a modern setting to showcase the throwback feel you’re looking for without making them your only focus. Research and make sure you use your elements well.

Hunt for samples

Searching for public domain samples can add a real, authentic vibe to your track.

Create your samples to emulate the samples from throwback music. This is another really cool idea. Make sure that whatever you use is something you have created.

This type of work is best done by using the same techniques as other producers to create samples. You can make a retro sound by distorting a vocal and playing with the sound until you are unable to recognize it. Or, you can use a guitar played backward and manipulated with cool plug-ins.

Tip: Clear all samples before using them! Only public domain songs are exempt from requiring permission or payment for use. Public domain samples do not need a royalty rate, so you won’t be sued or have to pay for them.

The iconic lyrical lines

When recreating throwback songs, lyrical lines are usually ignored. Songs like Anne Marie’s 2002 do a good job of adding a touch of nostalgia by incorporating lyrics and ideas from older songs into a more modern melody, rhythm, and production.

You can add nostalgia to your song by using well-known throwback lyrics. This will make your music sound more modern and get your audience bopping along to the beat.

Don’t waste anything!

Choose one or two of the elements listed above to make your music pop. You’re more than likely to end up with a song that sounds like nothing else we’ve heard for a long time if you use all these tips simultaneously. While this can be a good thing in some cases, it’s not the goal if you don’t want to write a “throwback” song.

Mixing these ideas can lead to some serious success.

If you want to try it out yourself, you can use throwback melodies over a more modern production. Or vice versa! You’ll still have a base of contemporary ideas and get that nostalgic feeling without having to date your records.

We can’t wait for you to show us what you create now that you’ve learned how to write throwback songs and not sound dated. When writing songs, everything should be infused with your style and preferences.

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