Our crack writing department (no jokes please) sat down, examined all the hit-making algorithms out there and streamlined these tenets to illustrate what Onus Records are looking for in a song:
1. Songs should be in a major key with an average of 135 beats per minute. 80% of the Billboard Hot 100 number one singles from 1960-2010 adhered to this formula and 2010 is probably the last time you bought a record also.
2. Songs in a minor key should end with a major chord.
3. All songs should take place is the present tense for more immediacy. Berry Gordy told that to Smokey Robinson upon signing him to Motown. This will insure we won’t have any sucky Bob Seger songs about remembering when he was a teenager.
4. All songs should be under 3:30 for today’s ADD audiences. Yeah, it’s a hard one to follow when you’re doing a slow number. But ask a friend if they thiink you are being over indulgent. Which you probably do on a regular basis anyway if this is a good friend.
5. Every song should have either a cowbell or a slide guitar to insure it appeals to the south.
6. Every bridge should transform the verse that follows it. If you don’t have a bridge, then at least consider a sax solo to keep the boomers interested that they are listening to the “music of the streets.”
7. The melody must be easy to whistle. Burt Bacharach adhered to that idea. If you can’t whistle a melody, you don’t have one.
8. A song can borrow from a pre-existing hit song as long as the borrowing is a blatantly obvious tip of the hat.
9. All songs should have background singers that are obviously not the lead singer. This one isn’t totally necessary. Marvin Gaye did multiple backgrounds all over his own records but if you’ve seen 50 Feet From Stardom, you don’t want to see Darlene Love cleaning other people’s houses again, do you?
10. Autotune must be featured somewhere in the song to insure the inauthenticity that today’s music listeners require.
11. Every song should have one easily recognizable dumb feature to keep things honest. Phil Spector used to ask flunky Sonny Bono “is it dumb enough” whenever playing back a new recording. But you want to stay at just one. You don’t want to overdo it andend up with a song that sounds like The Five Man Electrical Band wrote it. Huhhn!
12. Avoid the words “society,” “fantasy” and “badonkadonk.”
There. We hope we’ve inspired you to MAKE MUSIC NOT MONEY.