Songwriting does not exist in a vacuum. As songwriters we’re constantly looking to the world for inspiration. We feel things and respond to the world with our music. If we’re having a bad day, we might write a song about spilling coffee on our shirts. Or if your have a good day, your might write a song about the life advice your neighbor gave you while he was watering his lawn. But sometimes songs come to us based off other songs.
An answer song (sometimes called a response song) is a song made responding to a previous artist’s song. Usually as a defense or indictment of the song it is responding to. A famous example is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama,” which was in direct response to the Neil Young’s searing portrait of the south in his song “Alabama”. Or Woody Guthrie’s “This Land of Your Land” as a response to Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”.
Although your answer song does not need to respond to a song. Feel free to write a song in response to a newspaper headline, a bumper sticker, or a piece of junk mail. Get creative.
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