When People Say The Song Needs “More Layers”

I came across this post on r/WeAreTheMusicMakers

I love writing out demos/songs, but anytime I show someone my music and ask to collaborate I often get told “there could be more there instrument wise/production wise.”

I’m not sure what people mean by this. Are they talking about little nuances within the track/adding soundscapes and textures? I’m pretty clueless what people mean by this.

u/ebb_and_flow95

My response was as follows:

The reality is that most people are talking out of their asses. Especially if they're wannabe musicians or “critics” on Submithub.

However, strong arrangement is definitely an art that a lot of music seems to lack. MORE is not better. BETTER, more effective arrangement is better. Does your groove feel natural? Do your harmonies and counterpoints accent the melody in a way that's both not distracting, but reinforcing?

Again, how to do this is definitely an artform. It takes a million bad songs/arrangments to get to where it becomes natural. My suggestion is to listen to the greats and don't just listen to the song as a whole (which if it's well arranged, you'll naturally hear the “forest” rather than the “trees.”) Analyze what each part is doing and why it works. How it interacts with the melody, etc.

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