One of the biggest “ailments” I see when I mentor songwriters is that they are writing WAY too many ballads. It seems like many of us default to slow songs. While a well written ballad can be very successful and meaningful, there are also many reasons it is NOT a great idea to write a lot of ballads if you are chasing that first cut. Here are some of the biggest reasons.
The ratio of songs with more tempo to ballads on any given album is usually 10 to 1 or 2. There are WAY more songs with tempo on an album than there are ballads. That makes those slots on the record even harder to get. Writing songs with tempo at least gives you more shots at being on a record.
I don’t recommend that anyone stop writing ballads, but I do encourage everyone who is chasing that first cut to play the odds and give themselves a better chance of success by writing more songs with tempo than ballads. In fact, that 10:1 ratio is probably a good one here. If you want to give yourself the best shot possible, write a lot of mid-tempo songs with cool grooves and a good number of true up-tempo songs as well.