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How We Analyze Songs

The song meanings category is one of the most popular sections on Extra Chill. This makes us very happy because it is a great passion of ours to dive deep into the lyrics of songs. On this page, we explain how we analyze songs, from the selection process to the writing process, along with some common tools and references we employ along the way.

How We Choose Songs to Analyze

Choosing songs to analyze is mostly done according to the tastes, moods, and thoughts of editor Chris Huber. He writes the vast majority of the posts, and he is interested in a wide variety of music. Many of the songs he chooses are famous classics from decades past, heavily focused on the rock genre but he also loves hip-hop, modern songwriters, and country.

The songs must have powerful or otherwise noteworthy lyrics that cause listeners to think about their meaning. Being popular does make a song more likely to be chosen, but we have also covered plenty of hidden gems.

Some of our choices are deeply reflective, and others are more laid-back and humorous. You will also find a whole lot of Grateful Dead, because, well, Chris is a Deadhead.

How We Craft Our Posts

We start with a brief introduction laying the foundation and sharing basic facts about a particular song. This places everything into context.

Then, we cover the backstory of a song, including noteworthy quotes from artists via interviews over the years, or any other information that is relevant to its interpretation.

For the meatiest section of the post, we offer a deep lyrical analysis. Chris has a degree in creative writing and is a poet and writer of fiction himself, so he is especially attuned to analyzing lyrics as poetry. Each verse is broken down, sometimes even with a line-by-line breakdown when relevant.

Finally, we share the song itself, including the music video if applicable, and possibly some live versions and noteworthy covers.

This has been our process since about mid 2022. Some of the earlier song meanings may not have this exact structure, as we experimented with the process for some time.

How We Maintain Accuracy

Every few months, Chris goes back and reviews some older song meaning posts to give them a freshening up. This includes cleaning up the language, adding new links to articles both on Extra Chill and other websites, and generally making the article better.

Sometimes, we get emails or comments from readers who point out inconsistencies or inaccuracies in our analyses. We handle each of these instances with care and do our best to update everything to maintain a high editorial standard.

Common Resources for Analysis

  • Wikipedia
    • Wikipedia is an excellent resource, as everybody knows. Not only does it include base level information, it’s citations are an incredible source of more in-depth knowledge and interviews. This section offers a goldmine for conglomerating a song analysis.
  • Genius
    • Another goldmine for lyrical analysis is Genius, which you have also probably heard of. They basically took the idea of analyzing songs and made it social. Their site offers a line-by-line breakdown of songs with users commenting to cite meanings.
  • Various Music Books
    • Chris is an avid reader, especially about music history. He has found that some books contain information that does not really exist on the internet. Learning things in books and turning them into content ideas and tidbits of information about songs has been a huge driver for Extra Chill.
  • The Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
    • This is more of a niche thing, but each time Chris analyzes a Grateful Dead song, he does so by noting what the Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics say about that song. David Dodd did the world a massive service by compiling these, and they offer a well of incredible knowledge.