"Cynical Girl" by Marshall Crenshaw is two minutes and thirty-six seconds long. The chord progression in the verse is the same as "Blitzkrieg Bop" by the Ramones: I, IV, V, like so:

I'm going out, I'm going out looking for a
A                  D         E

Cynical girl, she's got no use for the
A                   D      E

Real world, I'm looking for a cynical 
A               D             E

A          D          A
A major's a good key. The word "girl" has to be in there somewhere. It's good to say something about cars too, but it's crucial that everything should rhyme and that there be no words not in common colloquial use. You can say "she" as often as you like -- or "he", depending on the singer's preference. Simplicity and clarity is everything. Put claps on the two and the four and screw the guitar solo: Eight bars, maybe, but no more. You don't need a bridge, really. At its simplest:

Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, break, chorus, chorus BANG.

In "Cynical Girl", Crenshaw uses a sensible variation:

Verse, chorus, break, verse, chorus, first half of verse two, repeat last line over fade.

A repeating two-bar riff is fine for the verse. Don't do that for the chorus: The verse motors along and then the chorus takes off. The chorus has to start somewhere and end somewhere else, and above all you don't want to resolve in the middle of the chorus if you can help it, that'll kill the thing dead right there (see "Dead Flowers" by the Stones for that mistake). Repeat or drag out the last line of the chorus while bashing out the V (E major in this case), and resolve to the tonic on the one of the verse.

If you've got a 12-string Rickenbacker handy, for God's sake don't be afraid to use it.

Okay, now do all that, and not one thing more -- but make it something people will hear once and remember for twenty years. That's the hard part.

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