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A Place of Truth

Kara explains what makes a great song and selects her favorite lyrics from this episode.

How about the drama this week? Who knew all that was going on. Johnny and Jes! Sounds like a good title for a doo-wop song.

I can remember the first sleazy hotel I pulled into when I first started going to Los Angeles to write songs. I thought I would just wing it and find a room after my session. I of course ended up on Hollywood Boulevard at one in the morning, desperate for a hotel where I could grab a few hours of sleep. When I finally got to my room, I was scared to fall asleep and kept waking up to check if my car was still outside...the things you'll do for your dream. I had to laugh when the show decided to give the contestants a dose of the reality of a songwriter in search of hits; nights in crap hotels seem to be a rite of passage. The contestants were definitely good sports and overall did a great job with this week's challenge. 

I thought the contestants really started to inject their personal experiences into their songs, and that is the key to writing great songs. The best songs, which I call copyrights, are not just a bunch of words and melodies thrown together because they seem to fit. Songs are not a random occurrence. They should be coming from a place of truth, but still be relatable to the masses.

I thought Jackie's hook was really headed in the right direction, but the verses her team came up with needed to be stronger and that contributed to the song feeling more like music for a Hallmark commercial (which by the way, ain't a bad thing, but just not the goal here).

I thought Johnny and Jes' teams both had songs that felt like they were written from an artist's perspective. They felt universal yet unique to their experiences at the same time. Jes's melodies were breathtaking and Johnny's lyrics and musical changes showed a musicality we had not seen on the show until this week.

I loved the debate that surfaced this week over what is more important -- melody or lyrics. Songwriters I know always debate this issue. I have come to believe they are both equally important.

Best lines of the week:

Johnny - "I'll let these tire tracks talk dirt behind my back."

Sonyae -"The only compass that I got is the beating of my own heart."

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