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Love -- It's the subject of some of the greatest songs ever written. "Maybe I'm Amazed," by Paul McCartney, "At Last," by Etta James, and "A Song for You," by Donny Hathaway (to name a few) all give different commentaries on the most important emotion you can have. Many of the songs I have written have come from falling in love (and out of it, but let's keep it on the positive for purposes of this blog). LOVE is such a powerful and universal experience that it's almost impossible to be a a songwriter and not write about it. The first question I always ask when I walk into a room with someone I am writing with is, "So you got a boyfriend (or girlfriend)?" From that question can come great material for songs. I had high expectations for this challenge. Writing a hit love song is the songwriters' jackpot.
I loved the title "Love Me To Life" and was happy Sonyae was rewarded with immunity for it. So many relationships can love you to death, but a good one can fill you up and make you feel the best you've ever felt. It was a very inspired way of expressing the beauty in a relationship. I hope that viewers are starting to see how her lyrics and song titles really are contemporary and meaningful at the same time. I know in the beginning people were a bit shocked that we rewarded her for "Love It or Hate It," but she has always had a strong point of view with broad appeal. I was beyond impressed with Brian's melancholy melody in the verse and how it helped convey the pain of past hurts. His melody did a great job of setting up a chorus full of hope. And, let's not forget Scotty and his chord choices/voicings. They complemented the melodies perfectly. Brian, Scotty, and Sonyae were really the dream team this week and brought their song to "life."
I was happy to see Nick finally write about something that was personal to him. I have been missing that in his songs. They are well structured and hooky, but at times lack any real heart. When he started to sing the verses to his team's song, I felt (for the first time) some vulnerability from him. That's why when the second verse came around and the focus went to Stephanie and Monique it threw me for a loop. Hearing it today I thought it was an odd choice still.
I was kind of shocked at Johnny's hook for this challenge because I thought he would excel in this week's theme. He is an incredible lyricist with such sensitivity. Maybe the relationship between Johnny and Jes hurt them this week because they wrote about what they were feeling but these feelings were still developing. Maybe neither of them wanted to go too deep about their connection as it was too soon, but the best love songs do just that. . .
I felt for Jes because I have been in sessions before that were with huge artists and I was feeling deathly ill. You just have to make it work. As they say, the show must go on. I love her determination and will. Every successful writer I know has both. While I wasn't a fan of the song, she really showed us how much she wants it.
I was really surprised when Melissa said she didn't have to prove herself or show us what she was great at. Every day you have to show people your skill set whether you are a songwriter or not. And as a songwriter, you are only as good as your last hit. Life is a constant performance. You've got to give your best at every show.
Favorite judge quotes:
Keith: "That was actually a beautiful performance, of a horrible song"
Jewel: "There is a difference between simple and simplistic. . ."