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This week's challenge was to write an empowering song, incorporating the lyric: "kiss the flame."
Brian was the hook challenge winner with his song, and I think made a big mistake passing on Nick. Nick is a strong contributor, and able to put his personal feelings aside in a co-write. But I guess Brian and Jes held a grudge against him, and I think they suffered for it in the writing session. Brian definitely felt the pressure to write a good track and left Jes to write lyrics alone. A banging track is great, but if the content is lame, it won't save a song. In this case, the track wasn't banging -- and it didn't end up being Pink-esque. I liked that they used her as a focus to write with, but the track fell short of its goal, had no edge, and it felt sort of light, especially when paired with lyrics that just didn't have any edge or grit.
This was a topic that both Brian and Jes felt strongly about. Both had terrible personal tragedies that they wanted to write about and heal. Those songs work very well, just think of most of Pink's songs, including one of her latest, "F--ing Perfect." The difference is her lyrics hit hard and say the truth on secrets people keep, and while Jes did try to be more poetic and metaphoric, it managed to not say a lot. It did not hit you in the guts and make you feel like a burden had been lifted by the end of it. So far, I think Brian is a better lyricist than Jes, and I was surprised he left it all to her. If they had teamed up, I feel it would have gone better. Instead they ended up with a watered down track and an angst-lite lyric. It was pleasant to listen to, but just not a smash.
Scotty's team kind of won -- though in my opinion, they got the title wrong. It should have been "Reign Over Me". . . but the melody was hooky and I was proud Nick stood up for that melody. It was funny to see Scotty's look when we said he won. Sometimes it's hard to know what you wrote is good or not. I have written songs -- even a hit like "You Were Meant For Me," and thought it was the dumbest song I ever committed to page. Sometimes our instincts are right on, and sometimes we are hard on ourselves and unable to see what's good. It's a funny damn job.
Nick deserved the prize in Spin Magazine -- and I look forward to reading what jewels of wisdom he drops in print. Go Nick!
We are getting close to the end, and I feel the writers have come a long way in learning how to be more commercial and write for other artists. We still have a ways to go, but I’m proud of them.
As always, follow me on Twitter (@jeweljk), and ask questions or voice your disagreements -- it's art after all and so subjective. . .