I've always had an "addiction" to words. For as long as I can remember, I've had a passion for using words in music or writing & making the audience FEEL something. I love being able to let them paint a picture in their mind. Each person has a unique way of creating a story in their mind, so seeing how individuals find their own story within a song is one of the best things in the world to me as a writer.
For me, there are certain songs (as well as a few albums) that do this for my brain. These are the songs that I go back to continually when I want to better my songwriting. I listen to these songs because they are honest, raw & paint a picture in my mind like very few songs can. I'll be honest: there's a little over 30 songs I this list. I knew that the average person wouldn't read a list that long, so I've broken it up into smaller lists, no particular order. The good thing? Y'all get four weeks of these posts to look at & discover new music with! So below, I have made a list of some of those songs. I have also added them into a Spotify playlist for y'all to listen if you want! The link to that will be at the bottom of this post.
Identity Crisis by Emily Weisband
Emily Weisband is one of my favorite writers, hands down. She is one of the most honest & vulnerable writers that I have ever heard of. I discovered her first when she was writing for other artists, but then she decided to release music on her own. It shows a completely different side of her than what she writes for others, but it's raw & GOOD. The chorus of "Healthy" is so honest & to me is the epitome of growing up:
"It's just too healthy and healthy means growing up and growing up is just too scary and steady- ain’t old enough or bold enough. I know it's petty, petty, but I ain’t ready, ready to be loved the way I know that you would love me. It's just too healthy. It's just too healthy."
This EP is her first full release as an artist & it shows each aspect that every 20-something-year-old experiences: love, sadness, regret & most of all- confusion. Your 20s are a time of discovering who you are as a young adult; Emily encapsulates that all in 7 songs.
** "Healthy" writers: Delacey, Emily Weisband, Kyle Shearer
"We Got It Right" & "Some People Do" by Old Dominion Writers: Matthew Ramsey, Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally ("We Got It Right"); Jesse Frasure, Matthew Ramsey, Shane McAnally, Thomas Rhett ("Some People Do")
Along with Brothers Osborne, I REALLY got into Old Dominion in 2019. I honestly don't know how I had been passing them up for so long! Anyways, once I started digging into all of their catalog, I came across two songs by them: "We Got It Right" from the Meat & Candy album & "Some People Do" from their latest self-titled record.
"We Got It Right" closes out their debut album. The song sends a message to their ex saying "even though we aren't together anymore, we got what time we did have together right. We spent it the best we could & now we have good memories of each other." My favorite picture they show in this song is in the second verse. The lines say,
"And now you got someone else
And I got mine
Neither one of 'em knows that every time
They play 'Meet Virginia'
I'm on your mind
And you're on mine."
This song shows that even if you aren't with that person anymore, you can still appreciate what once was & see the good in the memories instead of the bitter.
"Some People Do" is a beautiful song. I'm going to be honest: I wasn't a fan of it when it first came out. Compared to the other "pre-album release single releases," this one was the slowest, which made it the most boring to me on a first listen. However, once I looked at the lyrics & starting digging into them more, I realized what all the hype for this song was about.
My favorite line in the song says, "I know you're hurt, I know it's my fault. But I've kept 'I'm sorry' locked in a vault." The whole song is about asking for someone to forgive you for what you've done to hurt them, but all the lines strung together create one masterpiece of an apology.
"Forgive You" by Leon Bridges Writers: Eric Frederic, Justin Tranter, Nate Mercereau, Todd Bridges
Leon. Bridges. HOLY HECK. I discovered this song Spring 2019 & immediately added it to a playlist. Then, after a month or so of listening to it, I started relating to it more & more. The line "When we are good we're great, but I couldn't keep carrying all this weight" is my favorite. The toxic relationship in this song to me shows the pushing & pulling too much for one of the people in the relationship. That one line is his breaking point. I think this song is relatable to anyone who stays in a relationship (or friendship) longer than they need to.
"I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt Writers: Aleen Shamblin, Michael Reid
This song goes under the ultimate "songs-I-wish-I-had-written-but-I-didn't-so-I-guess-I'll-just-go-cry-about-it" list. My favorite line in the song is "You can't make your heart feel something it won't." In my opinion, this song is one of the trailblazers in the "gut wrenching heartbreak" song category. I think this song was the launching pad for all other songs in this category. Honestly, just go listen to this song & you'll hear exactly what I'm talking about. It's just too good to try to explain perfectly.
"To Hell & Back" by Maren Morris Writers: Jessie Jo Dillon, Laura Veltz, Maren Morris
This record in general is astounding. It's great at capturing every feeling of who the record is named after: a GIRL. I had listened to the record a lot since it was released last year, but I seemed to skip over "To Hell & Back" until I heard Maren sing it live in November. "You didn't save me- you didn't think I needed saving. You didn't change me- you didn't think I needed changing" is my favorite part of the song. It snatched me in REAL fast. This man in the song didn't try to change anything about the girl, quirks, flaws & all, because he liked her for HER & embraced all of the girl's qualities.
"Universe" by Taylor Edwards Writers: Taylor Edwards, Johnny Dibb, Nicolle Galyon
Taylor is one of my favorite Nashville artists. Her approach to writing is fresh & relatable, but 100% HER. She released "Universe" in March 2019 & from the moment I heard her play it on the speakers, I was HOOKED. This whole song is an anthem for anyone who has gotten over an ex. In the bridge, it says, "I would have gone to the moon and back for you, but now that's just too far" & it's true; One moment, you would do anything for the person, and the next, it doesn't even phase you. You realize your own self-worth is worth more than overextending yourself to please someone who doesn't care anymore. TE, thanks for releasing this song out into the world. It was my spring ANTHEM.
PS: Y'all need to go check the rest of her music out as well. I just linked my favorite song by her, but she has released a TON of singles this past year & they all add up to one big single. Once you listen, it'll all make sense. (Listen in order of the releases!)
"A Hundred Miles" by Heather Morgan Writers: Paul Moak, Heather Morgan
I didn't discover Heather until these past 6 months or so, but hot DANG I'm so glad I did. This song is one of the best discoveries I had Fall 2019. I found Heather because she sang with Josh Kerr on his song "Oklahoma," so then I looked up her music. This song about needing distance is fantastic. My favorite lines are "Cause I'm needing a whole lot of distance in between you and me... just to stay on the safe side, cause I don't trust my heart tonight" in the chorus & "It's like trying to turn a diamond back into coal. We burned out baby, but oh we burned out bright" in the second verse. The diamond back into coal line is wistful, but brilliant.
"Hey Highway" by Madison Kozak Writers: Emily Landis, Jamie Moore, Madison Kozak
I kept hearing buzz about this girl named Madison Kozak last spring. It wasn't until I heard "Hey Highway" that I understood what all the buzz was about. In the song, the end of the chorus says "If you got a sign with an exit can you send him back in my direction?" The entire song is about her boyfriend leaving, with the highway to blame for both the past & the present. It's like an open letter labeled:
TO: Highway FROM: Madison
This" letter" acts as a break up not only between her & her old love, but also her & the memories the two shared on the highway. The highway gave her those memories, then took them all with the guy when he left. I think the cleverness in this song is my favorite part about it. Who would think to write an open letter to the highway? Oh, that's right. Madison.
So there you have it- part three of the four-part blog series, LYRICS I LOVE. I've attached a link below with all of these songs so you can go listen to them for yourselves. And remember: check back next week for the fourth & final part!