2017 Winter Lyric Contest Winners

Thanks to Lyric Contest Director, Gene Schillaci

SEMIFINALIST
Close Your Eyes by Michelle Gonzalez, N. Hollywood, CA
Heartbreaker’s Waltz by John Friday, Bonita Springs, FL
Second or Two by Michelle Gonzalez, N. Hollywood, CA
Its Gonna Be by Kimila Lewis, Evansville, IN
Heading Home by John Friday, Bonita Springs, FL
Love Doctor  Jae Oates, McKinney, TX

WINNERS:
1st Place
Close your Eyes © Michelle Gonzalez N. Hollywood, CA
The lines of this one are  a bit short and taut in the verse.  But I believe it makes for a nice meter that gets the message across.  The Chorus and Title “Close Your Eyes” makes perfect sense to me after reading the verses, and I like how you are saying “Imagine a different world, a better world” without actually having to put it in the lyrics, it is very obvious.  Then the lyric “Divided we Fall, United we Rise” takes an old, shopworn, cliched line from an old song(Divided we Fall, United we Stand), and puts a nice twist on it.  I like the surprise that it isn’t a cliche, but a fresh way of looking at it.  I really like the Chorus a lot, better than the verses, but I still believe a re-write even of a line or two of the Chorus would crystallize the message a little better.   I really like the title and the Chorus, I think that is powerful in delivering the message of the song.  

Verse 1
What’s the world coming to?
Brother I’m here for you.
When are we gonna see
We are the same family?
Hold my hand in yours
It’s time we explore
What makes us alike –
Return childlike
VERSE 2
(stark reality)
Brutality – out of control
This crazy hate – takes a toll
hurts me deep within my soul
Tell me when my colored skin
Won’t be perceived as a crime or sin.
Take your words, so powerful
Heal us now – That is the goal.
Actions speak the highest truth –
What kind of message do we teach the youth?
CHORUS (1:50)
Close your eyes
Can you dream with me?
Close your eyes
Dream Our Destiny…
We will rise up
Live True in brotherhood
Divided we fall,
United we rise.
So close your eyes…
Come dream with me.

2nd Place
Heartbreaker’s Waltz  by John Friday, Bonita Springs, FL
There are about a million songs written about couples “laughin’ on the outside, cryin’ on the inside”, but I still warmed to this lyric.  “The fire went out long ago, but the embers have reduced mostly to ash” takes an old theme and makes it fresh again.  I can relate to the couple being “desperately lonesome together”, going thru the motions together and waiting for the music to fade.  One thing I would like to see in the verses is a little more detail about what drove these two apart, what were the dreams that are now “just old dusty things on a shelf”.

She smiles and slips into my arms
As the band starts a slow-dancing song
Everyone says we look so happy together
Only we know that they’re wrong

The fire went out long ago
And the embers have mostly reduced into ash
Our love’s lying fallow on old hollow dreams of the past

And I’m dancing with her in the moonlight
And we’re doing the Heartbreaker’s Waltz
We belong to each other
But each loves another
Hoping that no one around us discovers
That we’re desperately lonesome together
And we’re doing the Heartbreaker’s Waltz

Our dreams are just old dusty things on the shelf
The shine has all rusted away
Our lives so entwined, we lost sight of ourselves
Until there was naught left to say

We can’t live together, but we can’t live apart
So we keep up this mummer’s charade
We go through the motions and wait for the music to fade

And I’m dancing with her in the moonlight
And we’re doing the Heartbreaker’s Waltz
We belong to each other
But each loves another
Hoping that no one around us discovers
That we’re desperately lonesome together
And we’re doing the Heartbreaker’s Waltz

Yes, we’re desperately lonesome together
And we’re doing the Heartbreaker’s Waltz

3rd Place
Second or Two  © Michelle Gonzalez, N. Hollywood, CA
I put this song as high as I do because of its potential, which is as high as any lyric entered in this contest, and I see it as the one that is most in need of a re-write.  As someone who commutes via DART train to and from work everyday, this one really GRABBED me, and I’ve never heard a song that deals with the issue of everyone in our Smart Phone culture gaming, texting, facebooking, or surfing the way this one does.  EVERYONE on the train seems to have those little ear-buds in the ears, eyes glued to the phone, in their own digital world, but I’ve never until now seen a song about it.  And I like some things about this song “nothing real comes between” is a good way to grab the listener’s attention.  I would like to see some more specificity in the lyrics, especially the verse, focusing on what they are doing, gaming, texting, or facebooking.  Maybe a mention of the model of cell phone or a generic way of referencing the lingo of smart phones would help the song along.
I am also not that big a fan of the title of the song ” Second or Two”.  While it might be workable, it also might be improved by having the title (and hook) reference the culture of being lost in digital Smart Phone fog in some way. “Second or Two” doesn’t really address the cultural phenomenon you are referencing.
In addition, “I’m screaming for you” might be more effective if it was something about a yearning heart, or that you long to hold the person.
I really feel this one is a diamond in the rough, I LOVE the concept of the song, but I believe it could really shine so much brighter with a good rewrite or two.

VERSE 1
Eyes glued to a screen
Nothing real comes between
Everyone I see
Passing by on the streets
Ask Why…. don’t you look at me…?
Put it Down look up
That could be enough
Put it Down look up
We’ll get lit up up,
When you look up
CHORUS
Even if it’s just for a second or two (2x)
Come inside my world
Eye to eye take it in,
If the world’s a pearl
really see it, oh baby feel it…
for a second or two…
Even if it’s just …for a second or two
VERSE 2
I wanna connect…
In realtime . you’ll feel my effect…
Cyber time won’t give
You the warmth of my breath…
Let’s be real…
- what do you expect…?
BRIDGE
Don’t you see… How we’ve been
Hypnotized by a screen
But I’m screaming for you
Oh I’ll show you the Truth…
So take my hand
Let’s feel alive…
baby
GO take a chance
So we can live this life….

HONORABLE MENTION:
Heading Home © John Friday, Bonita Springs, FL
— I like the imagery in this lyric, from the Christmas in Aspen, to the red dirt of the Gulf Coast home of Texas, to the finger lakes of Maine, the piedmont of Virginia in the fall.  But I really wasn’t clear what the song was really saying or WHY the singer loves Texas or home so much.  What do they really hold dear about it?  Is it family?  A loved one?
I believe that reworking the song to provide some specifics about what is loved about their Gulf Coast home.  It also might help the song to explain why the singer has to travel to these other places, are they doing it for work, or is it because of a lost love set them on the road?  Setting more clarity about some of these things would make the song really beautiful, with the imagery and description of other places that is already present.

I spent Christmas up in Aspen
In the Colorado snow
In the mountains all my troubles seemed
To drift away below
The crisp air of the Rockies
Always clears my head a while
Time spent in those snow-capped peaks
Can’t help but make me smile

But now I’m heading home again
I feel the wind is getting warmer
As I cruise along this mountain road
With the pine trees flying by
I know the road keeps getting shorter
Can hardly wait to see my Gulf Coast home

I spent a week in Texas
Really love that Red Dirt style
Steel pan with a steel guitar
Sure makes a crowd go wild
From the dust of Amarillo
To the Rose of San Antone
Kemah down to Corpus
Makes me glad I get to roam

But now I’m heading home again
I feel the wind is getting warmer
As I cruise on this hill country road
With the mesquite flying by
I know the road keeps getting shorter
Can hardly wait to see my Gulf Coast home

BRIDGE:
On the coast of Maine
Or in the Finger Lakes
The piedmont of Virginia in the fall
The dunes of Carolina
Or the hills of Tennessee
It’d be a lie to tell you
That I don’t love them all

But now I’m heading home again
I feel the wind is getting warmer
As I cruise along this East Coast road
With the live oaks flying by
I know the road keeps getting shorter
Can hardly wait to see my Gulf Coast home

Yes, I’m heading home again
I feel the water’s getting warmer
As I cruise along this coastal road
With the palm trees flying by
I know the road keeps getting shorter
And I can’t wait to see my Gulf Coast home

I really love to see my Gulf Coast home

HONORABLE MENTION:
Love Doctor © Jae Oates, McKinney, TX
This song plays on a theme that has been explored before for hit songs, but I find some things to really like in this one.  The first line, “Just because forever is promised you, doesn’t mean forever will come pay its due” — is a good one, and gets right to the point, clever, and fits the rhyme scheme.  Some of the other lines are not quite as good, and I think it would benefit from a re-write. For example,   I like the line about “Now you’ve diagnosed love as lost…” but if the singer is the Love Doctor, shouldn’t THEY be the ones diagnosing the lost love?  I think it would benefit from more use of “Doctor” terminology, although you need to be careful to avoid stuff that has been used in songs like  Ashford and Simpson’s “I Don’t Need no Doctor” or Kiss ‘  “Dr Love”.
I like the meter of the song, and the Hook really jumps off the page at me,even without any music. Judging  from the way the Hook is written, I feel like it might really rock my socks off with music to it.  Even though there are quite a few songs that have the same theme(see your latest Dr Pepper commercial!), in my opinion, there is enough good stuff there to make it worth the effort to polish it.

Love Doctor
Just because forever is promised to you,
doesn’t mean forever will come pay its due
Good memories fading,
your love’s escaping
and now forever seems like a story too
You shy away love trying to hide your scars
But you just need someone that can heal ya heart
I can see ya love tainted
You barely can make it,
I’m just trying save what is left of you
Pre-chorus
Leaves fall down and the seasons change
When your hearts bleeds love I can ease the pain
When it’s cold outside and your world’s a blur
You can always remember these words
Chorus
Whenever ya down, down, down (echo)
I’ll be ya fixin, let me be your prescription
So whenever ya down, down, down
I’ll be on-call girl
Let me be your love doctor, yea yea (Repeat (yea)
Verse 2
You’ve been searching for a real love
But only come to find what your heart’s made of
Laying down your heart for disguised driven lust
Then picking up the pieces when your hearts being crushed
Now you’ve diagnosed love as lost
but I’m telling you there’s a hope and a cause
I can be the healing that your hearts yearning for
Take away the cancer and replace it with my love
Pre-chorus
Chorus

HONORABLE MENTION:
Its Gonna Be © Kimila Lewis, Evansville, IN
I like the song’s theme of acceptance, and I liked a good portion of the verses, which paint the sad picture of mom’s reluctant divorce of a “man born to stray”.   The chorus is very different, almost Zen-like.  “People ain’t what People ain’t”.  It is appealing in a way, but I can’t help but think that it would be better if it could be re-stated in a better way.   I like the line, “Trust what it is, well, it just is” but I think the first line of the chorus could be stronger. Its almost like “Que Sera Sera(Whatever will be, will be)” but is needs a clearer more focused chorus.  I like the promise that the song shows, though.