Songland showed audiences a whole new side of the music industry: the songwriting process. From original songs to workshopping with the producers to performing final versions, we had insight into every step. And each week, the featured artist recorded their favorite song and released it as a single!
Now that season one is over, let’s take a look at the best (and worst) winning songs from Songland.
11. Leona Lewis – Solo Quiero (Somebody To Love)
When Leona Lewis selected this song, who knew it would be the first of TWO titled “Somebody to Love” on Songland? But that being said, this was an interesting choice. Leona Lewis went into the show saying she wanted something new and different for her and this definitely fit the bill. A single featuring a Latin rapper? I mean, alright. If that’s what she was looking for! It’s a jam but doesn’t exactly showcase Leona’s amazing vocals, which is a missed opportunity. Songwriter Rozee wrote a more fitting song for her originally. To me, this was a case of Ryan Tedder doing too much and losing the emotion and feeling the writer intended for the song. Mainly because it wasn’t even the same song after. But he’s the one who won five times this season, not me! So what do I know?
10. Charlie Puth – “Bad Habit”
I don’t even know where to start with Charlie Puth’s “winning” song, “Bad Habit” by Zach Sorgen. Maybe with the fact that Charlie himself didn’t even record it? That can’t be a good sign. It was hidden by him tweeting that it “should be Zach’s song to put out into the world.” But what did Zach even win then?! Yes, he had a platform to release this song, but “Pill for This” by Sam Derosa charted much higher. That being said, if he had selected that as the winner, it would be a top 5 song this season, without a doubt.
9. Aloe Blacc – “Getting Started”
Aloe Blacc’s episode of Songland was interesting because the song had to fit into the narrative of Hobbs & Shaw, since it would be featured on the soundtrack. That made the options limited for the artist. Though “Getting Started” won, I think Aloe Blacc actually liked Steve Fee’s “Same Blood” better, because he also decided to record that on his own.
8. Old Dominion – “Young”
Written for a Jeep commercial, “Young” was not only a great fit for the ad messaging, but also for Old Dominion. They seemed to resonate with the song and did it justice. I honestly liked the songwriter, Katelyn Tarver, singing it better though. That was the case with a few of these winning songs but it was especially true here. I did love the message and lyrics of “Young,” so that was a win! But it sounds more like a generic song in a commercial than anything…which I guess was the point?
7. Macklemore – “Shadow”
Strangely enough, the Irish vibe isn’t even that out-of-left-field for Macklemore so this somehow works. I mean, he did have a song titled “Irish Celebration” early on in his music career! I love that he had the songwriter, Iro, featured on the track too. This wasn’t a huge standout to me, but I still like the song. I just would’ve been more excited about it in 2012.
6. Meghan Trainor – “Hurt Me”
When you think about songs and songwriters that are perfect for the featured artist, “Hurt Me” written by KOLE for Meghan Trainor is the first one that comes to mind. As soon as KOLE finished her first performance, Meghan couldn’t help but scream. She LOVED it! And once her version was released, it’s easy to see why. “Hurt Me” is right in Meghan’s wheelhouse, with sassy lyrics, a fun beat, and catchy melodies.
5. John Legend – “We Need Love”
From the premiere episode, John Legend’s “We Need Love” was a soft, heart-warming introduction into Songland. The song, written by Tebby Burrows, had a message of love and support, which is so important to hear. It worked perfectly with John’s voice too and fit in with the other music he has released. Shane McAnally changed just enough from the original to make the lyrics and melody work together. This was a master class in what Songland can do for up-and-coming songwriters.
4. will.i.am – “Be Nice”
Of all the hits on Songland season one, this one gets stuck in my head the most. It’s just so dang catchy! Songwriter Adam Friedman did a great job at making a banger and it was perfect with the addition of Snoop Dogg in the Black Eyed Peas version. This entire episode of Songland was amazing too, with will.i.am deciding to record all three songs for the upcoming Black Eyed Peas album. Now that’s a way to make the show worthwhile! Featured artists for season 2, take notes.
3. Kelsea Ballerini – “Better Luck Next Time”
From the second songwriter Darius Coleman started singing in his original performance, hearts melted across the nation. He proved how important it is for a singer-songwriter to sell their song! And that made “Better Luck Next Time” impossible to pass on for Kelsea Ballerini. Moving it to her range made all the difference too, so shout-out to Ryan Tedder for that. Kelsea really gets to show off her range in this song and it’s something different from her usual music. That really made this single stand out.
2. OneRepublic – “Somebody to Love”
The season finale moved Ryan Tedder over to the artist chair to find OneRepublic’s next single. And this one took them all the way to the top of the charts! “Somebody to Love” was a favorite right from the start, with Ryan singing it after hearing it for the first time. You could already tell where the episode was going from there. It’s just that good though! The video of them performing it live at Red Rocks is pretty epic too.
1. Jonas Brothers – “Greenlight”
This was a no-brainer. The Jonas Brothers song, written by Able Heart, made it all the way to #1 on the iTunes charts after all. Plus, it’s just a great song. It’s perfect for the JoBros, especially now that they’re back on the top of their game. With a US tour happening as we speak, the timing couldn’t be better either. Able and mentor/producer Ester Dean really knocked it out of the park here, giving us the best hit we heard all season, hands down.
Now, we only have season 2 of Songland to look forward to! Let’s hope there are plenty more hits with big name artists to come. (And can I just request another boy band now?) If you think you have a song that would be perfect for the second season, the show is now taking entries on their website.