28 February 2008 ~ 10 Comments

Be My Simon Cowell

Alright friends, so here’s the deal.

Several weeks ago, for the last day of Re:create, I got to participate in a bonus session at EMI records with some songwriters and publishers.  As part of that workshop, we were all invited to bring an original song of our own that the group, us and one of their producers, would critique.

I have felt a desire to write for years now, but I have had a lot of trouble getting past the whole artist insecurity thing.  The idea of actually sharing something I wrote freaks me out.  A while back I collaborated with a few others to write a song while on a retreat.  Outside of that, nothing much…until recently.  I mentioned it in a Worship Confessional here.

So here’s the deal.  I got some good feedback to improve the song at that workshop.  But I also wanted to go ahead, open myself up, and share it with you, my blogging community,  as well.  Several of you are worship leaders and songwriters and the rest of you are just flat out opinionated.  So I want your critique now.  before I work on the stuff they mentioned, what do you think of it?  How could it be improved?  And don’t worry about hurting my feelings.  Trust me…I’m my own worst critic.  So bring it!  Here’s the story of how the song came about, and embedded below that is the audio file with the lyrics.  Check it out:

We used this past Christmas to do a series on worship as we shared the Christmas story.  We spoke one week about Luke chapter 1 and Mary’s magnificat, her song that she offers up to God in response to his message to her.  We talked about the importance in worship of bringing ourselves and our own talents to God.  As response after the message, during the worship, we invited people to write their own "songs" to God.  To write out their own words and thoughts from their lives.  After a few songs, we brought it down and invited people to share with our community what they had written to God.  It was amazing!

Well I figured that if we were asking people to step out of their comfort zone and share their responses to God, I needed to do the same and write a song for our body (although, I of course didn’t mention I had written it).  So this is the song we sang immediately after sharing with each other what we had written to God.  The verse was kind of inspired by that passage in Luke 1 from The Message.  It’s real simple: a verse and a chorus, with a quick recording in my office.  Here ya go:

HEAR OUR SONGS

Verse
Our souls are bursting with the news of Your good works
Our feet they dance the song of our savior
Your mercy flows in waves and washes over us
The things that you have done, they will not be forgotten

Pre-Chorus
And so we respond to You
We offer You these songs

Chorus
Hear our songs to You God
Receive these offerings from our hearts
We worship You
Hear our songs to You Jesus
This is our offering, oh God

Alright people…
fire away!!

10 Responses to “Be My Simon Cowell”

  1. Anonymous 1 March 2008 at 7:36 pm Permalink

    Hey, Bobby, aren’t you glad I commented, so everyone else had the chance to be constructive in their criticism. I’m no musician, so I don’t know all those technical terms, but I think what everyone agrees on is that the chorus needs work. I’m proud that you had the courage to share this with everyone! You rock!
    Love ya,
    Aunt Linda

  2. bobby 29 February 2008 at 3:28 pm Permalink

    Eric-
    Thanks dude. Not gonna lie…it took a lot to actually go ahead and share it. I never think something I do is very good, but what the heck, it’s the first one I’ve really tied. If I wanna encourage to step out of comfort zones, I guess I should do the same, eh?
    And just for the record, while Open the Eyes and Let Everything may be big hits…they were big hit like 10 years ago, so yeah, maybe you could go wrong there. Not really ok. ;)

  3. eric 29 February 2008 at 1:04 pm Permalink

    by the way… it takes some cajones to do what you’re doing… you rock!

  4. eric 29 February 2008 at 1:03 pm Permalink

    I like the way you build through the pre-chorus, but I agree with Jamie; it kind of dies in the chorus… I think one way to work around that is to leave some chords out in the verse… maybe play the E without the walk down. It might change the melody a little, but that could be a good thing. I feel that the verse and chorus need some separation.
    Another thought was to use that push at the end of the pre-chorus as a hook throughout the song… maybe use it in the verse somehow. I think that will get it away from that “open the eyes of my heart” or “Everything that has breath” feel. Although those are humongous hits so you can’t really go wrong there… ;)
    My advice is actually really simple, keep working and keep asking for critiques… Charlie Hall shared how he worked on one of his hit songs for 5 years! That gave me confidence to write and re-write and re-write all of my stuff.

  5. bobby 29 February 2008 at 10:57 am Permalink

    Awesome stuff. Thanks for sharing y’all.
    Actually, the stuff you’re saying is pretty much what came out of the critique time too. What Jamie said kinda summed it up well. Seemed like the chorus didn’t quite take off enough. I think I’ll play with it some and post another version later and see if y’all think it’s an improvement or not.
    Keep em comin though! Any other thoughts?

  6. Jamie Petersen 29 February 2008 at 10:35 am Permalink

    First, let me say that I miss hearing you lead worship :)
    I am no songwriter, but here’s my humble opinion. I like the words, and I always love a good pre-chorus (which you have). However, I felt like the melody in the chorus should be higher (at least on lines 1 and 4). The pre-chorus builds it well, but then it feels kind-of lateral from there on out, with the notes in the verse and chorus in the same “zone”. I would lower the verse melody or, ideally, bump up the chorus. :)

  7. Keith 29 February 2008 at 9:51 am Permalink

    Hey-
    I like the song a lot, but would make a recommendation of either expanding the chorus or as your Aunt Linda said changing the music a little. The Chorus builds through the “offering to God” and it has a good response to that line and then you sing the line of “offering to Jesus” and it goes to a transition point with no response (for lack of a better word)to the Jesus portion. Just a recommendation- sounds good and I like the words you use in the verse and 99% of the chorus- just would add a little to the chorus as it feels like it builds and you start to get excitment and momentum and then you’re back to the verse and loose them.
    Love ya man!
    Keith

  8. Anonymous 28 February 2008 at 7:34 pm Permalink

    OK, Bobby, the last comment was mine. Don’t want you blaming your Mom. Didn’t get to put my user name.
    Love ya,
    Aunt Linda

  9. Anonymous 28 February 2008 at 7:32 pm Permalink

    Ok, I liked the verse, and pre-chorus, but wasn’t in love with the chorus. I don’t think I cared for the music that went with it. Just my humble opinion, but, hey, I haven’t even picked the right people that are going to be kicked off American Idol, so maybe, it’s my ear!!! Tone Deaf???
    Love ya

  10. Billy Chia 28 February 2008 at 3:53 pm Permalink

    Bobby,
    Rock on!
    I love the 3rd person plural – it would’ve been easy to sing “hear my song” and I like the present nature of the song that you are singing about what’s happening right now.
    I wonder about dropping the “they”
    Like:
    “The things that you have done will not be forgotten”
    with the “they” it feels like a lot to spit out.


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