American Songwriter Judges Offer Insights Into Judging the 2023 March/April Lyric Contest Winners

In response to feedback from the American Songwriter Community, the esteemed contest judges were asked to share some insights into their winner selections. Read below for insights into how the panel of judges picked the winners for the January/February Lyric Contest.

1st Place – “Christine” by Lacy Green

Dave Bassett – “Christine” – This lyric was a sleeper for me. Originally not even in my top 5, but I kept coming back to it. It is incredibly haunting in its truth and I love how much it accomplishes with such a spare amount of words. The story is clear and powerful in its progression from verse to verse without much unnecessary clutter. I love how the chorus summarizes with the lines Now the whole world is weighing in / On the weight that she’s carrying means so much figuratively and literally. So powerful. And then I love the bridge/outro rant with all of the clever juxtapositions and detail and irony. Just a very powerful current smart poignant lyrics.

Judy Stakee – “Christine” – I found this lyric haunting and gut-wrenching. The line Nobody’s listening to Christine paints such a vivid picture and is a very strong hook.

See Lyrics HERE.

2nd Place – “Sky Without Stars” by David Taub

Judy Stakee – “Sky Without Stars” – I found the story flawless. This is a delicate subject to write about and from someone who has gone through this, you captured the feeling of grief beautifully. I was also impressed that each section rhymed!

Pam Sheyne – “Sky Without Stars” – If you’ve ever dealt with deep loss in your life, this song cuts to the core emotionally.  I love how conversational this lyric is and how tragically honest and descriptive it is.  Great use of metaphor and wordplay.

See Lyrics HERE.

Since 1984, American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters get noticed and have fun. Enter the 2023 Lyric Contest today before the deadline:

3rd Place – “The Old Yellow Chaise Lounge” by Peter Sheardy

Sharon Vaughn – A charming and alarming portrait of what happens to all things, to us, given enough time and wear.

Lance Carpenter – In just a few lines the writer managed to make me see, understand, and care about an old yellow chair. The descriptions of how it lived were very well written and many lines produced images in my head that no fought differ from probably every reader and that is something not every song can do. 

Pam Sheyne – “The Old Yellow Chaise Lounge” – Love this story of the life of a chair!  The writer/s gave us such great insight into the life it lived with these humans who happened to occupy its space.  Very visual and clever lyric with a great human connection. The timeline of the Chaise’s life and story was so well balanced with details, imagery, and emotion that I was right there sitting on it.

See Lyrics HERE.

4th Place – “Fools Form of Torture” by Jessie Che

 Sharon Vaughn – “Fools Form of Torture” – Great storytelling. One doesn’t know if there will be suicide or redemption.

Dave Bassett – “Fools Form of Torture” – This lyric paints a totally original picture. The imagery of the lipstick-stained cigarettes has been used a million times but never like this. To save the butts and relight to rekindle the memory and compare it to a kiss is so great. The chorus pays off, even more, this imagery with the lines, N’ he burns his fingers, but he doesn’t care / He’ll hold onto to anything / to prove she once was there. It’s literal burning when in most songs it’s metaphorical burning. And the butts DO prove that she was there. All of the narrator’s actions are both foolish and torture paying off the title and line but giving a real picture of his suffering and sadness. A truly original and clever lyric.

Adam James – “Fools Form Of Torture” – “Opening lines are crucial to me, and opening with Diggin’ thru ash for the least burnt cigarettes/ Finding ones ain’t quite done yet did a great job of setting the scene”

See Lyrics HERE.

Since 1984, American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters get noticed and have fun. Enter the 2023 Lyric Contest today before the deadline:

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A Q&A With March/April 2023 Lyric Contest Winner Lacy Green