Hello BTS readers! This is the first in a series of playlists called “Songwriters I Love”, where I will be making playlists of multiple songs written or co-written by the same songwriter. The ultimate goal of these playlists is to feature outstanding songwriters while also pointing out how great songwriters can maintain their personal writing voice while simultaneously writing songs that fit a variety of artists.
The first songwriter I will be profiling is Priscilla Renea. She began as a solo artist signed to Capitol Records and released her debut album Jukebox on December 1, 2009 (more info on that below). After that, she found success writing for some of the biggest names in music today. The playlist is a sample of her work that I think sums up her unique voice as a writer.
Mr. Workabee – Priscilla Renea
As mentioned above, Renea was a solo artist signed to Capitol Records and released her album, Jukebox. Jukebox was a really great album full of more than a few interesting songs. This is one of my favorites. It’s a witty, clever and endlessly fun. You can hear some of her trademark snark in this one. Lead single “Dollhouse”, “Lovesick”, “City Love” and album closer “Fixing My Hair” are other highlights to check out from this album as well.
California King Bed – Rihanna
This song was a huge hit for RiRi and was the first really huge hit that Priscilla wrote for another artist. She also sings background vocals on the song, so listen for that as well. This song is evident of everything that makes Renea’s songs hits. It is specific and poetic, yet also emotionally real. That huge chorus doesn’t hurt, either.
Who Says – Selena Gomez & the Scene
Another big hit with an inspirational message told in a very poetic fashion. Rhyming “potential” with “presidential” is brilliant. Also, this song works perfectly within Selena’s vocal range. Good work all around.
Fix a Heart – Demi Lovato
A particularly poignant song considering this song was on Unbroken, her first album out of rehab. This song combines ideological wisdom with some of her best lyrics and a strong melody. Plus, Demi sings the hell out of it.
Timber – Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
Yup. She wrote this. You don’t really need to listen to it again if you don’t want to. I think we all heard a bit too much of this song when it was on the radio. Still, she probably made major bank on this song. The only thing that would have made this better is if she had also written the Pitbull parts.
Promise This by Cheryl Cole
This song is available in the US now and I’m so glad because it is pure fire! I would have advised you to find it on YouTube or hack into your British friend’s Spotify account, but now you can hack into your American friend’s Spotify account and listen to it there too! What else are friends for?
Turn Your Face – Little Mix
This song is totally gorgeous and the girls of Little Mix totally nail it. The song itself is great, but the arrangement and production just bring it to a whole other level. This arrangement is very patient and never rushes the emotional climax, building up to a huge payoff at the end with Perrie wailing at this guy to walk away. Brilliant on every level.
Love Spent – Madonna
She wrote with the Queen. Not Elizabeth, the other queen. This was a great collaboration, because the song pushes sonic and stylistic boundaries in typical Madonna fashion while also being a strong enough song to get the message across.
Popular Song – Mika and Ariana Grande
Anyone who can sample Wicked into a pop song this well is a star in my book. Also check out a pre-superstardom Ariana Grande.
Somethin’ Bad – Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood
The two reigning queens of country put out this great duet that plays to all of their strengths. It is not either of their strongest work, neither is it Renea’s, but there is still a lot of good in this.
Worth It – Fifth Harmony
This song is the bomb! The sax part is absolutely spectacular (gotta love klezmer). A strong contender for the song of the summer.