Tuesday, May 31, 2005
“We need one more song written by you,” Marcel announced to UTurn during their meeting in the boardroom.
Derrick groaned with exhaustion. “We just finished filming that music video.”
Amanda added in a flat voice, “And don’t forget that photoshoot.”
Derrick asked, “And is our debut album called Introducing UTurn?”
Andrew rolled his eyes. “Is it maybe because we’re introducing ourselves to the entire world?”
Alyson chimed in, “More like reintroducing ourselves to the entire region.”
Marcel sighed, “Yes. Look, so far, you’ve all recorded a total of ten songs. We got about 20 more songs to go.”
Alyson asked, “So we need to write a new song?”
“Or I can get one of the songwriters to write a song for you.”
Derrick groaned, “No more those so-called songwriters! They can’t write shit!”
Marcel glared at him., “Then I guess some of you will write a new song, which is what the producers and I wanted in the first place. Remember, it must be a pop song. Nothing political or such. You got until this Saturday morning, before we leave for New York City.”
Alyson stared at the black-covered spiral notebook. It was written on the cover with a red marker, “UTURN SONGBOOK.” It was the official lyrics book, created by the founding members of the band. It held all he lyrics in their final or so drafts. It even included a song written by Andrew himself shortly after he was outed by Libby.
He Said was about a relationship with a guy that didn’t turn out as the singer hoped. Andrew made sure he would be the one to sing the song. He needed to get comfortable with his sexuality, but he also made it clear that he still preferred to sing songs about girls. Or at least have a song without any gender pronouns.
Now she needed to write a brand-new song with her bandmates. She was dry of any ideas. She did begin writing a song about how she was sad that Connect8 was no more, but the lyrics were just too rough to even tolerate. Plus, it would make her seem like a desperate fangirl, though the band’s PR team wanted to turn her into a relatable, trendy, fashion queen. A girl who was role-model worthy.
Alyson looked up at her bandmates. Riley was on her laptop, working on her last set of finals before her graduation at her public Worchester high school. So clearly her mind was not on the songs. Well, everyone had finals, but Derrick had only one more of high school to go. The ones born in 1989 had two more years.
Still, everyone was trying to write songs while doing their homework. Must multitask somehow! Alyson then eyed Derrick. His face screamed “must write an angry pop song.” She knew he was one of the better songwriters in the band. It was just that his material was, well, not pop-friendly. Maybe it was time to truly take the “angst on the dancefloor” persona to the next level. Make it seem like as if Steps, Connect8, and even ABBA took a much more emo turn in their lyrics; yet the beat would belong in a nightclub.
She bit her lip and said, “I have an idea. I know it sounds dumb, but just hear me out.”
Everyone looked up as she continued, “We all know that Andrew and I have been the main songwriters of UTurn. And we know that Amanda and Derrick used to be songwriters of The Pushers. So why don’t the four of us try to write a song together?”
Andrew, Amanda, and Derrick all looked at each other, and then at Alyson, with wide eyes. How could two of the most ruthless, popular people who ruled the athletes and the cheerleaders team up with the school’s top emo-rockers? It was something that no one would ever have thought of. Then again, what expectation hasn’t been thrown out the window lately?
Alyson added, “Look, we got a week to come up with a song. I’d say we should, at least, try to do this.”
Andrew replied, “I guess we can try. I just hope we can make this work.”
Alyson looked at Amanda and Derrick. She could tell Derrick looked pissed, while Amanda seemed deep in thought. Alyson said, “I hope so too.”
“That verse is way too emo,” Alyson said as she slammed a notebook onto the coffee table. The line mentioned of wanting to yank someone’s heart out with brutal force. It was one thing to sing a few Pushers songs and claim it as UTurn’s. It was another to write something very dark for the pop act.
Andrew said to her, “We need to get this song to Marcel tomorrow. We don’t have any more time to argue.”
Derrick said in a snarky tone, “The nerd’s got a point. Either accept these lyrics or not.”
Alyson asked, “Can’t we just try again?”
Amanda groaned as she held her head, “Alyson, I’m tired. I want my sleep. Can’t we just call it a night?”
Andrew grabbed the notebook, running his eyes over the lyrics. He sighed tiredly, “Fine. We’ll rewrite the song one more time. If it still looks like shit, then it looks like shit. Marcel will just have to take it. Besides, Bailey, Justin, Stacie, and Riley wrote two songs together. We got theirs just in case.”
Derrick rolled his eyes. “Fine, we’ll do what you just said.”
Justin walked out downstairs to the living area. He hadn’t seen Andrew and Derrick in the boys’ room. He figured they were still working with Alyson and Amanda. He and the three other girls wrote two songs together. They came out coherent and clean, like typical pop songs. Yet the other half of the band were clashing over the material. He figured this would happen, yet Alyson insisted on working with two people who were the complete opposites of her and Andrew.
He walked over to the four teens. He saw them dead asleep on the two couches that faced each other. Justin noticed the open notebook, scribbled and crumbled. He picked it up, reading the relatively rough lyrics.
Don’t run away from me
Go and break my heart
When it’s all said and done
There’ll be no one left standing
Justin looked at his sleeping bandmates, and then back at the lyrics. It was like reading a clash of personalities, but it got the point across. It was a breakup song. The darker lyrics were clearly written by Amanda and Derrick. The slightly lighter lyrics written by Andrew and Alyson. It was strange, jarring even; yet it just might work.
Marcel looked over the lyrics on a sheet of printed paper. Alyson sat in her chair, squirming due to nerves. It was the darkest song she had ever co-written. It was still in its rough stages, but what else could she do? She felt strange for writing this. She was so used to writing bubblegum pop lyrics, but this? How was this going to be a Euro-pop song?
She glanced at Andrew. He seemed a bit annoyed, but then again, he was annoyed by the entire experience. He didn’t exactly want to write a song with his ex-girlfriend and the guy that presumably sabotaged that relationship. He made that very clear, but Alyson knew he only did this for her.
Then she looked at Derrick. He was also quite peeved by all of this. He also made it obvious that he did not want to work with Andrew, the guy Derrick always had issues with for any kind of reason.
Alyson glanced at Amanda. She seemed embarrassed as she kept looking away. Then again, why wouldn’t she? Amanda was working with Andrew’s current girlfriend, and with two ex-boyfriends. Was Derrick ever Amanda’s boyfriend? Maybe, but Alyson didn’t care to know. The entire experience seemed awkward, at least from Alyson’s point of view.
She was brought out of her thoughts when Marcel spoke up: “I’ll have the producers begin working on the song.”
That shocked the four members who wrote the song. Alyson blinked, “Wait, we’re recording that song?”
He simply replied, “Yeah, you are. You, Andrew, Derrick, and Amanda, you four need to keep writing more songs together.”
The four teens looked at each other, and then at their other bandmates. No one ever thought the song would be good enough to record. Now it would most likely end up on their debut album.