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The Challenge – Week 4 – Rock The Cliché

March 10, 2014

How did it feel to leave your familiar structures and move your songwriting to uncharted territory?  Hopefully last week’s challenge broadened your approach.  This week we’re going to look inside the box by examining how to Rock The Cliché.

Songwriters are a restless lot. We get bored easily and sometimes abandon things too quickly, perhaps leaving behind some good ideas. We also have a love/hate relationship with clichés. They can sound tired and shopworn or tried and true, depending on the circumstances and how lazy we feel. In this segment, one of the best-loved songwriters of all time weighs in on not avoiding the obvious.
Watch the following video, then pick 10 cliches and brainstorm ways each could be interpreted from a different perspective.

Pick one to expand into a song.

Deadline: March 17
Please post the following:
1. Which cliche you chose to use.
2. A link to your blog.
3. A link to your song.

69 Comments leave one →
  1. Nathan McGrath permalink
    March 13, 2014 6:34 pm

    I chose to do a literal translation of the cliche “I would die for you”. I came up with a little scenario and tried to paint the picture. The song is titled “W.I.T.H. standing for ‘when I told her’….. I’d die for her I would.

  2. March 14, 2014 3:54 pm

    Hello fellow songwriters! Had to finish early this week heading out of town tomorrow. Sure would love a bit more time to craft this, but in the spirit of hitting deadlines here is my Week four song!

    and my blog entry as well:

    • March 23, 2014 2:09 am

      Hey Dean, I love how you dug into this challenge. I’m a City Lights aficionado as well!

      • March 25, 2014 7:05 pm

        Thanks Christopher, it is a great place to fill the well. I think it helped plant some things in my subconscious as well for this week! And thank you so much for your role in this amazing songwriting experience!

  3. March 15, 2014 2:03 am

    The cliche we worked with was “A man gotta do what a man’s gotta do”, but we changed it to a question “What’s a Man To Do?”, which became the hook and title of the song. In the lyric, we also brought in the cliche “Thank my lucky stars”, but changed it to “The stars have all lined up”.

    My blog: Week 4 – SAC Songwriting Challenge – Rock the Cliche

    The song:

  4. March 15, 2014 3:10 pm

    The cliche I chose was “Every dog has its day”. From the perspective of a concession stand hot dog at a ball park.
    The link to my blog is:
    The link to the track on SoundCloud is :

  5. March 15, 2014 4:57 pm

    yee ha, counting down the final 2 weeks, just like having a baby with 2 more to go,
    my blog for week 4 includes the lyrics to song 4-Only Thing I’m Good At Is Goodbye

  6. March 15, 2014 10:21 pm

    “That blew me away” -we always say- so here’s a song twisting that particular cliche into a Tornado Man!

    if you just want the soundcloud link it’s here:

  7. Kevin Roach permalink
    March 16, 2014 8:51 am

    The Cliche I chased after was ‘I’m not going to take it anymore’ which morphed into Down With Protest Songs my blog is and the song is

    • March 23, 2014 2:22 am

      I’m really amazed at how creative the responses to this challenge have been and this is a perfect example! Thanks Kevin.

  8. bodegaempire permalink
    March 16, 2014 9:29 am

    Strong mid-90s flavour on this one, for those of you that dig that sort of thing.

  9. March 16, 2014 1:31 pm

    A twist on “I’d be lost without you,” here is my song and blog post for this week.

    Blog post:

    • March 23, 2014 2:34 am

      Nice work Kelly. I did write a song called “Lost Without You” that Wynonna cut. I guess the world loves a well worn cliche!

  10. March 16, 2014 6:19 pm

    Another fruitful week, thanks to the useful ‘rock the cliche’ kickstarter.

  11. March 16, 2014 10:20 pm

    This is my week 4 song. I must say it really was a challenge. I tried to write a rock song but I don’t think I quite made it. Oh well, here it is anyway.

  12. March 16, 2014 10:48 pm

    Here is my link again. Sorry still learning.

  13. seersongwriter permalink
    March 16, 2014 10:48 pm

    My week four blog:

  14. March 16, 2014 10:53 pm

    Hi everyone. This week was an extreme challenge as I just wasn’t inspired but hey I did it. My cliche I chose is “When Life Gives You Lemons Make Lemonade”
    my blog is

  15. March 16, 2014 11:18 pm

    Hello, lovely people, this week was definitely a challenge, I fixated on, the cliché:

    “There’s a Light at The End of the Tunnel”,

    which I initially changed to: “In the darkness, find a light”, and transformed into, “In the darkness, we’ll find light” and finally, “In the darkness, we’ll make light”.

    I also love the cliché, “If you get a lemon, make lemonade”.

    I combined the two ideas to make the title of my song, “Night Lights and Lemonade.”

    I also threw in a third cliché adaptation within the song, instead of “I don’t give a hoot”, this was changed to “really give a hoot”.

    Here is my blog:

    Listen to the song “Night Lights and Lemonade”:

    I look forward to your feedback & thank you!

    Peace/luv from:
    Shera Shakera

  16. March 17, 2014 2:16 am

    I didn’t enjoy the song this week. I was fighting with the bridge and ended up with nearly the same one as in Week Two. Oh, and I really need to work on the vocals

  17. March 17, 2014 2:43 am

    Here’s my a Week 4 song
    Rock n’ Roll with You

  18. March 17, 2014 3:26 am

    Hi again fellow songwriters. I can’t believe that 4 weeks and 4 songs have already gone by. My SONG and BLOG for my new demo “Portland” are below. Happy writing!

    I’m stoked to see what the final 2 weeks will manifest. 🙂

    • March 23, 2014 2:49 am

      Hey Scott – of course, you’re right, the cliche can be musical too. Nice take on the challenge!

  19. March 17, 2014 10:14 am

    Happy ‘s St. Patrick’s Day!

    The cliché I chose “I am have so much cash, i’s coming outa my … ” Took a risk … wrote a lot … hope you enjoy The Cash Song 🙂

    Sound cloud link:

    Blog link:

    take care and looking forward to week 5!

    Robyn 🙂

    • Roy Sunstrum permalink
      March 19, 2014 12:20 am

      Wow Robyn. I haven’t listened to a big percentage of songs posted in this competition due to travel and workload, but I love this song of yours. A little risqué (won’t see radio ha ha) but I really like it. I wish you were nearby for week 6 collaboration! Do you have anyone working with you for week 6? If not, maybe we can make the distance thing work.

    • March 23, 2014 2:52 am

      Very funny Robyn. I love the inventive responses to this challenge and it sounds like you had a lot of fun writing this one!

  20. March 17, 2014 10:41 am

    Top of the morning to you! Well week 4 has come and gone. Here is the song, just voice no instruments. I just couldn’t get the chords right so I decided to do it acapella. Where is the song “My love Cliqué.” I started with the line “My heart burns for you, brighter then the stars,”
    Here is the link to Soundcloud
    Here is the blog posting

  21. March 17, 2014 10:43 am

    I am glad to see by reading the other comments that other people found this week quite challenging too. It is fun to see that no matter what the challenge is some pretty cool and interesting songs come outta them 😀 Here is my blog and week #4 song!

  22. March 17, 2014 2:40 pm

    My father always told me “That good guys finish last” “You only live once” “If the shoe fits…wear it” “Dont hold your breath” “Quit while you’re ahead” “Better late than never” “It never hurts to try”…and “never play leapfrog with a unicorn”…check my blog out to read the rest..

    in the meantime…’ (tips his hat to Christopher…I chose “Love Is” as my cliche)

    Here is song number 4…SUDDENLY LOVE IS


    • March 23, 2014 3:01 am

      Well I’ve got no copyright on that one! When someone asked me if I was inspired by those ‘Love Is’ comics I shuddered!

  23. March 17, 2014 7:07 pm

    Week 4 Blog up and sound cloud link attached! Phew…

  24. March 17, 2014 9:25 pm

    My life has not slowed down …. lol so tired everyday
    and I’m struggling with celebrity obsession like a teenage girl- again.
    Worst timing I must say… growing one year older apparently doesn’t mean much.
    Made a birthday song- about how I wanted my BDAY to be… none of them came true
    wow. I love my life but this day is quite sad hahaha. at least it’s sunny here in Vancouver today.

    Oops, I talked too much

  25. March 17, 2014 10:49 pm

    WEEK#4. Tough! Time! Alas here’s song and blog. (I am loving this workshop though….and the group….thank you Christopher for starting this fabulous exercise. It’s going to change me)

    • March 23, 2014 3:11 am

      This theme is timeless. I think the more personal you make the story through details the more power it has. Nice work Judy.

  26. March 17, 2014 11:04 pm

    1. “Can’t Draw Blood From A Stone”

  27. March 18, 2014 12:25 am

    Week # 4 – The exercise as far as I understand is asking us to modify a cliche by changing the words and making it our own.

    I modified the cliché: “There’s A Light at The End of The Tunnel” and came up with

    “In the darkness, we’ll make light”.

    Further modifications where I added bits and pieces (modifications) of other clichés, can be found, with details after the lyrics on my blog:

    And my song “Night Lights and Lemonade”:


    Enjoy! Peace/luv from:
    Shera Shakera

  28. March 18, 2014 12:57 am

    I could have sworn I posted here on Saturday, but not I don’t see my post : S Here are my Soundcloud link and blog for the week:

  29. seersongwriter permalink
    March 18, 2014 2:47 am

    My week four tune is at:
    The blog and lyrics are at:
    I took “I love you” and just let this song evolve around it. Some engineering tinkering still to do……

  30. March 18, 2014 12:17 pm

    I will try this again… I thought this went in last night.
    Week 4 had me researching cliches and after false starts and long lists “Dancing with Lady Luck” showed up and I pretty much used that verbatim.
    Blog post here:
    Soundcloud link here:

  31. March 18, 2014 1:00 pm

    Finally have Week 4 – sorry for the late post. School is kicking my butt right now, lots of assignments due. This week was about rocking the cliche. I used various cliche in different ways. I used ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ as inspiration for the theme of the song (because I’m a huge Seinfeld fan 🙂 ). Then used the cliche ‘just walk away’ within the song along with a couple of others you’ll trip over.

    This is a very rough scratch mix of the song as I only had a few hours on one day to put this together. I hear much fuller synth layers and vocal harmonies/overlays in my head. This is as far as I could get to for now …

    Blog with lyrics here:

    Soundcloud here:

  32. March 18, 2014 8:44 pm – had a great time creating a love gone wrong song out of hockey cliches

  33. Roy Sunstrum permalink
    March 19, 2014 12:18 am

    Sorry to be a touch late. I’ve been away for 16 days straight. This song was completed last night in a few hours, I just didn’t get it posted.

    I would really love feedback on this. The verses are fully spoken for a twist. The cliche I worked with is Over the Hill, a place that I’m refusing to go (at 53). Ha ha.

    The song…

    My blog…

    While I’m at it…anyone in the Ottawa area interested in collaborating for week 6?


  34. March 20, 2014 10:08 am

    Here’s a link to my week #4 –

  35. Laird Wayne Rose permalink
    March 20, 2014 6:38 pm

    This one was a lot of fun to write, and produce, such as it is.

    Here’s my blog link:

    And my SoundCloud link:

    Please enjoy!

  36. March 21, 2014 1:29 am

    Here is my song and blog entry for Week #4. My title is “Right Here Beside You.”

  37. March 22, 2014 2:16 am

    O My Word. So Behind. But here we go…
    My Cliche: “When My Ship Comes In”
    My Blog:
    My Soundcloud:

  38. March 23, 2014 3:35 am

    Lovely song Angela. A theme that never grows old.

  39. March 24, 2014 1:06 pm

    Here is my blog entry:
    Here is my soundcloud link:
    I will re-record it when I get over this bad cold. I used the cliche “push or fold”

  40. March 25, 2014 2:58 am

    I posted on March 21 but I don’t see it here. Anyhow…
    My cliche was “When My Ship Comes In”
    My blog :

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