Songland – Season 1 Episode 2 Recap & Review


Be Nice, Be Different

Back for another week of song writing shenanigans, Songland returns with another dose of reality TV singing. This time is the celebrity in the hot seat, picking out songs for the upcoming Black Eyed Peas album. Will.I.Am wants a song that will bring people together. Known for some lyrical digs at the music industry in general, Will.I.Am steps forward in the hope of nurturing these tracks into the next big thing.

The first song sounds a little bit like Post Malone’s Sunflower, which is modified on the fly after his performance, changing the tone and pitch of the track. As fascinating as this segment is, the lack of input from the artist himself does feel a little disingenuous to the song.

From here, the usual first round of music follows, with the third entry, a cool, positive funk track “Be Nice”, standing out by far. The positive lyrics, pitch and disco vibe actually feels much more suited to Bruno Mars than Will.I.Am though. Still, this is inevitably chosen to go forward, along with two other artists into the final three.

In a subtle dig at the show, Will.I.Am explains why he didn’t pick one of the artists, telling us he’s not a vampire and doesn’t want to destroy the credibility of the artist in question. From here, the final three songs are thrown under the microscope, changed, upgraded and polished beyond recongition by the hungry producers.

“Invincible” is changed from a solo melody to a manufactured pop record with rapping, reducing the singer herself to a cameo chorus appearance. “Boxes”does keep the core message intact but drags some notes out a little and adding some unnecessary polish while “Be Nice” ditches the funk and adds minimalistic bass instead, further accentuating the issue with manufacturing these songs. Midway through, Will.I.Am takes over and does his verse before he decides all three songs are chosen for the album.

I actually really liked the original Be Nice track. The funk vibe works perfectly and to be honest, the track itself didn’t need that much work done to it to be a hit. Keeping the chorus and tone intact, they could have cut out a few instruments on the verses for Will.I.Am and the track would still have had the same impact. Still, it’ll be interesting to see how well the other two songs do and choosing all three, although feeling like a bit of a cop-out, is a nice touch to the songwriters themselves.

The format and stylistic ticks are nigh-on identical to the first episode though, with the only difference being the feedback and accentuated, animated mannerisms from the judges. Still, there’s enough here to enjoy and listening to the original songs themselves, Songland is worth sticking around for, even if the end result isn’t quite as satisfying as it perhaps should be.


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