Lyrics Uncovered: Randy Houser, ‘Song Number 7′
It's pretty rare to find a fresh new angle in a country song, but Randy Houser has pulled it off with his "Song Number 7" lyrics.
Songwriter Justin Wilson has collaborated with Ben Hayslip for years, and he's also written extensively with Chris Janson. He didn't know they also collaborated, and when he found out they had a session coming up, Janson invited him to participate.
"I jumped in with them, and actually on the way over I had the idea for something about album cuts," Wilson recalls to Taste of Country. "I was driving, and I was like, 'Album cuts, album cuts ... what does that mean to me?' And before I got there, I came up with, 'Not album cuts -- song number 7.'"
The trio worked on an entirely different song that morning, and afterward, "Ben started playing a little melody groove on his acoustic, and I looked at him and said, 'What is that?'" Wilson relates. "He said, 'I don't know, I'm just messing around,' and we're kinda packing up, and I said, 'Man, I've got an idea for that that I had on the way over here.'
Both Hayslip and Janson loved the idea. "So we unpacked our stuff and sat back down and started writing. So it was actually the second song of the day, which doesn't happen that often."
It just kind of fell out. It doesn't always happen that way, but it did that day.
No one person was more responsible for the "Song Number 7" lyrics than any other, Wilson recalls.
"Honestly, it was a 100 percent team effort. There were portions of the song that Chris Janson threw in that were very important to the song, there were portions that Ben threw in, there were portions that I threw in. It was equal all the way through, really and truly. We all kind of understood the idea of it. It was pretty cohesive. It didn't take that long. We wrote that song in an hour and a half, hour and fifteen minutes. It just kind of fell out. It doesn't always happen that way, but it did that day."
The "Song Number 7" lyrics are a clever take on Wilson's idea, which had to with how a specific song can hold such a special place in someone's memory: "But song number 7 / Took me all the way to heaven that night / Song number 7 / Cranked up to 11 set the mood just right / I was holding her tight, she had her hands in the air / She was fallin' in love and I was already there / Song number 7."
The trio had Houser in mind while they were writing, and they were so excited that they booked a demo session the very next day. The demo went over to Houser's label, and he put it on hold immediately after he heard it. The cut was finished within two months of the songwriting session, and now "Song Number 7" is the second single from Houser's current album, Fired Up.
"I'll say this: Randy sings it a lot better than I do," Wilson says with a laugh. "[Producer] Derek George makes everything sound big and huge and awesome. I don't think a demo can compete, and I certainly can't compete with what Randy does vocally, but as far as arrangement goes, I think our demo gave a pretty good blueprint for them to make better, and they absolutely did. Everything kinda worked out with this. Everything fell together pretty nicely."
Wilson is happy with how Houser's rendition of his song came out, but he's especially happy about its inclusion on Fired Up. "I mean, that is, in my opinion, one of the best records top-to-bottom that's come out in a long time. It's just chock-full of great songs, great vocals and great sounds, so honestly I'm really grateful to be on it. I think it's a great record to be on."