Best Of 2011, Guest Editors: Ben Lee On Los Angeles Songwriters

As 2011 has come to an end, we are taking a look back at some of our favorite posts of the year by our guest editors.

Ben Lee had barely cracked the puberty code when he fronted renowned Aussie alt-rock combo Noise Addict, and as a well-weathered 16-year-old, he began his debut solo album, the mature yet still naive Grandpaw Would. Lee’s third album, Breathing Tornados, garnered best male artist and album of the year nominations in Australia. After 2002’s big-selling hey you. yes you., Lee started his own label and released the most upbeat album in his increasingly dark catalog, 2005’s Awake Is The New Sleep, requiring him to compose acceptance speeches for best male artist, best independent release and single of the year wins at home. Lee’s impressive string of successes continued with 2007’s Ripe, but the streak stopped with 2009’s The Rebirth Of Venus. The quasi-concept album of Lee’s ruminations on women was almost universally derided as half-baked philosophical twaddle set to a weirdly diverse pop soundtrack. Simultaneously, he was also examining the inherent power of dreams with Dr. Jan Lloyd, whose death last year inspired Lee to again brave the concept-album waters with Deeper Into Dream (Dangerbird), a loosely threaded set about the mind movies our brains script, direct and discard every single night. Lee will be guest editing all week. Read our brand new Q&A with him.

Lee: It probably sounds very “corporate” and uncool to indie-rockers around the world, but there is a great new generation of what could be called “professional songwriters” out here in LA. Their days consist of creating songwriting sessions in various combinations, going from one studio to the next, endlessly, all in the attempt to nail the next great song. It’s not uncommmon for these kinds of songwriters to write at least a song (if not two) a day, six or seven days a week. I’ve dipped my toes into that world, and learned a lot from the great writers I’ve worked with, people like Tim Myers and MoZella and lots of others who just seem to effortlessly tap into the great hook-factory in the sky. Ultimately, I’m probably a little too left-of-center to make a real “job” out of writing the way a lot of these guys have, but it’s cool to see how many people still hold the craft of songwriting in such high esteem and try to bring their A-game to it each day.

Video after the jump.