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  • Writer's pictureHugh at ZephyrHillMusic

Behind the Lyrics: Becky Lawrence - Loud & 17

In this series of ‘Behind the lyrics’ I take a closer look at what makes certain songs have the ability to take us deeper. I look at a wide range of country artists, from Billboard toppers to the undiscovered and unsigned. I like to uncover the story between the lines and highlight where the lyrics are special, unique or generally make me say “I wish I’d written that!”.

Becky Lawrence - Loud & 17

Woah, hold up, this blog is meant to be about songs I wish I’d written, so surprise! This month I take a look behind the lyrics of one I did! Thank you Rachel for the self indulgence.

So how did this song come into existence? It started from just the title which I offered out for a song-in-a-month writing exercise I was running on Twitter in 2019. In fact I can pinpoint the song's conception exactly to June 14th 2019 because I found a social media post.

I didn’t set out with the specific intention to make it a country song, but the chords I played that afternoon just took it that way, and I soon realised it could be something really great. So much so, I withdrew it from the exercise and messaged my country music partner in crime Becky Lawrence. We often share musical snippets, it's great to have someone you can feel safe to share those mad music moments with who will not judge.

Verse 1 - The opening chords are minor so it felt natural for the first lines to be reflective and looking retrospectively. I pulled from my memories of late teenage years and drew a word picture of road trips and mixtapes (I updated it to playlists later).

For the Pre-Chorus I used a line I had saved since around 2015 (weirdly I can often remember exactly when and where a lyric line came to me) of being lost in a 'diesel smoke daydream'. I imagined what it would be like if I could literally drive back in time to revisit some memory. The chorus was almost just the line “When we were Loud & 17” and some “do do do’s” to fill the melody.

I’ll point out a deliberate language use in Verse 1 - my favourite of opposites:

“...going nowhere

And everywhere..”

Verse 2 - I consciously didn’t write anymore until Becky and I met up sometime that year. The wait confirmed that the idea was still very strong, so we started adding in her memories of that in-between age of 17.

In Becky’s words:

“It’s about my teenage years and my fond memories of growing up. At a time that felt so much simpler than today; with our iPods, flip phones and no social media to speak of!”

You get to that point when you are older and some of the fun of youth escaped somewhere when you didn’t notice. You became rule followers instead of rule breakers. We brought in social media posts for the second Pre-Chorus, and this time we imagined travelling back in time by literally scrolling down the endless facebook page into your own past to recapture that time.

The chorus “do’s” survived past our writing stage, and it wasn’t until we took to the studio with Tyler Spicer that he suggested replacing them with lyrics. I think we both knew they needed to go. Fortunately the verses and pre-choruses as they were originally written, were so long that it was easy to move the existing lyrics around. We created a new section in the form of a Middle 8 and re-worked our final alternative Pre-Chorus lyrics into that instead.

Why does it end with “The police are here”?

There is simply not enough time to explain the sheer fun we had recording the song with Robert Brian on drums. I’m surprised we got anything done with the amount of laughing and joking around especially when we had to record multiple takes of the pretend party.

So what can you learn from our song?

If an idea is strong but you know you need help to bring out its full potential, don’t hesitate to contact your songwriting connections and collaborate to get it there. Also if the idea is strong, it will stand the test of time when you put it down for later. I suggest if a song cannot cope with that, it maybe isn’t worth continuing with. Why put up with a song that is just okay? I’ve said it before; great songs aren’t written, they are re-written.

Finally keep those odd song lines and snippets of ideas safe, because you never know when they will be needed.

Until next time.

Written by: Hugh Webber


Hugh has over 20 years experience as a songwriter and creative collaborator. Personally mentored by Kinks frontman Ray Davies, and a year at the London Songwriting Academy. Find out more here

Written by Becky Lawrence, Hugh Webber, Tyler Spicer


Lost that photograph of me and you

Borrowed car keys, playlists that’s all we knew

Drive for hours, going nowhere

And everywhere with you


I’m lost in that diesel smoke daydream

If I could drive my car back to where and when

Radio turned up past 10

When we were loud, and seventeen


Stop time, rewind, playback

Those hours with you

Somehow, my world

Is stuck in the rearview

Singing along to songs

I’ll never forget

Seventeen, seventeen


Used to jump queues, and now just stand in line

Double denim, converse, yeah, it feels so right

Holding hands, with my man

Our streetlight first kiss


Scroll back through the media mayhem

Repost that picture of us back then

When we were loud,

When we were loud, and seventeen

Extended Chorus:

Stop time, rewind, playback

Those hours with you

Somehow, my world

Is stuck in the rearview

Singing along to songs

I’ll never forget

Seventeen, seventeen

Chasin’ the dream/s

In daylight they seem

Closer to me than anythings ever been

Wish I knew then that all I’d ever wanna be

Is Seventeen, seventeen

Middle 8:

Days like these where you don’t belong

Reliving the words of our favourite song

Sing it out like it never ends

Like we’re still and loud and seventeen

Extended Chorus

Short guitar solo

“The police are here”


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