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Song Stories

“Simple Song”

The Shins | 2012

Though James Mercer put the Shins on hiatus for five years, it took him no time to pen Port of Morrow’s lead single, a sweet, nostalgia-riddled cheer up for a former (and possibly current) love interest. “I wrote the lyrics in the space of 15 minutes, on the living-room floor,” he told Rolling Stone. But not everything went so smoothly. “I think I jinxed it by calling it ‘Simple Song,’ because it was the most difficult track to get finished.” Musically, it’s complex — the song boasts power pop flourishes and guitar squiggle blasts while Janet Weiss (Wild Flag, Sleater-Kinney) pounds away on drums.

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Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

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