One of the hardest parts of writing a lyric is finding a good topic, one that resonates through its universal appeal while descibing something -- or somewhere -- specific. It's what connects Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind," Bruce Springsteen's "Greetings from Asbury Park," the Beach Boys' "Surfin' USA": each captures a setting and fills it with emotion. The West Hollywood Marketing and Visitors Bureau seems to understand this, and is offering $5,000 in cash and prizes to the songwriter who pens the best ode to West Hollywood.
Many Angelenos have a good sense of West Hollywood, and therefore have an advantage when writing a lyric about the city, which is located between Hollywood proper and Beverly Hills, has a population of about 35,000 people and is home to the Sunset Strip.
Those lyricists outside of Southern California, however, might need a little coaching. Yes, they could write about the city's large gay population, which makes it one of the most out-and-open cities in the country. They could write about the allure and danger of the Sunset Strip -- except that Axl Rose and company already took care of that on "Welcome to the Jungle." Or another standby, the ritzy restaurants and hotels that line Sunset Boulevard between Fairfax and Doheny (pronounced "do-HAY-nee").