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Creating some 'Music and Lyrics'

Story Highlights

• Adam Schlesinger wrote three songs for "Music and Lyrics"
• Elements of songs central to plot, not easy to write, he says
• Movie starred Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore
By Todd Leopold
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(CNN) -- The film "Music and Lyrics," with Hugh Grant as a 1980s pop star and songwriter and Drew Barrymore as his unlikely partner, included three songs by Adam Schlesinger. He discussed them with CNN.

CNN: Was it more of a challenge to do the songs for "Music and Lyrics" [than for Fountains of Wayne]? I take it [the producers] wanted something very specific.

SCHLESINGER: I ended up writing three songs in that movie, and ["Way Back Into Love"] was the hardest one because it had to fulfill a lot of different purposes in the script. The other two things I wrote were much easier because the assignment was more straight-ahead.

CNN: What were the other ones you wrote?

SCHLESINGER: I wrote one called "Meaningless Kiss," which was an '80s pastiche. ... It wasn't the big one that opens the movie, it was the more ballady hit, like "Careless Whisper" or something, and it had the cheesy saxophone riff in it.

And there was another one called "Don't Write Me Off," which was this song that Hugh Grant sings alone at the piano toward the end of the movie. In a weird way it's the resolution of the whole movie. ... He and Drew Barrymore have had this falling-out and this song has to win her back in the last 10 minutes in the film. And that song was tough but it was really straightforward.

But the duet was really tricky because of the fact it was a triangle of characters. And the director was very involved in making sure it worked and that each line fit what he wanted to shoot.

CNN: Going back to "That Thing You Do!" Was that a different experience? I remember reading there was a mass solicitation for songs called "That Thing You Do." Were you just one of the people who submitted one?

SCHLESINGER: Yeah, pretty much. I was involved in a music publishing company back then, and my friends there told me about the movie and that was pretty much it. I took a shot at it and got extremely lucky. ... Over the years I've been sent a lot of [the entries].

Music and Lyrics

Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant starred in "Music and Lyrics," which featured some songs by Adam Schlesinger.

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