Updated: Aug 21, 2021
I am writing a new song, and I have been spending a lot more time with it than I usually do with my music. I recently went through my discography reflecting on what songs have connected and which haven't, and I feel like I really fell off lyrically in my music after Beachboy.
When I was younger, it was easier to tell stories that were relatable because I was an awkward, depressed teenager who was in love with the beauty of adolescence and feeling vulnerable. When I started writing music I made the decision to make it as raw as possible because I figured if I truly poured my heart out and wrote about all of my insecurities, maybe someone with a heart like mine would feel how I felt. When I struggled with things that were uncomfortable, I wrote about them.
I think Trees is a good example of that. I figured there were people out there who felt like I did, repressed and confused, angry, and judged by their parents. If you've listened to Trees, my mother is pretty accurate to that song. It was a really hard thing to hear and be brushed off about or not taken seriously. Not everyone will accept you, but at the same time there will always be others who accept you and see that beauty in you.
I remember when I first started writing, I would write songs that would make me cry as I wrote them because it was everything that was hurting me pouring out. I think that changed after Beachboy and the charm and happiness I had ended when I started becoming increasingly mentally ill.
My music and words took this dark cryptic turn that is hard to relate to, and incredibly different from my other material. I think Yarn was too dark and angry, and I regret it as my second album, but I was just projecting so much of my anger into my music, and I think if I would have been in treatment that album would have turned out much better.
I think it's by far the weakest album of mine, with Westboro Sadness being my favorite track off the album. I was so manic when I made that CD and I had convinced myself it was an incredible album, but I was wrong about that.
I enjoyed working with Mike Sapone though. I was in the room with him when Brand New was cancelled, and it was really tough because Science Fiction had just reached number one on the Billboard a couple weeks before. It was a unique scenario I never thought I would witness. I also think THWNDB was boring because my heart wasn't in it. That's my main gripe with that album, it's boring and all sounds the same.
I miss writing lyrics I am proud of because I haven't been good at anything, but I am able to put words in a certain order that brings out something in myself and other people.
I have re-written my latest song twice because I need to put something out that I am proud of and can confidently listen to and say I did my best. I've revisited that old style, and am now trying to use healing and regaining my love for life in these songs.
I'm insecure and always picture people saying my music sucks and I suck, and it makes me want to try my best. I know not everybody will like me and accept me, but I am writing for the opportunity to feel happy with my music.
One of my oldest and favorite songs, "Is your shirt inside out" has always held a special place in my heart. I think the line, "I bet you that your brother is stronger than mine, it's a two punch swing in a fistfight, alright." was one of my favorite lines I've written. I think that song in general is good lyrically and I want to tell stories like that again, and escape this weird depressing fog that's surrounded my music since BB. I don't mean depressing as in content, but just the general feel of the life behind the music. I hear hope in the old songs I wrote as I navigated adolescence alongside the frustrations of feeling misunderstood. My writing after that sounds like confused, lifeless anger to me when I listen back. I think it's possible to do better, so I'm going to try.
My friend, Mark, the former guitarist for Moose Blood has started a new band with Lee, the drummer from MB. They are two of the best musicians I've ever met, and they have shown me incredible kindness even though I dropped off their tour. They are good people and deserve the best for their music. The name of their band is Hurtless and you can check it out here.