I thought I would explain a little bit of what’s behind some of our songs now and then. I do believe that once you let go of a song to be out in the public, it’s up to everyone else to interpret it for themselves. I have to be ok with that. Once you release something, it’s not yours anymore. However, sometimes an explanation helps people to see where you’re coming from as well. That’s what music is all about and that part is important to me too. Here’s one about how I see “The Situation”.
I had been thinking a lot about our purpose; not just mine, but ours. There are a lot of horrible things going on in the world. Look at the war, hate, violence, human trafficking, homelessness, poverty, addiction, racism, sexism… Shall I go on? I think OUR purpose is to change things with whatever power we have, big or small. “The Situation” is that we’re always being pulled in one direction or the other. We’re always being distracted and drawn away from what’s really important in life.
In the first verses, I was painting a picture of a poker game. You know those prohibition raids in the movies? Just as things begin to get serious, a huge distraction happens and people start running. I think of all the times I get focused on some other detail or issue and can completely miss what’s important sitting right in front of me.
The second verse is about the cloak and dagger game people play with their words and the problems it can cause. Words can sound like we care but usually we hide behind the empty ones to make us feel like we’re doing something. Words also do a lot of damage. It’s like a shootout with an enemy you can’t see but the chaos is real. The ricochet happens when there’s damage that we didn’t intend. It was a careless shot.
There is actually a third verse to this song. Our initial scratch tracks didn’t include it and we got so far along that we decided not to go back and redo the structure of the song. It kept the song around 3 minutes. I felt that was important for a debut. It will definitely be in the live versions and we’ve toyed with recording the full song eventually. The verse goes like this:
You’re gonna trip me up
telling me what hope does
Rocking chair looking up
Then you reason just because.
We’ve gotta get tough;
true love boxing glove
Public mercy flood the scene
Then we do what justice does.
I feel like this verse pulls the whole song together. Blind hope with no action is just complacency and laziness. There’s a quote by Cornell West I heard a long time ago when he was talking about human trafficking. “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Sometimes love is like a boxing glove. It’s got to be tough. The “get behind me satan” phrase and the bridge mean that there’s a bigger purpose ahead that includes a tough road. “There ain’t no easy way out.” Stop tempting me with something easy. That’s the situation for all of us.
There are a lot of really incredible things going on in our city; people that really care and do important work to change things. There are way more than I can list, but I think more people should be aware of groups like Relevant Hope (which is now part of the Chattanooga Community Kitchen), Second Life Chattanooga, MetMin, and countless churches and organizations. Get involved somehow. Chattanooga is a beautiful city but we’ve got a long way to go for everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy it.