Lyrics:

She turns her head to the side and says, 
“I’ve made other arrangements.” 
She doesn’t look anyone in the eye anymore 
I said, “If tears were words, I’ve written you an encyclopedia.” 
And then I tried to kiss her and she just looked kind of bored 

If this is how it’s gonna be 
Then I’ll save my apologies 
And you can just sing me to sleep 
Because a song that’s sung by anyone 
Who’s got a little bit of heart and gumption 
Is worth more than I know how to say 

There’s a little lump inside my head 
And the doctor says it’ll be all right 
But I can’t help but get scared sometimes 
I made my best effort but I just made a mess of it 
Doctors just make educated guesses 
And I don’t know if a headache 
Is reason enough to send me home from work 

If this is how it’s gonna be 
Then I’ll save my apologies 
And you can just sing me to sleep 
Because a song that’s sung by anyone 
Who’s got a little bit of heart and gumption 
Is worth more than I know how to say 

It’s just time goes by so 
Slowly I could cry sometimes 
But I know someday I’ll wake up 
And wonder where it went 
As I grow old and die 
As I grow old and die 

If this is how it’s gonna be 
Then I’ll save my apologies 
And you can just sing your own god damn self to sleep 
Because a song that’s sung by anyone 
Who’s got a little bit of heart and gumption 
Is worth more than I know how to say

This song is more about a lyrical motif and feeling than it is about one specific subject. While many of my songs have a consistent subject, this one jumps around a bit. It’s more about an emotional state than about a particular event.

What is that emotional state? Entropy. Shit falling apart slowly.

The first verse is a relationship falling apart, drawing on a similar concept as Molecular Clocks, even though this song was written long before that one. There’s some wordplay here that I’m kind of proud of. “If tears were words, I’ve written you and encyclopedia” is a roundabout way to say I cried a lot over the subject of this verse, and it works in a six syllable word pretty seamlessly.

I think my favorite line in this song, though, is “And then I tried to kiss her and she just looked kind of bored.” Sometimes when I perform this song, that line gets a laugh. I’m not totally sure why, except that it’s an unexpected direction to take a situation that would normally lead to something happier or more magical. Instead it brings to mind a somewhat sad but relatable picture. She’s just not that into the relationship anymore. It bores her.

The second verse is about a real situation I dealt with that terrified me. I found a lump on the back of my head and I didn’t have health insurance. I was scared for my own health, and also scared that it would fuck me over financially. I was having bad migraines pretty regularly, and my anxiety about that sometimes led to panic attacks. Everything ended up working out fine. The lumps were a benign kind of tumor on a blood vessel called a hemangioma. They actually shrunk and are a non-issue at this point, but my fear over the situation prompted me to have to confront the subject of mortality. We don’t really get very much time here.

The bridge is a rebuttal to that fear. Even though it slips into a minor key for a little bit, it’s actually a more optimistic outlook. It compares the slow pace of some situations which seem to last forever with hindsight where you realize how quickly it all went. It also directly contradicts the fear of my own mortality by acknowledging that I will likely make it to old age.

The chorus is about finding meaning even among the decay. It’s a little bit of a tribute to the therapy of music, but it also praises the idea of pushing on through those tough situations. The title reflects that too. I really like the word “gumption.” It refers to a very specific concept that there isn’t really another word for. It’s a gritty, determined, courageous word.

I recorded another version of this song a few years ago in collaboration with a former bandmate named Gareth Ortiz-Timpson. I have to give him some credit for some of the musical ideas around the backup vocals and the violin parts. It’s not exactly what he wrote, but I definitely drew from it for inspiration.

Cool! There you have it. Another song down. Two more to go. If you want to listen to everything that’s been released so far, you can do so HERE. CLICK THIS LINK FOR MUSIC. 🙂 Check back next Friday for song number four, titled “Still Can’t Stop”