Things I’ll Never Say – one year on.

Things I'll Never Say Album Cover

A track by track exploration of Things I’ll Never Say

 

A year after I released the album, which I’m still immensely proud of, I figured you might want to know a bit about the songs, so here it is… a track by track commentary.

 

Album Title

The title “Things I’ll Never Say” is actually a lyric from one of the songs that didn’t make it on to the album. The song is called “A Final Glass” and the full lyric is “So I’ll raise a final glass to you, then turn away and let go of the things I’ll never say”. The song didn’t make the cut because we felt that two quiet finger-picked songs was enough.

Track 1 – Let It Fall


One of those moments where a song comes from a simple turn of phrase. A friend was talking about working in a kitchen and knocking a knife off the work surface. In that situation you have to let it fall, rather than try to stop it. I took that as a metaphor for when things go wrong in life, and this little pop nugget was born. My friend Mr John of Infinite Hive made a video for this song, which you can see here.

Track 2 – Sigh


This was written years ago, and left untouched, only played at a couple of live shows back in 2011-ish. When we were discussing which songs should go on the album I played it for Ellis (My brother, bass player and studio engineer) and he convinced me to record it.

Track 3 – I Don’t Have A Voice


I don’t really need to say much about the inspiration for this call for a fairer voting system. Instead I’ll tell you that it features almost everyone who played anything on the album singing the “more you ignore, the louder we roar” chant. I’m delighted that this song was picked up by the group “Make Votes Matter” and I was honoured to play it live at their demonstration outside the houses of parliament in May 2016. There is a video for this song here.

Track 4 – You’re A Light


This is a prime example of what can happen when you bring a raw song in to the studio. You’re A Light started life as a fairly gentle song about the start of a new relationship, and turned in to a disco inspired pop rock anthem once I started working on it with a band. Recording sometimes is the final stage of the writing process. I had fun making a silly video for this song.

Track 5 – Old Wounds (Feel Like New Wounds)


Often you hold on to things for longer than you should, and can be affected by them several months later. Time also tends to strip away some of the details, and the memory you’re left with isn’t necessarily accurate. That’s where this song comes from. This was my first experimentation with brass/horns and we had a lot of fun recording them.

Track 6 – To the Unknown Loves of my Life


This song came from years of thinking about how we find ourselves in situations where we are attracted (for whatever reason) to strangers, for example, travelling on a train or waiting in a queue. In those situations it’s commonly held (in the UK at least) that it would seem odd to talk to those people, so you simply let the moment pass. But that person could be your soul mate, you just don’t see it.

Track 7 – Ballad of the Flower and the Tree


This was inspired by a cottage I had rented in the middle of nowhere for a few days in order to write without distraction. Dominating the front garden was a huge weeping willow, which gives us the line “even willows can weep”. The beautiful female vocals are provided by Lu Morris.

Track 8 – Sweetness No More


Written after listening to a lot of Damien Rice, this was one of the first songs written for the album. Originally I’d planned to make the whole album a collection of introspective, quiet songs like this. I’m now glad I didn’t, because this song, along with “The Quiet Goodbye” adds light and shade to the album.

Track 9 – Cold Day in Hell


After months of trying to get a certain set of feelings out creatively, this song cropped up and was very satisfying. I’m not going to expand on that because the lyrics are actually quite harsh, however we had a lot of fun recording it too, particularly at the end where Jack (drums) was given total freedom to do as he pleased.

Track 10 – Stepping Off the Edge


This was written originally for the limited edition “Notice Period EP” which was sent to everyone who pre-ordered “Things I’ll Never Say”. I felt it was too good a song for it not to be on the album, and so on it went. I felt like my Crowded House influence was showing quite a lot on this album, so I decided to go full “Finn Brothers” and asked my good friend Jamie R Hawkins to provide a second vocal line, which he did admirably! I recorded a live video of this song at VoxBox Music shop in Edinburgh in Feb 2016 (thanks to Mr John again).

Track 11 – Thank You, My Friend


This is was written in 2009 for my Brother, who has been a rock in difficult times, without doing anything other than being himself. It was originally included on an album released in 2009 which is no longer available, and this new version features Ellis (my bro) playing bass and slide guitar. If you’re interested, you can still hear the 2009 version here.

Track 12 – The Quiet Goodbye


This is about those times where a relationship gradually and quietly dies to the point where you both agree there’s no point continuing, you just go your own ways without too much fuss. I always considered this song to be the “false ending” to the album, given its title and subject.

Track 13 – A Year in a Life


This is the most deeply personal song on the album, and was emotionally painful to write and play (and still is). I am singing to two children who were a huge part of my life for just over a year, and whom I will never see again due to circumstance. This was always going to be the final track on the album, because nothing would be able to follow the final despairing cry at the end.

The album is available on Spotify, iTunes, and so on. You can get a physical copy here too.

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