I feel that in each of our lives, there is the possibility of meeting that one person who will change the way we see everything, a person who will give us a sense of new meaning, a mission, a passion. “All it Would Take” is our song for that moment, that person, that one voice that can change the world within you. Then you can turn outward and begin to change the world around you, too.
The new Semisonic EP, “You’re Not Alone,” is now out! Being in this band with John Munson and Jake Slichter is an ongoing high point of my musical life. We’ve been all over the world together and we still love to hang out. What more could I ask for? I’m so happy about how these songs turned out. I felt like they HAD TO be great – and now you can be the judge of whether they are :) (Go ahead and let me know if I’m following my own advice or not…) We got a lot of help along the way but special shout out to Jenny Owen Youngs, Mike Viola and Richard Walters for writing some of the songs with me! Stream/buy here.
I wrote ‘You’re Not Alone’ a couple of years ago at a time when a lot of people, including me, were feeling isolated and despairing about the state of the world and the direction our country was going. We recorded the song last year and I’m really happy that it’s now coming out. It’s Semisonic’s first new song in 20 years. Coincidentally, the song is coming out when both a global pandemic and racial justice protests are compelling us to reimagine and rebuild our relationships to each other and the communities we live in. All against a backdrop of isolation, despair, and hope. Just as I felt when I first wrote it, I hope this song will communicate a sense of connection, an awareness that we’re not alone.
I wrote ‘The Real Question’ two weeks ago when the strangeness and the dread of our self-quarantine was sinking in. Even as we were all sharing the same scary short-term fears about the epidemic, I also was thinking, ‘What happens if we make it through this? How will our lives be changed? How will my life be changed? Will a lot of us feel the impulse to renew or revise our agreements with lovers, family, community, country?’ In some ways I hope so. So I wrote this song about those questions. Watch the lyric video on my YouTube channel.
My ‘Words & Music’ series of online songwriter advice clips began on the Vine app. I called it ‘Words & Music in 6 Seconds.’ I wanted to give songwriters very brief and helpful statements that they could apply to their own work as they wished. By the time Vine went away I had migrated to the other social sites, and relaxed the time constraint a bit. But the idea remained the same. For ‘Words & Music in 6 Seconds Live,’ I’ll take a handful of those quotations and expand on them with real-life song examples, and I’ll answer questions from viewers as well. Watch here on Friday, 4/24 (3pm PT, 5pm CT, 6pm ET).
My new single is ‘Red Light,’ which I wrote with Jenny Owen Youngs and Ethan Gruska, and produced with Ethan,’ explains Dan Wilson. “We wrote it when I had just learned that all of the master recordings of my two bands Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare had burned in the secret Universal fire. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was angry and sad, haunted by the image of police helicopters floating above the archives as they burned in the night. A red light, shining up from the city. Ethan’s treatment of the piano and the ambient space he created around it makes it sound like it’s crackling and curling in the red light of a fire at night. And of course the ‘recording’ light on a tape machine is red. On top of all of this, I was thinking about people in my family who have lost their memory. I think ‘Red Light’ is also about them – are we all just archives of our own lives? What do we bring to the people we encounter? Would I be me if I forgot everything I had experienced? If my master tapes are gone, am I still here?