15TH & HOPE is all about perspective and its many faces. It’s about more than hope, it’s about action towards the life you want, it’s ready to stumble, fall, scrape its knee but soldier on and get closer to where you want to be.
Or maybe it’s just a collection of songs from a guy who took a little longer to grow up than most, I don’t know.
Pretty is a song about taking your life back without screaming about it. It’s a matter-of-fact ode to deciding who you are and what you give is worth getting.
I wrote this about my wife without declaring it’s about her. It’s just making sense of the journey to love or happiness, I guess.
This was the last song written for the album and I wrote it after we had started, but knew it had to go on. I came up with the whole thing really quickly and the guys latched right on to it.
My wife and I had just had our second child, Jasper, and this lyric is about Lisa (my wife) and me finding each other in this crazy world. How does that happen? A girl from Ohio and a boy from New York? The stars just align. Anyway, it’s about belief, faith. Similar theme to “Pretty,” but just reminding myself that there has got to be SOMETHING out there that you “must believe to see” that puts this beautiful boy in our hands every day.
3. Full Of Doubt
After we did the demos for 15TH & HOPE, we all took a little breather. My family went to Los Angeles for a month to unwind. The plan was to wait a month, pick a producer, tour and then go into the studio. I found my way into a few more songs. This whole chorus just shot through me into the guitar and out of my mouth. I think Lisa and I had a little disagreement and she is able to not argue when “all I want to do is shout.” So that’s where that came from. The next day I started writing words about people around you who may not have your best interest in mind.
Definitely the darkest moment of the album. Life and relationships can be difficult. Sometimes you break a few eggs making an omelet, right? This is about some broken eggs. I wrestle with faith and the concept of a God. Not sure where I fall on that argument, so I speak about it more than most, probably. Working it out in my head.
I love this one. Phil Ramone had us slow it down and strip it back. It was late the night we recorded it and the room was all dark and vibey. Phil clicks into our ears after a good take and says, “Ray would have been proud to have sung this.” He meant Ray Charles. I still get giddy repeating the story. This is about knowing what your loves means to you and declaring it. The issue of God comes up again. I have work to do on that one.
I didn’t know what I was thinking with this one when I wrote it. Sometimes songs reveal themselves to you later on. This is about people who torture each other, but can’t find a way out. We’ve all been there.
7. Everyone But Me
This one seems to be a classic boy/girl theme, but it isn’t. It’s a relationship, but not romantic. This is a person drowning with addiction and looking for some help and every time he turns to his “friend,” it ends poorly. I’ve never been addicted to more than chocolate, but it’s got to be so miserable.
8. On Your Own Side
There comes a point when a bad relationship leaves you numb. You forget why you even got together, and one day the sun comes up and you’re done. This is that moment.
9. Fairy Tales & Miracles
I grew up on Long Island. I’m glad I did, but I’m also glad I got out. It felt like living in a vacuum to me. I don’t mean any disrespect by this. It works for some people. I recently went back and was really surprised at how many of my friends still lived in the same area and all hung out together at the same bars in town. It was like time stood still. For some that’s good. For others, not so much.
10. Hand Over Your Heart
This is about seizing your moment. Sometimes the best thing, the right thing, is the thing you’re in. It’s learning to embrace it.
11. Save Me
This is my Bruce Springsteen tribute, I suppose. This sort of sums up the last four songs on the album. Life just keeps motoring on, and the good and the bad and the ugly all pile up. We can all use an Etch-A-Sketch from time to time.
12. The Way It Is
I read an article about a woman who lost the love of her life and just didn’t know how she was supposed to carry on, what life could even look like without this person. So she tries to commit suicide. Doesn’t work. So down at the local bar the gossip starts. People who love her and people who don’t even know her. They all have an opinion, but you know if she walked in they’d all smile and put on the perfect poker face. The next story at the bar is about a couple who had been together just as long, but were getting a divorce. Again, everyone has an opinion. “I knew it” or “I never saw it coming!” And it all ends where you can’t really find resolve from a strong love that meets its end. That’s just the way it is.
13. 15TH & Hope
This is barely a song. It’s really just the “light” version of “The Way It Is” which says there’s always hope and a hole on every corner. It’s our choice as to which we decide to step into.