I wrote this in December, after having a conversation with a colleague and friend about my then-upcoming family visit in USA. At the time, I was anxious about having to face relatives that I sincerely have very little in common with yet remain presumptuous that nothing could be further from that truth, for some reason.
I had recorded this melody and rhythm years ago, and I just decided to use it for this particular song. This song got high marks from my friend and colleague, as she says, “it’s my favorite.” 🙂
In the song I acknowledge my past and its confusing history. I talk about home, “once familiar way to go,” and leaving it for “twice the time away to know,” meaning that I’ve been away from my birthplace for twice as long as I was living there. I felt that was an important statement with which to begin the song.
I sing my confusion and lessons of life, “built a wall and lost it, built a bridge and crossed it, built a life.” I talk about “getting the hell out of hell,” as a way to express the feeling I had that to leave was the only way to save myself from (any kind of) (premature) death.
The chorus/interlude makes some Christian reference and talks about redemption and forgiveness, trying my best to “see through the broken glass,” all the while actually blind to myself and my human potential. It is me, on my own, independently, who would eventually find a way to “believe in me.”
The last verse talks of the resulting surprise of my visit home, realizing that those who are supposed to love me most and best–family–are those most unfamiliar with current and contemporary self. “Those who would love don’t gotta see that a departure gets you home,” refers to a lack of understanding that my time away from home was absolutely necessary for me to survive and return as the complete individual I currently am. “I remember everything, pick up the phone it’s gonna ring, karma will tell you where to go,” is perhaps my way to say, “you’ll get what you deserve, whatever you did, it will catch up with you,” and that certainly is not as threatening as it is a refusal of myself as a victim–and it’s terribly uplifting.
Finally, I put it all in perspective and say that this song isn’t some great revelation or profound anything, it’s simply a statement from (this) one man.
In the 3 choruses, I use my English training experience and apply commonly used lessons like verb conjugation, prepositions and pronouns to sing about my self awareness, “I know who I am,” and motivation, “who I’ve been with and who I can’t run from.”
The bongos and drums were all done with my hands on the pads of the keyboard; I did not use any recorded rhythm because I couldn’t find what I was looking for so I just did it myself. The background instruments for the 3 choruses are actually a combination of 5 different instruments. Combined, they sound like an accordion, which gave this song’s strong rhythm a warm, familiar and comforting sound that sounds a bit like a drunk fire alarm–true to the nature of the artist. 😉