I Think We're Alone Now
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Faded Like A Feeling
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Faded Like A Feeling

Turned our phones off and we changed like the seasons.
96

Sara -

Since we’re releasing another song this week from our upcoming album Crybaby — called Faded Like A Feeling — I thought I’d go back and tell the story of the song as I remember it; a new variation on a lyric annotation.

You thought the song should have been called Faded, but that felt like a nickname, and in my opinion the song is worthy of a full name. I know the second we get on tour, it will always go on the set list as Faded. But still. I’m glad it has a full name on the album.

At the video shoot for the song last week, we said that Faded Like A Feeling is the Call It Off of our new album. But Call It Off was an ode to what could have been and Faded Like A Feeling is about a relationship that happened.

Of course, the song didn’t start out as Faded Like A Feeling, and it wasn’t initially about loss; it was about love.

I looked back through my email and the first version of this song I sent you was on October 16th, 2021. It was called Turn Our Phones Off. I used an instrumental of your song called Cynic to build a session to write to. In the end, I just lifted the chord progression and moved to acoustic guitar, which is what I recorded and sent to you. I note in my message that I was trying for a song like Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You. I don’t know if that’s really true, but the word faded appears in the original lyrics so perhaps that’s why it was on the tip of my tongue.

The lyrics of the original changed almost entirely between this first version and the final on the album, but you can see that some of the original ideas did manage to stick around. Turn Our Phones Off was more romantic, more about my current relationship than a past one. But sometimes, writing about something you have isn’t half as interesting as writing about something you’ve lost.

You challenged me to write something a little deeper; you said you liked the melodies and thought it was a song worth working on. You noted it was a song we needed (an acoustic ballad) for the album, and I should take it further, keep chipping away at it before we went to Los Angeles to finish the album.

Want to hear early demos of ‘Faded Like A Feeling’? Consider becoming a paid subscriber to listen to the audio associated with this post!

So I deconstructed it and started to play with the idea of a relationship that had ended, as opposed to one that’s currently active. I kept the romance in version 2.0, much of the original lyrics remained, but the chorus became the verse, and I added some new chords, something sadder.

Been a while since we talked, and you feel like a stranger

There’s a quiet now between us, and I feel like a stranger

You changed like the seasons, and I faded like a feeling

You said you liked the changes, and we decided to work on it more in LA. We rented a studio space for two days in Hollywood to work on the song before we went in with John Congleton to finish the last few songs of the album. In the first five minutes we were in the space we got into a fight. Both of us ended up crying. It was our usual “no you listen to me” and ” could you let me finish a sentence” fight — a familiar melody we often sing when left alone. Sometimes we need a mediator but we were without one that day. Eventually, you left to have lunch with our agent, and I stayed alone in the space to lick my wounds. I felt sorry for myself and I called Sofia. I vented and then after I picked up the guitar and tried to make the most of the studio time while I had it.

Trying not to fight the day after our fight.

I no longer felt any interest in writing or singing a song that felt romantic and light, and dropped the key a half step. When we met I worried that you and me sparked too easy popped into my head as I moped my way through the chord pattern. I lifted the line Did me in, with your grief, we grew into something heavy from Are You Sorry That You Married Her, a song of mine we weren’t recording. I still really loved the new chorus I’d written before we left for LA and it sounded even sadder now half a step-down. I changed the strumming pattern to fingerpicking and so I had to adjust the melody and the syncopation slightly. I landed on:

Been a while we lost touch I feel like a stranger 

I ran out on you love, hope that you don’t blame me

I changed like the seasons, and you faded like a feeling

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Verse two was a breeze. I lifted another line from Are You Sorry That You Married Her. When we met, I noticed that you and me got hurt too easy. After that, I struggled with where to go, but my brain pushed a lyric of yours that I love from a song called Life/Death! we weren’t going to record and I felt glee — literal glee — stealing it. Your line was, Tangled in the dark we got lazy, but I needed more syllables, so it became Tangled up in the dark it felt like we got lazy. 

I had my verse two.

I adjusted the second chorus slightly, as I like to do. You always tease me about this. I wanted the story to evolve. Instead of saying I’d lost touch, it felt time to talk about the other person in the relationship.

Been a while since we talked you feel like a stranger 

I ran out on you love, I wish you didn’t blame me

I changed like the seasons, and you faded like a feeling

I returned to Life/Death! to look for more inspiration. The bridge ended up a collaboration between you and I, even though you weren’t there and I was pissed at you. I pulled more of my favourite bits from your song. Your lines were:

Even when I'm standing right next to ya, nothing but an echo

Even when I'm staring straight right at ya, nothing but a shadow

Reconstructing them to fit the mood, tone and space of my new bridge I made them my own. When we got into the studio to record the song, you suggested it be a duet. I’d sing the first half of the line, and you’d answer.

Even when I was lying right there next to you, I was nothing but a shadow

Even when I was crying right there next to you, I was nothing but an echo 

For the final double chorus, I once again adjusted slightly the story and changed a few words. The song is basically a Wordle now; its slightly varied choruses provide a mental challenge every time I have to sing it.

Been a while we lost touch, I feel like a stranger

I ran out on you love, I hate that you blame me

I changed like the seasons, and we faded like a feeling

Been a while since we talked, you feel like a stranger

I ran out on you love, hope that you don’t hate me

I gave you every reason, but I just lost the feeling

I changed like the seasons, and you faded like a feeling

I’m left wondering how I will remember the different variations of the four choruses. But I feel like it’s going to create work and a great song takes work. And like Faded Like A Feeling deserved a full name, it also deserves my full attention. I will have to give it all my attention on stage to keep it all straight. Hopefully, the effort I put in to writing the song and remembering the four different variations of the chorus will translate to work I’m willing to put into all my relationships, including the one I have with you and to songwriting. You’re one of my favorite songwriters and it makes me so happy to sing Faded Like A Feeling because I got to take some of my most favorite words you’ve ever written and make them ours.

-Tegan

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