Track By Track: Allison Weiss, ‘Say What You Mean’

April 15, 2013 by Altpress

Track By Track: Allison Weiss, ‘Say What You Mean’

Allison Weiss will release her upcoming album, Say What You Mean tomorrow (April 16) via No Sleep Records. Today, exclusively on AltPress, Weiss gives you an intimate look inside her newest songs. Read on to learn more from Weiss about her writing process and what the new songs mean


1. “MAKING IT UP”
Sometimes this thing happens when you break up with somebody, where you go from being best friends, to not even speaking. Sometimes it happens so fast you can't even remember if you were actually together. I wrote this song in a hotel room in Florida. I was doing a college show and decided to stay an extra day to get out of the city. I drank some wine and wrote in my journal. It was pretty emo. This song came out of that.

2. “ONE WAY LOVE”
This is one of the first songs I wrote for the album. I think when you first hear the term "one-way love," it sounds like a bad thing, but it's actually good! In this context I'm talking about the kind of love that's always moving forward and getting better. The verses came easily, but I couldn't figure out how to fit a chorus in there until my friend and producer Chris Kuffner was like, "Oh, it's easy, what if you just sang the title of the song?" and I was like, "Fuck yeah."

3. NOTHING LEFT
Another sad one! Are you stoked yet?! So, I think it's pretty common to feel like you're over something, but have it still affect you in a way you just can't control. "Nothing Left" is my personal account of that. Like “One Way Love,” I wrote the verses first but the chorus was harder to nail down. I pretty much put it off until the day we were supposed to start recording, and I spent about eight straight hours trying to figure it out. It almost felt like a math problem, the kind where you're totally frustrated until suddenly it clicks and your heart explodes!

4. “I WAS AN ISLAND”
This song has been around for a while. It started as a small acoustic opener to my last record …Was Right All Along. When we started working on Say What You Mean, I had been playing more full-band electric shows with my friend Andrew Futral on bass. I had also just gotten really into Pinkerton (I was late, I was so late. Forgive me!) and Andrew suggested that "Island" would sound cool as a big, loud Weezer-style anthem, so we were playing it like that live and decided to record it. I figured if Dashboard Confessional could have the same song on multiple albums, I could, too.

5. “HOW TO BE ALONE”
This is technically the first song I wrote for Say What You Mean. It started as a quiet folk song. It was soft and sad, exactly how I felt at the time. The thing is, I had already decided that "Wait For Me" would be on the record, and I didn't want to have too many slow jams. Kuffner suggested we speed it up and make it rock a little more. The second half came about a year after the first. I locked myself in a basement rehearsal space and tried to just say everything I had been holding back. As a result, this one is pretty personal. I get very emotional at the end. I'm turning red writing this. Don't look at me.

6. “WAIT FOR ME”
I wrote "Wait For Me" a few years ago, after my first trip to New York. This song is just about missing something you're far away from. I was stuck in Georgia finishing up my last couple years of college. I was flying to Brooklyn every chance I could get, playing shows and making friends, going places and meeting people I was falling in love with. Every time I went, it got harder and harder to fly home. I feel like this song will stay with me forever. I don't think I'll ever not relate to it.

7. “DON'T GO”
Here's a secret: This song is really old. I wrote it in college and I've always loved it but never recorded it. I thought it was too intense! I love how it ended up though. This and "Island" were the first couple songs that Kuffner and I worked on. We liked what was happening so we decided to make a whole record. This one fit with the theme I was going for. It's fast and desperate. It's about figuring out your problems, being confused, trying to be strong, etc.

8. “HOLE IN YOUR HEART”
This is the intense one. This is the mean song. I feel a little weird about it. I'm embarrassed by the title. The thing is, I'm glad I wrote it. The song itself is a story about a bad weekend and all the heartache that followed. Musically, it started a little bouncier; it was a little more folk-influenced, but it didn't feel like I wanted it to. Kuffner and I decided to shelve it for a few months and come back [to it] later. Turns out it was the right move. When we came back to it, things finally made sense. It needed to be darker, so we made it darker.

9. “SAY WHAT YOU MEAN”
The title track is actually the last song I wrote for the record. This is your standard tale of unrequited love. It's about a summer spent lonely and reckless, falling for people you shouldn't fall for. "Say What You Mean" is one of my favorites on the record and the title definitely sums up all of it. I'm trying so hard to follow my own advice. I'm also crazy about the chorus. The synth line Kuffner wrote is the best. I love the disjointed drums in the verses. The whole thing just feels so good to play live. It's exactly what I've always wanted to do.

10. “I'LL BE OKAY”
It was hard to figure out how to end this record. I definitely wasn't sure about this one. I sort of wanted to go out with a bang, put something fun at the end, and leave people feeling good, but when we were trying to figure out the order, "I'll Be Okay" felt wrong everywhere else. In the end, it was the right decision—I think it's a perfect closer. This whole album is just a sad singer figuring out her problems and trying to have a good time doing it. I think in order to get over anything you just have to accept it and move on. This is that.

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