Relatively speaking, vocalist Bradley Walden is still “the new guy” in Emarosa, so naturally we know you're curious what was going on inside his head when he laid down the lyrics for his first album with the band. Walden was kind enough to go through Versus, which is out now on Rise Records, and tell us the meanings behind the tracks.
1. “People Like Me, We Just Don't Play”
I think this song is, in some ways, an unsure apology with a hint of self-reflection. Telling someone you know how awful a person you are, but you don't care. You don't care, but you're still sorry. Or at least you say you're sorry, because you feel it’s necessary. You don't know if you mean it. You’ve lost religion, because you can't find a god that’s yours. It's a metaphor for needing comfort in someone, but it never lasts long enough because you wind up not believing in it. Damn, I wasn't sure what this song was about until just now.
2. “American Deja Vu”
When two people who are terrible together can't pull themselves apart, you end up with a song like this. You have that feeling of knowing it'll hurt, knowing you're going to end up destroyed, but you still hold on. There’s that realization that you’re losing your identity in a love. You're not a “you” anymore, you're a “we.” It's such a bad love, but you can't shake it. So you pull each other down, deeper and deeper. If you're going to be miserable, it may as well be together.
3. “A Hundred Crowns”
This was a song I wrote for a very dear friend of mine. I was honored to write about something so personal. You can be in love with someone and have it still not be enough. Fundamental differences in life can completely overshadow what your heart wants. I don't want to be too specific, as I'd like to keep their anonymity intact.
4. “I'll Just Wait”
This song was written in about five minutes. I stepped into the vocal booth, started singing and broke down. This is by far the most emotional track on the record for me. Essentially, I rambled in the studio, the lyrics were immediate, and remain unchanged. There's such a raw emotion in it. It's simply about losing a love—the love—and waiting to get it back.
5. “But You Won't Love A Ghost”
I wrote about love a lot on this record. I was going through a triangle[S1] of emotions at the time regarding how I felt about it. It feels like this song is about moving on. There are times when we know we should leave, but we're so afraid of the confrontation, and so afraid of the unknown and losing that comfort. I was going through that when I wrote this. I knew it was time to go. I wasn't the same person that I had been. Hence, “You won't love a ghost.”
6. “Say Hello To The Bad Guy”
I don't know what this song is about yet, but I know it's my mom’s favorite song and, to me, that is so cool. She said I sound like Michael Jackson on this one. My mom raised me on MJ and I gave her those MJ vibes. That's all I need.
7. “Cliff Notes”
I had a hard time writing this song. Dealing with depression is such an exhausting and punishing struggle. One minute someone can be so happy and on top of the world, only to turn around and feel like they're the only person in it. There's a loneliness, a hopelessness. Sometimes to you need to write to whoever is out there. I don't think depression ever really goes away. It's ironic that this song can sound so happy when ultimately it’s asking someone not to jump.
Another push-and-pull song. If there's one thing I'm learning while listening to these songs, it's that I can't make up my mind how I want to feel. I was asking for forgiveness; I was asking for help. When I got neither, I needed you to know that no matter who you find, they won't complete you. You can try to fill the void, but I'm still here[S2] . I've given up on love and you can never come back to me. I'm pushing you away because of the things I've done.
9. “Gold Dust”
This song was written at a very angry time. I'm not ashamed to say I wrote this in regards to leaving my old band, Squid The Whale. I wasn't sure what the future held, but I was bitter for all the wrong reasons. A lot was happening. I was hurt, but also knew I played my part in how I felt. Since then, I've reconciled and still consider them friends. I also got to put my Patrick Stump vibes on this song, so that was rad.
10. “Same Tight Rope”
Love at first sight is a curse. Sometimes the timing is wrong. Two people eventually belong together, but they're not who they're going to be yet. Who knows if it's ever the right time? It makes me wonder how many times someone can fall in love. Maybe the heart just gives out, eventually.
11. “1996 On Bevard”
I've committed a lot of betrayal in my life. I've abandoned love, I've been young and careless. I was raised by my amazing mother, and I do the best I can, but I'm only human. I'll always have this fear that I’ll end up with regrets I can't fathom. The only thing I'm certain of in this song is the fear that I'll end up hurting someone so deeply that over a decade later, they're writing songs about how deeply they've been hurt. This song is pretty self-explanatory.