Track By Track: Of Mice & Men

June 16, 2011
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“Product Of A Murderer”

This one hits home every time I hear it. To be 100 percent honest, this entire song is about addiction to any kind of substance, [such as] alcohol or drugs. Shayley and I heard this song as something dark, but we wanted to make more of it—hence the ending, which will come soon enough. People I know, people I love and myself have battled the life-threatening, hurtful, bitter and heartless enemy of addiction to substances. The addiction to something that will make you do things you shouldn't or would never think of: “I'll change face, to get what I crave.” It's hard for people to realize that the simple craving of a human being for something more can ruin his or her life, relationships [or] dreams. We have lived this, we have experienced this, we have had “cold sweats, the pain, the skin crawling, the shame….” from the burden of addiction.

The end of this song is where we wanted the “more” to come in—the hope, the light at the end of the tunnel. We really want people to know that they can overcome this. There is help for those in need, there is hope for those that are scared of this world and those that want to numb the very life that they are blessed with. There is something more; there is something worth living for. There is no reason to be another product of something that kills, steals and destroys—no reason to be another victim of a murderer, thief or liar like an addictive substance. There's hope, and we want to make that something that's beyond easily accessible for anyone who listens.

“Repeating Apologies”

[The] first time I heard this song was in San Jose, California, when Alan called me and said, “Dude, I just wrote one of the coolest things, I'm coming over and you gotta listen and tell me what you think!” Mind you, this was at 11 p.m., and we were going to meet the very next morning anyways to practice some new material. He drove 20 minutes, we listened in his car and six months later it ended up on the Of Mice & Men album! The words to this one are so straightforward, so raw. I can imagine playing this live and completely breaking down. You listen to the entire track, and it sounds as if we are singing and screaming at the listener or [screaming] out to someone else, because we want desperately for them to come back to us: “Looking back at the mistakes I've made, please come home to me, I'll show you truth, I'm all for you.” We are begging, pleading for this person to be with us again. We have done something unforgivable, something to make them want nothing to do with us anymore, [and] we are completely miserable and sick with what we have done and will do anything to make it better.

The song slows down [at the lyrics] “I hope you know, I hope you know, I've never done this before” [and is] followed by a distant scream [from me in which I state] “You've ruined me” and then, “I bet you're sorry, you've lied to my face.” One last line closes the song, and that is the most important [thing] for [listeners] to understand: “All these words that I've said are the words that I wanted to hear from you to me.”  This is stating that every word in this song is exactly what I was waiting for, and obviously was exactly what never came.

“The Great Hendowski”

First and foremost, this song is named after a good friend of mine, Alex Hendowski, and it was in his house we created about a quarter of the material for The Flood. We couldn't think of a name for this one, so it was obvious to name it after someone close, right? The guys originally gave me heat for the lyrics, because the whole first line is literally talking about a bum: “I met a guy with some coins in his can.” Cheesy, I know, but I wanted to tell a story, almost like narrating: “He looked up to me and asked, how can you smile with your lips wrapped around a loaded gun, look at this life, is this all we've got?” He is crying out, asking how I can go through my day with a smile on my face, knowing death could be around every corner. Asking me to look at life, and wondering if this is all there is to it.

When I start in on the next verse I sing to him about what is written in red in the Bible. In most Bibles, anything that Jesus said was quoted with red ink. (“Read this book, you were meant to live, it all means so much to me, but note what's written in red.”) I told him about how it all meant something important, but to especially note what Jesus said. No matter what you believe, or if you even believe He existed, you can read what He said to people and clearly see the same repeated subject: love. He spoke about it, shared it, lived it and wanted everyone to experience it. “There's no hole inside, no time that's long enough, there's nothing that can't be covered with love.” This song is about hope, love and seeing the beauty in life. There's no reason to give up, and there is no one too lost that love cannot reach. I truly believe it's about time people start spreading a little more of this.

“I'm A Monster”

I recorded this song quicker than any other on the album. Within an hour, I went from being outside on the phone with someone, to that phone being thrown into the woods, to inside with the entire song finished. We all had a lot of fun working around this one, and it, too, is another track that Alan had thought up and we polished off. The lyrics speak for themselves, and the song pretty much sums up every “negative” note on the album with this: “I'm so sick of your kind, get out of my life.” I'm going to leave this one at that. But like Gaga would say, “That boy is a monster.”

“When You Can't Sleep at Night”

Shayley really outdid himself on this one; he came up with the entire song, and used it as a blank page to really spill a lot. The message conveyed is something that we in the band all have experienced and understand, so this track making the album had to happen. It's titled “When You Can't Sleep at Night” because even as sad as it may sound, it's full of compassion, reassurance and love—a lullaby of sorts. The line, “Here in this world, I'm awaked with mistakes but it's love that keeps fueling me” says so much. Followed by, “I know I'm not that perfect, but you stay awhile baby, then you will see.” Shay is really explaining that he knows things may not be the best—things may be shaky or rough, but love can overcome that. And the bond between two people can overcome anything.

You have something golden; you hold onto it. You find something special, live in it. Time should never be an issue. You miss that someone so much it hurts? Then listen to this song when you can't sleep at night.

Written by AltPress