Passing Harsher Blog Breakdown: All That Remains

This post is part of the ongoing blog breakdown series where I dive into the official lyrics, stories and thoughts that inspired the lyrics for the recently released Passing Harsher album. If you haven’t yet, give the record a spin on bandcamp and jump back to the first blog on this record by clicking this handy link.

Today we’re talking about track 3 on the record: All That Remains.

Listen to the album in full on bandcamp!

Stream “All That Remains” and then read on for the official lyrics and my blog breakdown.

All That Remains (Official Lyrics)

Time tends to stay
While we rearrange
Cutting hearts into shapes
Disguised love as pain
To put on display
For someone else’s gain

Til all that remains
The signs of suffering
Boats and paper cranes
Sinking under the weight
Baggage left unclaimed
Of those they couldn’t take

Til they’re washed away
By the thrashing waves
To feed the sea
And what’s underneath

Time tends to stay
While we recreate
Houses full of clay
From straw to slate
To hold the names
Of those we gave

Til they’re washed away

“All That Remains” is sort of about two things. On the one hand, it’s mostly describing the process of songwriting and what it means to be a songwriter, but in doing that it’s also talking about reflecting on life experiences and how those shape us as people.

Sometimes when I’m writing and taking the true stories that either I’ve gone through personally or people around me have gone through, it feels a little hollow and self-serving. There’s a certain tendency when viewing yourself and people you know to want to dress up the experience and make it sound better, but in a lot of situations, because of the subject matters I tend to be drawn to write about, I find that impossible without becoming disingenous.

And by then end of it all you’ve put on full display a moment in time in yours or someone’s life for the benefit of other peoples enjoyment, or, in the case of if you’re an actively selling artist, for some sort of financial gain. There’s a funny moral line you toe every time you make this decision as an artist and I think for a lot of people it can be difficult to embrace what you’re doing.

Is it exploitive? A little, yeah, it’s impossible for it not to be.

Okay, so who am I exploiting and am I okay with that? That’s where it gets challenging.

Sometimes I find myself utterly compelled to tell a story but I know that if the people who it involves or is about would read or hear it, they might not take to kindly to my interpretation of events. That’s where the act of rearranging and dressing things up using carefully crafted descriptive language because an art in and of itself and it’s probably my favourite part of this whole thing.

Ultimately even the most damning of stories eventually wash away with all the others to leave space for newer and more interesting ones.

And so we began again from scratch, rebuilding, reimagining, reflecting and recreating the themes and ideas we want to showcase.

In the final verse, when I’m speaking about building houses to hold the names of those we gave, I’m speaking about using songwriting as a way to remember and commemorate those lives that I am using as the focal point of these stories.

To me, every song is a grave and the lyrics, its epitaph.

Next time on the blog, I’ll get into what might be my favourite song on the record: track 4 – Anything To Say.

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