Passing Harsher Blog Breakdown: Anything To Say

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 4 on the record: Anything To Say.

Listen to the album in full on bandcamp!

Stream “Anything To Say” and then read on for the official lyrics and my blog breakdown.

Anything To Say (Official Lyrics)

When all you want is to be part of something
All your words are just dead weight
Everybody wants to be somebody
Without finding out just who that is
Don’t you wanna be more than something?
Don’t you have anything to say?
Don’t you want to be somebody?
Don’t you have anything to say?

When the one who lights the fire
Is dampening the flames
It’s not a hero’s story
It’s a sham and a shame
Wasting the potential
Of a mind just as great
Losing sight of the mission
On the out looking in

Don’t you wanna be more than something?
Don’t you have anything to say?
Don’t you wanna be somebody?
Don’t you have anything to say?

When you’re just clipping headlines
Just to rearrange
You might create a story
But in someone else’s name
Wasting the potential
Of what could’ve been
All in on nothing,
Same as not buying in

Don’t you wanna be more than something?
Don’t you have anything to say?
Don’t you wanna be somebody?
Don’t you have anything to say?

Full disclosure this might be my favourite song on the record. I love how poppy it is and the way it builds to a more aggressive outro without losing any melodic sensibility.

This is a pretty straight foreward one and it keeps with the same theme and ideas that I talked about on the previous blog post for All That Remains.

If All That Remains is about the act of songwriting, then Anything To Say is about what compels us to write.

When I started writing music again in 2020 after what I can only describe now as a completely uncalled for hiatus, it took me a while before I felt in any way prepared to actually release anything original and that’s because my attitude towards music had changed so much since I first started as a teenager.

When I felt that drive towards putting my first band together when I was 13, I had no real goal outside of, “I want to tour, I want to play shows, I want to perform”. And while there’s nothing wrong with those being the driving factor towards any music career, it wasn’t enough for me now in my 30’s.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about just that. What do I really want to say and when is it best to say it? And beyond that, is it my place to say it? Have I done enough work on myself to feel warranted in speaking out about (x) issue and is it coming from an authentic place that’s aiming to find a solution rather than create a problem?

I’ll try to explain what I mean a little bit.

In verse 2 when I start talking about clipping headlines, it makes me think about people that jump onto the current raging social issue and claiming it as their own fight. Plenty of people are guilty of this and it’s entirely too easy to find yourself doing the same. It’s great to want to speak up about whatever injustice has knicked your craw today (there are just so many, aren’t there?) but what are you actually doing to help the issue, or are you just using it to get your own voice added to the top of the pile?

I get frustrated with artists that seem to just take advantage of these types of opportunities and use them to promote themselves and their work, but when it all comes down to it they’re not actually actively reaching out to their communities or trying to educate anybody on why it’s important, they just want to say, “hey, my new single vaguely talks about human rights and so I’m gonna hop onto this recent headline about this guy who was killed this week in hopes that you’ll listen to it”.

To backpedal a little, in Verse 1 I’m talking about a whole other breed of person who does this to an extreme level and my best example is also a documentary recommendation: Killer Ratings. You can probably catch it on Netflix still. I don’t wanna spoil it for ya, but in short it’s about a Brazil-based journalist who started arranging murders in order to be the first to report on them, which is seriously a whole new level of insane and shows you how far some people are willing to go for a little notoriety.

To give you something else to think about when you listen to “Anything To Say,” it’s about making sure you’re walking that walk that you’re trying so hard to get others to join you on.

When I was solidifying what types of messages I wanted my music to help promote, I had to take some seriously long hard looks at myself and what that would mean about me as an individual, too. I talk a lot about alcoholism and drug abuse and if I had continued drinking or engaging in any sort of behaviour I’ve been actively trying to encourage others not to engage in, I know I’d be doing myself and any audience of mine a massive disservice. It’d be like when you find out that like, over half of the CEO’s of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) since its inception have been convicted for drunk driving and it makes you lose complete faith in the entire operation. (Citation needed, but for a while this was regularly making headlines and I’m not sure MADD has ever recovered from it).

It’s important to know where you stand whenever you’re part of an organization like that – it’s great that you’re passionate enough to be involved but, if you’re not in the right headspace mentally yourself while trying to help others, you’re hurting the entire cause.

There’s one more little message tucked away here in “Anything To Say” and it’s something I’ve had to think a fair bit about while navigating myself through being both an original artist and a cover-song-artist with my Death Bus For Blondie and Jaimee Eat World projects. There were a few times in the beginning of those projects where I found myself wondering if I was going to be spending too much time promoting their work over becoming better at my own. Sometimes when I really feel like I’ve nailed a Jimmy Eat World cover, for example (have you heard Dizzy yet? It came out yesterday), I think that it’s a little silly that I’m not just focusing on nailing every single one of my own in the same way. In the worst of times, it feels like you’re wasting your own potential to talk about the things you want to talk about, in your own words, with your own arrangements.

It’s the same type of thought-process I go through when I think back to how many years I spent working in recording studios for other artists instead of working towards my own goals as an artist in my own right. Of course, the difference is, back then I didn’t have the confidence to focus on myself in that way and wasn’t sure I belonged in that field – it was something I wanted to do but couldn’t fully see myself being regarded in the same standard as my favourite songwriters. And, to bring us back to the main message of the song, I guess I didn’t really have anything to say yet – nothing important enough gnawing at me to write about, sing about, scream about or play. Besides, who would listen anyway?

The biggest difference now is I’ve realized how wrong about a lot of things I have been. I’ve actually always had a lot to say but I hadn’t put in that personal work to be able to confidently say them, to be so bold in my own convictions. Like, I can’t be promoting that kids play music over going to the bars when I myself am constantly at the bars. I can’t be promoting hikes over smoking weed when I’m sat in my room playing video games with glazed eyes.

And I wavered for years in this being a space I belonged or should strive towards because I just never saw people quite like myself in this industry. That does numbers on your confidence especially as a young woman interested in rock and punk music.

But now that I’ve found myself in a place where I understand, to the best of my ability at the time of writing this, why I have always been driven towards these types of creative outlets, why I do in fact have every right to be here in this space (largely be because of that whole… there isn’t active representation of people like me here, and so I need to be here), and that as long as I continue to remember what’s important to me I will continue to find value in all the effort that all of this takes, what I also want to do is tell you, whoever you are reading this, is that you can and should, too.

When I say “Don’t you want to be somebody?” what I’m really asking is,

“Who are you now and who do you want to be?”

because… you can be that person.

“Don’t you have anything to say?”

You and your story is important – tell us about it, in whatever way you’re driven to tell it.

“Don’t you want to be more than something?”

The possibility is limitless – don’t let anybody tell you what you can or can’t do.

Next time I’ll jump into…. you guessed it – Track 5! It’s called “What I’ve Been Doing”.

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