LYRICS: Twenty-Six & full of it, sifting through the bullshit of my fading youth’s façade, young enough to feel the spark, & old enough to fear the dark, balancing upon the line against what it means to burn. & still I yearn, hanging by a thread, of anything that’s left of my innocence, alas, looking for reflection in shards & broken pieces of shattered glass. For all it’s worth in change, have I remained the same? Having known enough to guide my fate, while impending prospects, they wane, against a solid faith in drought; I pray & wait for rain. & still I yearn, resolved in the fires of my conviction, in spite of my condition, you found me, under heavy tide, a blinding absolution in warming rays of light, you are my song.
INTERPRETATION: “It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards.” ~Soren Kierkegaard
Twenty-Six is one of Shadowlands’ more personal offerings, grappling with conceptions of God, faith, existential nihilism/absurdism, & crippling doubt. It’s about accepting the brokenness of our human condition & having faith that meaning is attainable, in spite of our limitations.
INSPIRATION: As the title would suggest, Twenty-Six is one of my aforementioned birthday poems, penned during the sixth year of my second decade of life, et cetera.
INSIGHT: The original 8-track demo for Twenty-Six was written on guitar & is considerably more upbeat. But given its heavily contemplative themes, I felt a somber piano ballad would be more appropriate for the Shadowlands version. Structurally, the song cycles around a repeated four-chord progression. This setup naturally limits chording & vocal breadth, leaving room for other dynamics to fill out the arrangement. These flourishes include layered strings, bells, saturated plate reverberations, warm tape chorus modulations, & restive guitar ambience. While these elements were all tracked individually, the core piano\vocal tracks were recorded live. If you listen closely, you can hear the key noise picked up by the vocal mic. Speaking of vocals (pun intended), most of the harmonies are stacked tightly to mimic a monastic choral effect.