Inspiration(s)

STORIES BEHIND THE SONGS & SONGS FACTS

First of all, Tom draw his inspiration from the musical band The Ramones for the lyrics of his songs. After his car accident in 1999, his songs became more personnal and then he realised people can easier relate to the lyrics.

• 1234

Tom considers it as the best song of the band. (Rolling Stone Magazine)

• Airplane

Tom said : « Mike had this instrumental piece of guitar music floating around for years. I always loved it, but didn’t really know what to do with it. Every time he would play it backstage, we would all say, ‘Damn, we have to turn that into a song.’ I made him do a quick recording of it for me so I could try to write some lyrics and a vocal melody. I couldn’t come up with anything, so it was kind of forgotten for a while. Luckily, it popped into my head while I was sitting on a plane, waiting for take off. I just started hearing this haunting melody in my head and jotted down some lyrics about being on the plane. This song has a very nightmarish quality because so many people are scared of flying. I think this is one of the most important songs for the feel and flow of this album. » (Alternative Press)

• Body Parts

Tim said : « This track was written for a girl I had been with for more than a decade. I was trying to describe that feeling you get when you wake up in the morning expecting her to be laying beside you and your heart sinks when you remember she’s gone. I thought it would be interesting to have the body parts mourning their loss together. Sometimes a breakup hurts all over, and that’s what I was trying to put into words. »(Alternative Press)

• Boomerang

Tom said about this song : « The story of my life. I always end up falling for the wrong girl. No matter how crazy she is or how bad she treats me, I can’t break my fascination with her. I just keep coming back for more. It’s kind of a sad reality, but set to some soaring melodies, it makes for the most infectious song on the album. » (Alternative Press)

• Broken Records

Tom said :  « I am a very nostalgic guy, and I tend to romanticize my memories a lot. Needless to say, past lovers are always popping in and out of my head. I can’t help but think about them and wonder where they are, who they’re dating and what they’re doing in life. It’s a bittersweet feeling because it’s nice to remember these people, but it’s sad to think you may never see them again. So for a while, I let them dance in my head and enjoy the memory. » (Alternative Press)

• Cirque Dans La Rue

According to Tom, « This is the most unique and exciting song on the album, and definitely one of my favorites. The whole concept for the album was inspired by the Cirque Du Soleil show O. This song is kind of my tribute to the guts, the creativity and the emotion that show delivered. For me, this is the climax of the album. » (Alternative Press)

• Friends Don’t Let Friends Dial Drunk

Tom said : « Basically, there was a time where there were a few different girls who would call me up. They’re all like, ‘I love you, I miss you, I can’t wait to see you!’ And then when you do actually see that person a few days later, they’re like ‘oh, did I call you the other night? I’m sorry, I was so drunk.’ They act like they don’t know what they were doing, they don’t remember, and they’re like a cold fish and want nothing to do with you in real life. » (clickmusic.com)

• Hate (I Really Don’t Like You)

« Personally for me », said De’mar, « there’s a song we have called ‘Hate.’ I think a lot of our songs can have a personal affect on basically anyone. I think that’s the beauty of our lyrics, they’re not that hard to get, but at the same time people can relate to them and say ‘wow I know what this guy’s saying,’ especially with the song called ‘Hate (I Really Don’t Like You).’ It’s a little bit personal to me because I have been through that situation where I think it’s the best thing ever and I’m all excited and telling all my friends about it and she winds up to not be for real. That’s kind of what the song’s about. » (ilikemusic.com)

• Haven’t Told Her

This song was written by Tim for Jenna Reeves, the girl he met thanks to « Ready For Love ».

• Helium

The lyrics were inspired by Tom’s car accident and his son’s birth.

• Hey There Delilah

Tom felt this was possibly the most well-crafted song on the album: « I think I definitely spent the most time on the lyrics with that song. It’s a lyric-driven song, so every line was important. It’s very exposed and vulnerable, but it’s very simple. » (clickmusic.com)

De’Mar explained how this song came to be written : « It’s an acoustic song that was written about 5 years ago. It was actually written before I was in the band. But our singer, Tom, met a girl, a real girl, her name was Delilah, and he met her through a friend. Nothing really happened between them but he tried to swoon her a little bit, so he told her he’d written a song about her, but he really hadn’t written a song about her. He was just trying to be cute and kind of goofy. And then he actually did go and write a song about her. » He added that Tom and Delilah were friends who’d seen each other maybe a total of 5 times, but they didn’t really keep in touch. « But she likes the song. »
Dave added : « We still have contact with her every now and then and she is a nice girl and I remember when we met her back in the day Tom just was smitten with her and he was just kind of flirting with her and he was talking about writing a songs about her and she responded by kind of goofing around and saying oh where is my song I want to hear this thing and he kind of had to put his money where his mouth is and he started writing the thing. He got about 4 lines into it and just writing about how she had gone off to school and how much he missed her and what not. Then he kind of spun that into what would you want to say to any girl in your life that you were totally head over heels for, what were all the sings you would want to cram into one little conversations then he kind of channeled that into the song. » (ilikemusic.com)
Delilah DiCrescenzo is a professional step runner. She thought Tom was  kidding about « her » song, so she was very surprised when he came with a CD which 13rd track was « Hey There Delilah ». Delilah is with her boyfriend for years and the song’s story is fictional. But she accepted to go with the band to the Grammy Awards when the song was nominated.
The song’s lullaby has been influenced by the Beatles’ « Yesterday ».
Tim considered this song as the best song of the band. (Rolling Stone magazine)

• Irrational Anthem

« Lyrically, » said Tom Higgenson, « I think it says exactly what I want the album to say. I think the line that sums up the whole album is Let your mind go anywhere it wants to. Don’t lose your imagination. Don’t get so wrapped up in your day-to-day life that you forget to dream or be creative, or forget to recapture those things or at least remember them. That’s the beauty of life. I’m a very nostalgic guy, so a lot of where my head lives is in memories. I spend a lot of my time looking back and smiling at past things that have happened in my life. The writing process for the album was exciting because I knew exactly the theme and feeling I wanted it to have before writing a single note. I knew I wanted to take chances and step out of my comfort zone as often as possible. ‘Irrational Anthem’ was written as a few different pieces that I knew fit together somehow. I just had to put the puzzle together. The lyrics perfectly embody and foreshadow what the entire album is all about. As soon as I finished writing it, I knew it would be the first track on the album. » (Alternative Press)

• Killer

For Tom, « This is the darkest and possibly coolest track on the album. It’s ‘cool’ in the sense that I could hear it in a Quentin Tarantino movie. It has a badass quality to it that Plain White T’s usually can’t ever pull off. The funny thing is that it’s a love song – a very sick and demented love song that asks, ‘How evil and wrong can I be before you stop loving me? Will you be by my side no matter what I do, and no matter who I am?’ It’s a true test of love under the most grim circumstances. » (Alternative Press)

• Last Breath

This song nearly didn’t make it onto « Wonders of the Younger ». « ‘Last Breath’ is a hopeless song about a relationship that sucks the life right out of you. The relationship started out great, but now it’s a struggle to get back to those good times. This song was so dark and personal that I actually didn’t want it on the album. Tim loved it, and he got everyone else in the band on board. Reluctantly, I gave in and agreed to record it, fighting and bitching the whole time about how it didn’t belong on the record. I don’t usually admit this, but I was wrong. » (Alternative Press)

• Make It Up As You Go

This song was the first ever written by Tom and Dave together. « In 13 years of being in a band with each other, Dave and I had never attempted to write a song together. This is our first try, and I think we might be onto something. We wanted the song to be a party, and for the music to actually reflect the laidback vibe of the lyrics. Dave plays the guitar solo, which is not technically great, but its rawness lifts the song to a higher place. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is what the song is really all about. » (Alternative Press)

• Map Of The World

« To me, this song is about that first time in your life when you look out into the sky at night and you realize how big the universe really is. This in turn makes you realize how small you really are. To this day, this thought still scares the s–t out of me. I could drive myself insane thinking about it. We really have no idea what’s out there or the big answers to all the big questions. The crazy thing is that we’ll never know », said Tom. (Alternative Press)

• Our Song

Tom said : « The first verse and chorus of this song were written in five minutes, exactly where they say they were written: sitting on a bed all alone in a hotel room, counting the days until I get to go home and see my girl. It’s very literal and sincere, which I think is my strong point at times. This song gives me the feeling I got when I wrote ‘Hey There Delilah,’ and ‘1 2 3 4.' » (Alternative Press)

• Radios in Heaven

This song was written after the Tom’s great-grand-mother died.

• Rhythm Of Love

« It was written for this girl that I was dating while we were making our last album out in Malibu » said Tim. « I wasn’t really emotionally available to her at the time. I hadn’t completely gotten over my divorce, so when the band left on tour, I decided it wasn’t right to try to keep the relationship going so we called it quits. It was only over the last year or so that I’ve realized what I walked away from. The song was an attempt to rekindle things and win her back.  »

« It’s a distinct style change than what we’ve done in the past, » said Tim. « Just with that island-y scratch guitar – it’s the sound I heard in my head when it came to writing a song for her. »

« It’s great when a song comes easily, and this was one of them. I had wanted to come up with a simple love song for my ex-girlfriend for a while, but when I got back to my hometown of Santa Barbara, California, this song just rolled off the top of my head. I was sitting on the porch of the house I grew up in and just started humming the chords. Within a few hours, I had most of the lyrics written. When songs are truly inspired, it makes writing so enjoyable. This particular girl was all I could think about at the time. » (Alternative Press)

• Serious Mistake

Tom said that on the past records he put the blame on the girl. « I think with this record I’m turning a lot more to myself. The song ‘Serious Mistake’ goes ‘I’ve made a serious mistake, I hope it’s not too late to fix the heart I’m breaking.' »

• Should’ve Gone To Bed

« In the song it’s me, Tom, but I think all the guys in the band have definitely lived through that one, as well as I’m sure everybody out there who’s going to hear it too, unfortunately for them. I’m recently single now. I was dating a girl for like five years and coming out of a relationship like that and then trying to get back into the dating scene, it’s rough. You get a little rusty. So I go out and have some drinks and don’t end up really hitting it off with anybody, so then I turn to my phone when I’m lonely and dial up the exes, and that’s just never a good idea. »

• The Giving Tree

This song was written by Tim and Tom explained : « It’s about a girl, an ex of his, who kept coming back to him after having all these other failed relationships, and she was just a taker. She just kind of drained everybody that she dated, and he wrote a song with the metaphor of the giving tree. He was always trying to make her happy, but all she was ever going to do was take and take. It’s a really pretty song, but it’s really sad. (New Times)

• What More Do You Want?

The song was inspired by « Beat It », Michael Jackson.

• Welcome To Mistery

Tom explained : « I originally had some boy-girl love song lyrics to this song, but it just didn’t feel right. The melodies were so dark and dreamy that I felt it needed more imaginative lyrics. So instead, I turned it into a story about escaping into your own imagination or creating your own little getaway in your mind. I wrote all the lyrics in one night in a hotel bathroom, and I did a quick live recording onto my phone as a demo. The very next day, our label came to us asking if we had any songs that would work for the Alice in Wonderland soundtrack they were putting together. Even though I wrote this song for Wonders of the Younger, it seemed to be a perfect fit, so I played it for the label. A week later, we were in the studio recording it. Luckily, we worked it out so that it could go on both Almost Alice, and our album. »(Alternative Press)

© Plain White T’s Europe

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