In the last year I really came to understand something that I had always known, but could never wrap my mind around. People hear music in very different ways. When working with my friend Alex on some new demos we were sitting around sharing pieces we found special in some way. As a keen lyricist my attention is generally focused in the direction of the words, and language is usually the catalyst for love.
When I asked Alex what he thought of each song he gave me incredibly honest answers, and whilst they did hold critique and opinion, there wasn’t a trace of judgemental bias in his analysis. I found myself noticing bits and pieces in these tracks that I thought I knew intimately that I had never noticed before, and they took on a whole new life. One could argue that my initial attraction to the song, was mere infatuation masked as love…can you really love something you haven’t truly explored? I always wanted to know what he thought of the lyrics, and he explained to me that he listens to music from the ground up…a term I’m still wrapping my head around…but essentially the words are up on the peak.
I listened to “Ruin Your Night” (Sorcha Richardson’s latest track) with Alex on the way to rehearsal and it was the first time I had explored one of Sorcha’s songs in that way. We sang its praises and noticed all the subtleties that make up the brilliant, honest pop hit from floor to sky.
The way Sorcha uses language to dictate a mood is an incredible thing, and crucial in my relationship to her music, so I decided to ask her about a few of her favourite lines, and why they resonated with her. She came back with the most phenomenal response. A perfect miscommunication (I hadn’t been particularly thorough in setting her to task) and as a result we are lucky enough to have a personal break down of the lyricism that comprises her latest single “Ruin Your Night”.
Writing lyrics is really important to me. I often write about very specific moments and vivid memories. I don’t spend that much time analysing my songs after they’re released, so to zoom in on the ‘Ruin Your Night’ lyrics like this is kind of a new exercise for me. Also, to do it with this song feels funny because I’m telling a story in which I’m pretty unlikable. But I’ve always felt that if you’re honest in what you write, even if it doesn’t show you in the best light, other people will relate to it. What’s true for you will be true for someone else too. I’ve realised that when I’m writing songs, I’m not necessarily trying to tell you how I feel. I’m trying to tell you a story that will make you think of the same story in your life. It’s less about saying “This is what happened to me” and more about saying “this is what happens to everybody.”
“Underneath a cool lampshade, I was lying to your face”
The entire first verse is written about a house party I went to in Dublin a few years ago. I always try to write about specific images and moments rather than vague feelings. It’s almost like thinking about what I would include if I had to paint a picture of that memory. I have a photo from this night of me and my two friends standing in the living room under the lampshade hanging from the ceiling. So for the first verse, the things I would include in that painting are the lampshade, the people singing happy birthday, me drinking a bottle of rum I stole etc.
“I didn’t steal your liquor, Maybe we just have the same taste”
This song works a little differently to a lot of the other ones that I’ve written. Usually I write from a pretty sincere point of view. This one is written from a perspective where I know I’m being a dick but I don’t really care. This line is me quoting myself about the lie I told about stealing the bottle of rum. Once I wrote it, I sort of used it as a blue print for what my perspective was going to be for the rest of the song.
“Stirring up a hurricane / Oh it is a losing game / You should just forget my name, Ohh / Stirring up a hurricane / I’m gonna ruin your night again”
The chorus was the last thing I wrote for ‘Ruin Your Night’. In the early demos, there were no lyrics in the chorus and I just hummed a melody that ended with the line “I’m gonna ruin your night again.” It was cool and felt kind of moody but not long before I recorded it, I decided it needed a strong hook. And I think in doing so it completely changed the song for the better.
“And when I do, oh will you forgive me, if I tell you that I’m sorry would you stay here with me”
This is like the “I didn’t steal your liquor” line but ten times more cruel. It’s just full of insincerity and selfishness. It’s like saying, I’m going to treat you badly again and when I do, I’ll say sorry, not because I am but because it’s what I think I have to say in order to get you to stay. It goes back to the idea of writing honestly, even if it makes you look bad.
“Oh what a way for us to be, Whisper and you ask where do I wanna sleep?”
This is a good example of what I mean when I say that I try to tell a story through specific moments. This is like a snapshot of a conversation that lets me show you that the relationship has progressed to a certain level of intimacy. It feels kind of like a secret moment but it’s one that almost everybody has had, so instead of you hearing this line and feeling like you’re eavesdropping, hopefully you hear it and you see yourself in it.
Sorcha’s new single ‘Ruin You Night’ is out now on iTunes. Buy a copy here.
Photo Credit: Matthew Zach Kelly