“Forever Always” by Lindsay Holler’s Western Polaroids’ is a dark and jazzy murder ballad that simmers with a vibraphone shaded chorus alongside Lindsay’s vocal—“and one night I hope you’ll see / the woman you left for me”. “Forever Always” is punctured with atonal jabs from guitar as it is driven by the pressing clack of hat and upright bass. The song is dynamically rich and while it is loaded with textures the song never boils but keeps the arrangement restrained. Lindsay joined me for a brief chat about details, songwriting mysticism, and her best compliment to pay a songwriter.
Buy Helltembre by Lindsay Holler’s Western Polaroids here.
SC: I love the tension between your highly detailed lyrics against the restrained simmer of the band. How do you see the two tensions working in the song?
LH: "Forever Always" is an older song—maybe 10/11 years old. If I remember correctly, the arrangement came out from a Dirty Kids (my early band) rehearsal. As a band, we'd always made dynamics a big priority. But for some reason we all really were into the straight-line approach for that song. With this simmering dynamic just under the surface—no solos, no bridge - kind of cold blooded. The lyrics present a tense and dire picture, but with each character resolute in their fate. We wanted the music to emulate that, as well.
SC: What I love about “Forever Always” is that it’s a classic murder ballad without pandering or being cliché. Can you tell me a little about writing the song and what you did to avoid that pitfall?
SC: Tell me about your normal writing practice. Do you write every day? Do you write on a schedule?
LH: I do not write ever day. I probably should. And I don't have a writing schedule, unfortunately. I'm still trying to figure out my writing style. My schedule has been pretty hectic in the last year, which unfortunately doesn't lend itself to productive songwriting, for me. Personally, I think I need more of a settled state, to give the songs the focus they need.
I've heard some people describe songwriting, and performing music, as some sort of experience where the songwriter or the performer is mainly just a conduit, trying to collect and harness the music around them. Maybe there's a little something to that. I've written some songs in 15 minutes, start to finish, and I still don't really know how they happened. But that's not in any way to discount putting the work and time into your songs. If I ever had the schedule to allow it, I'd be interested to see what would come out of repetitive scheduled songwriting sessions, for me.
SC: How does your songwriting peers influence your work?
LH: I'm so grateful to know, and have known, some really interesting and thoughtful songwriters. I absolutely relish when I hear a phrase that resonates, or an unexpected point of view, or a fresh take on something. The best compliment I could ever pay to another songwriter is to hear their song, and then be inspired to immediately hole up somewhere and work on something, right away.edit.
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