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Cleverly Titled: A Deep Dive Into The Lyrics of "Gold (Windows Down)"

A quick foreword:

I feel like it’s important for me to say, before I dive right in to bearing what is essentially my soul to the internet, that I’ve never really believed in telling friends/family/listeners what a song is about. Everyone experiences lyrics at different times in their life and I don’t want to rob someone of a truly unique interpretation of what I’m saying. I think partly because sometimes I don’t even know what I’m saying until I take a step back and look at what’s happened. The creative process is like that for me. All consuming. It is like a fever dream that you wake up from and suddenly there’s art where before there was not. I dunno. It’s all a little pompous (and slightly egotistical), but that’s what art is. All that to say, this record is different and because of its difference, I feel like it can help do the songs more justice to give some context to each. That and, I suppose, I have had a LOT of people ask me about song meanings, lyrics, etc… So ego be damned. Let’s dive in. 

Gold (Windows Down)

This was one of those songs that just spills out of you. I had the music for a long, long time (probably over 2 years worth of jam sessions), but when the lyrics came, they came. Funny how that works huh? Anyways, I almost named this record “Gold” because it was such a focal point for me at the time. Golden memories, golden hour, golden nostalgia, golden…. grahams… 

That’s probably why I settled on Holy // Ghost instead…

“It was the summer of ’05, our hearts were on fire, but these streets were more dead than alive.”

Ah the summer of ’05. This was my homage to Bryan Adams’ Summer of ’69. It’s a good song I don’t care what anybody says. It was also paying homage to Butch Walker’s Summer of ’89. Apparently us songwriters really like the summer of things. If you haven’t heard those songs, listen to them. They are pieces of Americana/rock n roll gold. More to the point though, I was a sophomore in high school. Getting sunburned. Learning about drugs. Learning about women. Just reckless with time the way only someone with no concept of it can be. 

“Floating on a breeze down 4th street”

I have tried to force this phrase in a TON of songs I’ve written and it never flowed as well as it does here. 4th street (for those not hip to Olympia, WA) is like the main strip of our downtown area. I cut my teeth playing gigs in nearly every bar, club, warehouse, and ballroom on that street. The Manium. Le Voyeur. The Clipper. The Eagles Hall. The Midnight Sun. The Northern. The Big Room. The Black Front Gallery. My friends and I planted our flag in that territory. I have around 101 stories about those nights.

“You’re damned if you leave it, but your damned if you don’t go”

Leaving your hometown is hard, no matter who you are. However, if you never go anywhere, it’s so easy to become insulated in your little suburban bubble. To become disconnected with the existence of anything outside of your immediate reality. That’s why you have to leave. It doesn’t mean you can’t come back. But, famously I suppose, coming back never feels the same as having never left.

“I’m high, but keep driving. I’m in the back with the windows down.”

I was super nervous to put this line in this song, but when I was writing, it just came naturally. It was like a feeling that I needed to get out. The first time I got high (sorry mom) I was riding around in my friends car. We were probably both 15/16? It felt like we were going warp speed. In reality we were probably going like… 15 mph. I’ll never forget that warm summer breeze, whipping over my outstretched hand. 

There are a lot of memories that aren’t explicitly written into this song, but are implied. People. Places. It’s cathartic to look back and realize that despite your infinite capacity for idiocy and no matter how lost I felt at any point in time, I still found my way here. Somehow. By no less than a minor miracle. Also, in case you were wondering if I would reveal the “who’s” in any of these songs, I refer to David Ramirez, a man much wiser than myself, in saying:

“Hold on to some of your stories, save just a couple from the sound waves. God bless the man behind the microphone. God damn that silver ball and chain.”

Feel free to speculate the rest.

Gold (Windows Down)

“It was the summer of ’05, our hearts were on fire, but these streets were more dead than alive.

Common sense gave way to circumstance and we lost ourselves to the night.

Floating on a breeze down 4th street, we were all out of our minds.

You should’ve seen the way that she looked at me. When the dust cleared, there was a tear in her eye.

She said “You’re damned if you leave it, but your damned if you don’t go”

Now I’m high, but keep driving. I’m in the back with the windows down.

All night, from your bedroom, we’ll paint the streets of this whole town gold.

We were both actors, just actors in a suburban coming of age. 

But, it felt like it mattered and it hurt like hell just to think 

That we’re damned if we leave it, but damned if we don’t go.

Now I’m high, but keep driving. I’m in the back with the windows down.

All night, from your bedroom, we’ll paint the streets of my hometown.”

Isaiah Dominguez
Cleverly Titled: A Deep Dive Into The Lyrics of "Full Moon Fever"

A quick foreword:

I feel like it’s important for me to say, before I dive right in to bearing what is essentially my soul to the internet, that I’ve never really believed in telling friends/family/listeners what a song is about. Everyone experiences lyrics at different times in their life and I don’t want to rob someone of a truly unique interpretation of what I’m saying. I think partly because sometimes I don’t even know what I’m saying until I take a step back and look at what’s happened. The creative process is like that for me. All consuming. It is like a fever dream that you wake up from and suddenly there’s art where before there was not. I dunno. It’s all a little pompous (and slightly egotistical), but that’s what art is. All that to say, this record is different and because of its difference, I feel like it can help do the songs more justice to give some context to each. That and, I suppose, I have had a LOT of people ask me about song meanings, lyrics, etc… So ego be damned. Let’s dive in. 

Full Moon Fever:

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, I indeed know that “Full Moon Fever” is a Tom Petty record. Remember when I said that I had hidden tributes to some of my favorite artists throughout this record? Well some are more obvious than others. Now shut up. 

Just kidding, please keep reading. 

Funny enough, I had always intended to pay tribute to Petty on this record, but this song sounds the least influenced by his music. At least, from my ears it does. This was actually supposed to be a rip off of The Killers, but definitely missed the mark there too. 

“You came to me once in a fever dream on a Friday night like a movie scene.

You were silver screen.”

This is a doozy of a line because it was influenced by both Sherwood and the 1975. First, Sherwood has a song called “Alley Cat” that I was damn near obsessed with in high school. Look it up. It’s a bop. That song has a line that goes “with the fever of a Saturday night”, playing off of what I assume is the movie Saturday Night Fever. Rather than be too obvious, I nudged it back a day. Sue me. 

The next portion is basically a rip from Matt Healy of the 1975. He loves using the line “a face straight out a magazine”. So I did a similar rip and made it “movie scene”. They even rhyme with each other. What’s the saying? All good art is an indiscretion? Yeah. That.

“You said “You can’t sweat me out. I’m a part of you darling. No such thing as a clean getaway.

You can move on, but you’ll still be haunted. Part of you leaves. Part of you stays.”

This is a super gutting line and actually super uncomfortable for me to talk about. First, it’s the introduction of the album’s main theme, which is confronting the ghosts that haunt us. Second, it just kind of admits that they’ll always be there. The memories, places, and people are forever etched in our minds. I guess more specifically, this gets me because it’s the admission that you give knowledge of yourself away in every relationship you’re in. There are pieces of you that people know and probably share, even though you two are essentially strangers now. It is weird to think about. Someone out there knows the things that scare you. Things that turn you on. Things that make you mad. Scents that you like. Dumb movies you laugh at. Places you dream about. It’s uncomfortable to say the least. 

“You left behind a piece of someone I don’t recognize when I hold it up to the light”

That’s kind of the entire story of this song. We have all invested in relationships. We have all let the wrong, or I suppose just not the right, person take a look at our naked selves. I don’t believe that cheapens who we are. I think it just crops up sometimes and we’re forced to look at it. Eventually, these memories start to look foreign. Maybe it’s the process of letting go. Maybe it’s the process of losing touch. Whatever it is, it becomes hard to imagine these things ever having meaning in your life. It’s like if you forgot what a spoon was. Seeing it in the silverware drawer would be strange and confusing… and I guess kind of humorous to some degree.

‘I don’t know’ is such a great cop out. So I tried my best to not use it, although it’s truly hard to describe the abstract. Hopefully I did ok. Hopefully someone else has felt at least a modicum of similar emotions. It would really suck to say all of this and have no one else relate. But I suppose, regardless if you’ve addressed this with yourself or not, it is real to me. That’s why I wrote about it. I’m caught between the lines. 

Feel free to speculate the rest:

Full Moon Fever

“You came to me once in a fever dream on a Friday night like a movie scene.

You were silver screen.

Caught me drunk with a liar’s tongue, $5 words, and the courage to be out of touch.

You said “You can’t sweat me out. I’m a part of you darling. No such thing as a clean getaway.

You can move on, but you’ll still be haunted. Part of you leaves. Part of you stays.

I’m caught between the lines. Framed in black and white. Victim to the night. Chasing ghosts and lights.

Second chance, but way off script. Funny how the past never loses its grip. I guess that just takes time.

But you left behind a piece of someone I don’t recognize when I hold it up to the light.

Part of me misses something just like that from time to time.”

Isaiah Dominguez
Cleverly Titled: A Deep Dive Into The Lyrics of "Car Crash Hearts"

A quick foreword:

I feel like it’s important for me to say, before I dive right in to bearing what is essentially my soul to the internet, that I’ve never really believed in telling friends/family/listeners what a song is about. Everyone experiences lyrics at different times in their life and I don’t want to rob someone of a truly unique interpretation of what I’m saying. I think partly because sometimes I don’t even know what I’m saying until I take a step back and look at what’s happened. The creative process is like that for me. All consuming. It is like a fever dream that you wake up from and suddenly there’s art where before there was not. I dunno. It’s all a little pompous (and slightly egotistical), but that’s what art is. All that to say, this record is different and because of its difference, I feel like it can help do the songs more justice to give some context to each. That and, I suppose, I have had a LOT of people ask me about song meanings, lyrics, etc… So ego be damned. Let’s dive in. 

Car Crash Hearts:

Car Crash Hearts was always going to be the opener. When I was writing the music I knew it. When I was writing the chorus I knew it. Shit, before I even wrote the thing I was thinking “This record needs a true opener.” So here it is. 

“We were car crash hearts in the middle of the night on the road to LA”

A lot (and I mean like 90% of this song) is a tribute to touring with my bands (both current and previous.) But, I hid a lot of tributes to my musical influences within a good portion of the songs on the record. This line is one of those. Car crash hearts is a shout out to the Fall Out Boy song “Thriller”. (long live the car crash hearts). It’s a cool line, so I used it. It also captures a lot of the recklessness of being on the road at 18-22 years old. Sleeping in vans, on couches, and occasionally a Dodge stratus. Drinking Four Loko’s on the beach in Oregon under the light of the stars and a Duraflame log. Taking shots in a circle in a dorm and escaping out the 5th floor window when we were about to get caught. Someone trying to sell us bullets after a particularly strange show (thanks Ashland.) Touring is a dream, but also a nightmare, but also… a dream. 

“Don’t take the money, Don’t fade away, Don’t make me wonder, Don’t make me beg, Fill my lungs with the things I want to say.”

This first chorus is kind of depressing and redeeming at the same time for me. A year and a half ago I released songs that I was pretty confident would be my last. I just thought I lost the gift. I always wondered when the magic would run out and it felt like… when you notice something is not quite as tall or shiny or grand as you remember it being as a kid. These were the thoughts running through my head as I thought about life without songwriting. Life without a companion I had since I was 14. I basically have known songwriting longer than most of my closest friends. This record is littered with moments of brutal honesty… this is one of them. 

“We chased the sunset across the borders of different states”

Remember those shout-outs I was talking about before? This was one to my old band (Take Me Instead) and best friends. So Far, So Good. If you know, you know. 

“Horizon Lines, the great divide, and the blindest faith”

This shout out is really deep. Probably only two people in the world know this one (and one of them recently passed away). Look To The Horizon was the name of a record that never really came to fruition. I was also probably 17 when I was writing it with TMI. Time man… makes you realize that album title was just so bad… jeez

“Late night talks in parking lots, shine brightly through the grey”

There’s another band that I play guitar in called Jim’s Bait Shop. We play a lot of covers, but the originals are really where that band shines. One night after a show, it was probably 1 am and we were sharing cigarettes and stories in the parking lot of the venue. It was one of those moments where you become instantly self-aware and think “I may never forget this exact moment in time and if I do, it will be a tragedy.” I remember feeling so lost in my own musical journey and in that moment feeling… less lost? Whatever that emotion is, I needed it. Shine brightly through the grey. 

One last note: There was a hidden line that I never recorded, but always wished I had. I’m not sure why I decided against it at the time. Maybe it just didn’t fit the production well enough. Maybe it was too open for my liking. Regardless of the reasoning, here it is:

“If we all feel lost, is it normal not to find comfort in the pain?”

If you made it this far… you are probably avoiding something. Like work. Either way, I am endlessly grateful for taking some of your time. Interpret the rest as you may:

“We were car crash hearts in the middle of the night on the road to LA.

Forget me nots and vodka shots, it was all a haze.

You’re the nicotine daydream that flows through my veins.

It felt like only you could save me. I had everything.

Don’t chase the money, don’t fade away, don’t make me wonder, don’t make me beg.

Fill my lungs with the things I want to say…

We chased the sunset across the borders of different states.

Horizon lines, the great divide, and the blindest faith.

Don’t chase the money, don’t fade away, don’t make me wonder, don’t make me beg.

Fill my lungs with the things I want to say…

Don’t chase the money, don’t fade away, don’t make me wonder, don’t make me beg.

Late night talks in parking lots, shine brightly through the grey

If we all feel lost is it normal not to find comfort in the pain?”

Isaiah Dominguez
Trying Something New...

Welcome to the all new vlog! This has been something I've been working up to for a long time, but only finally got the courage (or just lack of caring) to just do it. This has been a MAJOR learning curve, but any step forward is a great first step. Let me know what you think with a comment, like, or share (as all youtuber's request) and let's go on this journey together!

Isaiah Dominguez
Good Things Take Time: A Reflection Before The Release Of Holy Ghost

There is a moment in the record making process, where the music is solely your own. It is at that point that I usually get stuck battling the doubts of product quality versus investment. Is the art worthy of… well, I would call them blood, sweat, and tears, save for the fact that each moment is pure bliss. Even in the angst and frustration of creating something, I find joy. Somehow, the “godammit’s” and the “fuckin hell’s” provide a much needed catharsis. When all the creative chaos finally comes to order, you’re still standing there weighing the value of something truly beautiful. And again, for the moment, the songs are yours alone. So here I sit, a few days away from taking that journey and putting it on display for the world.

I promised myself in 2019 I would invest in my art, but this adventure began in the summer of 2018. Countless voice memos, jam sessions, acoustic riffs, lyrics scrawled on notebook paper, drinks, missed meals, miles, shows, and conversations were documented and accounted for on these songs. They are the culmination of my life on this earth. They have the fingerprints of the humans I am most indebted to for their kindness, wisdom, skill, influence, and friendship. They have been re-written and replaced and refined to a standard I could have never hoped of achieving alone. They perfectly encompass the golden moments of the stories we all tell. Not a manufactured, disingenuous, re-telling of our experiences, but real, tangible memories. Times I laughed. Times I cried. Times we woke up together. Times we chased a dream down the west coast. Times I drank too much. Times I sat around and wondered “who will remember this singular moment when we grow old or apart.”

I set out to write the soundtrack to my favorite memories. I have always heard that good things take time. In which case, these songs are going to be a damn good thing.

Isaiah Dominguez
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE...
Isaiah_Dominguez_Guitar_Grab

Well it's been a long time in the making...

But I have finally built an official website! It took hours of work, edits, deleting, more edits, even more deleting, more beers than is socially acceptable to admit, and even more edits. We are finally here though! Feel free to take a look around. If you see something that looks weird, be sure to shoot me a message at: contact@isaiahdominguez.com

This blog is going to be where I attempt to keep everyone updated on what I'm doing, thinking, etc... There's a lot more in store for the future though, so stay tuned!

-Isaiah

Isaiah Dominguez