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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