Cleverly Titled: A Deep Dive Into The Lyrics Of "Savannah"
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.
I have to come clean. This song is truly a concept, not a memory. I mean, I’m sure that there are some tangible elements that I could connect to real people in my life, but the true intent was to create something that was purely based on a feeling. In a lot of ways, this song is just a cheap ripoff of an artist who I won’t name. Mostly because said artist turned out to be a shit person and I don’t want to give them the credit. So with that being said…
“When you moved up from Georgia, all your peaches turned to pines as you went north.”
Ok I really wanted to start with the first line because “Savannah” in and of itself was written to pay tribute to probably my favorite (or at least top 3) Relient K song of all time. Alas, the rest of it is just meant to set the scene. This line, on the other hand, has much more of a story. I remember writing it and thinking “This is so dumb. Who am I, the Wiggles?” Especially because I have never been to Georgia. I mean I haven’t even driven through it. So really… I was writing from nothing. But the more I played this song, the more people told me that this was the line they really liked. It is super visual. It sets the ideal scene. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that people (including myself) are in love with both the subtle nuances and the larger idea of their hometown. It’s not just the Brewery City pizza on Capital Blvd that holds memories, it’s also the evergreens and the rain and the larger assumptions of where you come from. So I kept it and honestly, I love it now.
“Get me loaded, then kiss me. Keep the room just spinning ‘round.”
Ok this one was a little influenced by my own life. I mean… I feel like the line explains itself, but the feeling is just so palpable for me. I remember being so enamored and feeling drunk, sick, and elated all at the same time. There’s a giddiness about it. Ultimately this song’s purpose is to suck the poison from that wound, but there is definitely beauty in admitting that someone or something makes you feel high. Even if it sucks to admit.
“Montana, Montana, the east couldn’t meet the west any worse.”
I don’t actually hate Montana. In fact I think it’s very beautiful. I just needed a place to hate and it needed to rhyme with Savannah. Some things just aren’t that deep.
“With your big skies, your sweet lies pull me in, push me out, and leave me cursed.”
Ohhhhhhhhh I loved writing this line. Sometimes you just put pen to paper and it works. It just fucking works. The pull/push dynamic made me think of tides and how you can swell with emotion and then just feel completely empty moments later. The curse is that the tides will always happen. There is no ceasing. To live and experience such high high’s and such low low’s is a gift, but it also just sucks sometimes. It is what makes life worth experiencing though.
“Can you hold me like you want me, if only for once? “
I mean… yeah.
All in all, the idea with this song was to 1) be as truthful to the concept/feeling as possible and 2) find creative ways to validate sadness and hurt. The first half of the record is all very happy and hopeful (and introspective at times), but there is a whole gamut of emotions that we experience. I don’t want people to listen to a record and feel guilty for being sad. My life, despite its joys and triumphs, has also been fraught with disappointment, frustration, and hurt. Whether it was at the hands of other people or at my own expense, the sun doesn’t always shine. Music has always been a way to help me cope with that. Bringing the sadness into the light, and especially sharing it with others, helps me keep it at bay. It takes away a lot of its power. I don’t want to exist without it. I just don’t want it to control me.
Feel free to speculate the rest:
“Savannah, Savannah, I thought that I could handle the words.
When you moved up from Georgia, all your peaches turned to pines as you went north.
Still, I’m hoping that you’ll come and knock me down.
Turn my water into whiskey and leave me on the ground.
Get me loaded, then kiss me. Keep the room just spinning ‘round.
Oh baby, you came and knocked me down.
Montana, Montana, the east couldn’t meet the west any worse.
With your big skies, your sweet lies pull me in, push me out, and leave me cursed.
You got me where you want me, it’s a blessing and a curse.
I could tell you what I need, but you’d only make it worse.
Can you hold me like you want me, if only for once? “