Track By Track: Softlung breaks down his debut album Second Chances
Canadian indie-rock act Softlung burst onto the music scene in the fall of 2022, shrouded in mystery. Billed as a musician who had opened for Wu-Tang Clan and The Who, their first single provided no hints as to who he was. It wasn’t until the release of ‘The Other Side’ months later that we learned Softlung’s true identity — S.J. Kardash. Read along as S.J. takes some of the mystery out of his debut album (released today) as he discusses Second Chances track by track.
“I’ve collaborated with various projects and bands for most of my life, and one by one, they’ve eventually all come to an end. After parting ways with my longest term collaboration, which had taken me around the world, playing big stages, opening for The Who and other legends, everything was suddenly so quiet. I found myself compulsively writing and recording alone in my studio, just to have a personal outlet while I figured out what to do next. And, I ended up with this entire introspective record about mistakes, change, and looking for yet another second chance.”
1. ‘Second Chances’
The song is about being caught in a circle of ups and downs, making mistakes and looking for second chances, so I wanted it to feel a bit like a carnival or a merry-go-round. I think I had that in mind particularly when I was recording the quirky guitar bends which weave through the song.
Influences: The Pixies, Joel Plaskett
2. ‘Going Under With You’
Sometimes I start out writing an inconspicuously happy sounding song, and as soon as I open my mouth, it all comes crashing down.. (ha?) I was just thinking about how others can bring us down and sometimes we bring the whole world down together.
Influences: Father John Misty, Kurt Vile, The Dears
3. ‘Don’t Say No’
This is the most upbeat song on the record, written about trying to be open to change. I wanted the whole song to be driving forward, until beginning to question everything in the disoriented bridge. The whole song was written around that Spaghetti Western / Spanish influenced guitar riff I accidentally wrote in 5/4.
Influences: Johnny Cash, Sloan, New Pornographers
4. ‘Slow Down Girl’
I wanted the recording to feel like a trance, like keeping your head down with blinders on, until opening up in the chorus and bridge. We all work so hard to find purpose and meaning and sometimes just need to slow down a bit to get there.
Influences: The Beach Boys, Tame Impala
5. ‘That’s Not Really Love’
I was imagining what goes on in another person’s head, and why sometimes we stay in situations we know aren’t good for us. I kept the production pretty bare to let the main focus be the vocal and underwater love-drunk guitar.
Influences:Billy Joel, George Harrison, John Lennon
The song is literally about being bored and worrying about what to do next. I kept it to 2 chords for most of the song, just kind of plodding along. Even though I say I’m on a couch, I definitely remember writing this in bed.
Influences:Pavement, The War on Drugs
7. ‘The Other Side’
I was contemplating why I always seem to end up back at square one again. I wanted it to feel like the song was almost stuck on a loop, so I just staggered the instruments to start and stop through the song, dropping out and coming back, and other than that everything stays the same.
Influences:LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire
8. ‘Wicked Days’
The song is about having to give up the past in order to move forward and change. I intentionally left this one a bit unfinished and thought it would make an appropriate closer for the album.
Influences:Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Mark Lanegan
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