I recently told a friend—half-jokingly but half-quite-seriously—that I wanted to try my hand at writing a breakup album someday. Despite it being a relatively offhand comment, the idea’s stuck with me, and while that project certainly won’t be my first album, it may not be as far out on the horizon as I’d imagined. That said, I don’t really write love songs.
It’s not that I’ve never wanted to—I’ve tried my hand at it before—but the format in which I was putting them together plus the generally blasé, isn’t-love-overused-as-a-concept attitude of some of my friends and peers ensured that for a long time I deeply felt that my heart did not have a place in my music. My serious, sophisticated heart? Sure. Program that. But my twentysomething, still-falling-in-love-with-the-world, too-big, too-sensitive heart? Lock that away. Pretend it doesn’t exist.
So, in all honesty, I did. And when I did, I found that I struggled to communicate the special little hey-I-love-you-just-because moments I had with my friends not only musically but in real life. Sure, I could use other people’s song lyrics, but how could I put it in my own words, from my own perspective, if I made myself promise never to try?
don’t call it a love song is a product of this decision to pivot, to let the mushy emotional side of me have her share of the steering wheel from time to time. I laughed when I finished it, because in my eyes it’s a love song and a breakup song and a song about the crazy messy journey of adoring the people around you just because. And, oh yeah, the words aren’t anchored by proper singing. So it’s a little bit everywhere, just like me. And I think that’s the way I like it.
Watch a test run of don’t call it a love song that I presented at the Lost Leaf in Phoenix, AZ on September 15, 2019: