“Song Dissection” With Zach Gore Of Brite Lines, Song: Greenville, Wa
In my relatively short career as a songwriter, I have run the gamut from purely fictional story songs (well, maybe not purely fictional, but close!) to incredibly personal recollections of my own life. This one belongs firmly in the latter category. I began writing “Greenville, WA” at the onset of my most recent heartbreak and finished it months later, when those feelings had become an annoying but mostly faceless undertone. It struggles with trying to find, nay create, a sense of closure while trying to maintain the openness and vulnerability and love that I prize in myself.
In some ways, at least in the beginning, this song was simply a therapeutic exercise. It was an effort to force myself to look at my unraveling relationship with a certain degree of objectivity that, of course, is impossible during times like those. Later, upon admitting to myself that closure would only come in time, I turned to taking some shots at my ex-girlfriend and the ways in which her storytelling mirrored our relationship.
My ex-girlfriend is a wonderful person: sweet, creative, smart, passionate, funny… and she’s a real storyteller. She has a way with words that is unique and inspiring: honest but self-conscious, imaginative but concrete, sad but beautiful. She makes simple things complicated and complicated things simple. She is also one of those storytellers that will engage you in a flourishing story that ebbs and flows and builds, only to stop dead in her tracks just as you are expecting a punchline or a resolution or a revelation. It isn’t intentional—for her the story is over and she’s satisfied. For some, I imagine, this would be aggravating. And, upon repeated experiences, potentially insufferable. But, for me, it was endearing and only served to charm me further. For the length of our time together, this fact never changed.
Upon reflection, the ensuing lyrics became the song’s central idea, and Greenville, WA was born: “And somehow it’s starting to make sense that all your stories lacked an end. They started out so strong, all falling short of a denouement. Well, I never needed one like I need now. No, I never needed one like I need now.”
Later, the process of writing the music came easily. I tried to let the musical movement of the song enrich its themes, too. The involvement of the rest of my band was crucial in honing these ideas. Hopefully it ebbs and flows and builds and ends differently than you expect.