- February 25, 2014
- 5:04 pm
- 68 notes
My response to @Toritalksmusic’s article
When Tori tweeted me her link to her article about the hidden track “Her Eyes Say Yes,” I read it with an open mind. The song has always been a very popular one that kids request often and, though I didn’t originally sing it on the record, I’ve found myself over the past 6 or so years finishing off a lot of our sets with it. As Tori said in her article, I’ve even been more vocal about the lyrical content and my thoughts on it, but that reason isn’t because I’ve been looking at the world with “more adult eyes” or feel that I’ve matured and realize the lyrics are wrong. Let’s start from the beginning.
In the fall of 2005 Hit The Lights was recording our debut record with Matt Squire in Maryland. The record was almost finished and one night Omar said he wanted to show us something and took us into the studio. There, he showed us an idea he had been working on. Omar had taken a chorus from a song I wrote in a previous project called Newyear. The chorus is the one that is now a part of “Her Eyes Say Yes” and the lyrics are “Tonight I’ll wait until I know you’re fast asleep and poison you with memories of you and me. I pray you die slowly, so I can be the last thing you see.” Obviously, the song was metaphoric as you can’t poison someone to death with memories. He took the creepy vibe of the chorus and used that to write this sugar pop song that had this edge and beautifully eerie vibe to it, all brought out by the combination of lyrics and melody. We all listened and loved it. We didn’t think Omar was planning to tie anybody up, we never thought people would get any ideas from listening to the song. Fast forward to present time and the song is still a staple that we gladly play for a crowd if they want to hear it.
2005 was a long time ago. We’ve all grown and changed as people and musicians. When we play that song now, yes, I make a comment on how creepy it is because I understand that’s it IS creepy. It was MEANT to be creepy, but not creepy as in “We support kidnapping people.” It’s psychopathic creepy. It’s horror movie creepy. We’ve grown up with movies like “Seven” and “Saw” which have these terrifying aspects to them… but it’s still art. Nobody is going around bitching about “Seven” and how fucked up that was, and they ACTUALLY SHOW YOU THAT STUFF. How is our song any different? What about our song “Body Bag?” That song has a HORRIBLE message, but that’s not why we wrote it. I wrote Body Bag as a fun homage to the tough guy hardcore that I grew up loving. We weren’t going to beat people lifeless in a parking lot at our shows, and we didn’t expect any kids to hear it and do the same. We aren’t “dropping girls” from “the highest buildings we can” because that’s not what we mean. It’s metaphoric, it’s art and it should be treated that way. It’s not a fucking manifesto.
Tori, I get it, I do. I’m turning 30 this year, and there are PLENTY of HTL lyrics that make me cringe now when I have to sing them 8 years later, but I’m not going to pretend that all of a sudden I have to take all of our lyrics literally because I’m older. Those lyrics never came from a bad place, they were meant to fit the vibe in a song. It was meant to skew a pop song in a way that people didn’t expect. You can make me the straw man, you never have to listen to HTL again, I really don’t give a shit. But trying to convince people that “Her Eyes” in an ode to sexual assault is like saying Grand Theft Auto only exists so people can kill prostitutes.
Yes, I whole heartedly admit that “Her Eyes” is a creepy song. It was MEANT to be.
By the way, the title(in full) is “Her Eyes Say Yes but The Restraining Order Says No” and it’s a line taken from “The Simpsons.” In the end, as long as our fans want to hear the song and we have time in our set, we’ll play the song because when we’re playing it, kids aren’t thinking about any of the stuff you said. They’re thinking about where they were in their life when the were playing the record, or all of the times they’ve had with my band, AND WE DO THE SAME. Take it, twist, turn it, make a little movement out of it but why stop there? Might as well go after every movie, song or poem that YOU think is out of line because you know how the world works looking through your adult eyes. Happy you’ve grown but I think you might have a little ways to go. Thanks for reading.