“If I Must” (Song + Lyrics + Video + Story)

If I Must

Holding the weight of love

It might cut me away

Living through this way I long to make you act

The way I might someday

When I know this love is coming back

Though I know I’m wrong I won’t say I’m sorry

Because I push your love like gold until you learn to love it

And I know your will must hold from what you’ve shown, my dear

Though I know your pain has grown worse

Heal your pain within my hands, I swear it will

It will only ache a little longer

Hear me whisper as I tell you how to satisfy me

Because I push your love like gold until you learn to love it

And I know your will must hold from what you’ve shown, my dear

Am I insane, the way I’m acting?

You seem the same, with your reaction

Hold me, love, and I’ll give you my fear to play with now

Hold, it’s coming

I just want to die, the way you hold me down

Now everything you touch

It always turns me on now

Please, please, let me come to you

We could wait until we have nothing left

I will never stop

Just tell me if I must

I will never stop

Just tell me if I must

The Story Behind the Song

I’ll spare you the details concerning the lyrics, because the message seems fairly obvious. This is a song about make-up sex. Need I say more? No, I do not…

The composition of the song is a good story, though. My best friend and brother, Sean Larson, came up with this great progression during the recording of this album. I remember sitting on the floor of the recording studio with a couple of guitars, and he was excited to play just a riff for me. He knew that I would dig it and see its potential. And that’s most of what song composition is about: getting on the same wavelength. Sean and I have almost always been on the same wavelength when it comes to playing music together. We don’t have to prove anything to the other, we can just play something and know that the other will understand where we are going with it. And that’s exactly what happened with “If I Must.”

He had the main hook, and I had been playing around with the 5/8 jam that ends the song. Together, we came up with the verse progressions. It all fell into place really quickly in the studio. We had ideas for other songs to record, but then we literally wrote this song on the studio floor and put it to tape. It was a fun, energetic song, and it felt essential to include on the album.

What was even better was when we invited a trumpet and trombone player into the recording studio. They were a couple of jazz cats associated with our other members, Jeremey Poparad (bass), Andy Michalec (keys), and Patrick Wagner (drums). Unfortunately, the brass players’ names currently escape me (I’ll put them in when I am reminded), but they were invited in to play at the tail end of the closing number for the album, a track called “In Heaven.” They finished their work rather quickly, so we started playing them other tunes we recorded. When “If I Must” came on, they instantly got ideas and decided to record. The horns on this song are amazing, and they are the result of spontaneous collaborative musicianship. The recording only took a handful of takes before it was done, and the result is easily one of my favorite tracks on the album.


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