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  • Writer's pictureIan Galipeau

Creation Stories: Fine Line

Updated: May 25, 2023

“Fine Line” is probably the most fun song on Like We Were Never Here At All, and it would have been smarter of me to change the chorus to not say “assholes”, because it would have made a good single without the profanity. But I tried… and I didn’t find anything that carried the meaning the same way. So it is what it is.

I wrote this song when my old band Honest Thieves was still performing, and (like several songs on this record), it was based on a prompt from my drummer Justin Gregory. He asked if I could write a song with “Weezer energy”. This song was my best shot.

It’s a mostly-facetious song about how it can be difficult as a 20-something to figure out what your role in the world is. I felt a bit aimless after graduating from college…what now? Do I just find a job? Do I go to grad school? Do I want to try to work at an investment firm or something? Joe does that, and his life looks fun on Instagram… but he’s the worst. Why is his life fun? If I go down that path, will I also become the worst? Or would I just fail at it? It’s a rabbit trail of thought that was my privilege to indulge, as a white male college graduate. Do I want to be one of them? This song makes it a joke, but it is a real question when you’re in the midst of it. It eventually occurred to me I didn’t really care if my life looked fun on Instagram, provided I was satisfied in the real world. The second verse kind of addresses that, but I’m particularly fond of the last line of verse two for that reason - “At this moment, I’m coming or I’m going, but it’s all in where you stand.” Comparison-itis is a sickness, my friends. Don’t fall for it.

Musically, this song is more than meets the eye. It’s so “pop-rock” that I didn’t even register it when I wrote it, but my wife Aly pointed out that the verse of this song is one of the most fun melodies I’ve written. It’s surprisingly interesting and syncopated, and I like the way it works against the chords.


In the bridge, I use a series of chords that feel like they’re going to lead back to the ‘home’ chord (E), but then go somewhere else. For those who geek out on music theory, the bridge moves ii - V - IV - iv - vi | ii - V, then resolves to a major 3 chord at the start of the solo section. There’s probably an unintentional musical metaphor here where the meandering, deceptive cadences tie back into the lyrical theme of the song. If I was Thom Yorke, people on Reddit would find that correlation and hail me as a genius. But I’m not, and I’m telling you it’s an accident - I just noticed as I was writing this.

Production-wise, it’s a fairly straightforward pop-rock song. The one surprising moment comes in the bridge, where all the guitars cut out and are replaced by a 5-part vocal harmony. That decision was a late one - I did it immediately before sending the stems over to Robby Miller to mix. Justin Gregory’s drums are so cool in that section, and I had built up this big vocal thing… so I wanted to let those elements have their moment to shine. It’s a fun, kind of Beach-Boys-esque break from the driving pop-rock of the rest of the song.

There were a lot of tongue-in-cheek things about my band Honest Thieves (our band name, for example), and the arrangement of this song reflects that… it's a song about not trying hard, which makes some obvious “lazy” decisions - just play the chorus melody on a guitar, instead of writing an actual guitar solo... end by ripping off a cliche 50’s turnaround that doesn't make any sense… it’s a stupid joke, but I like it. And it makes me laugh every time I play it. So there it is.

(Also… I am sure that the world is getting warmer. It’s just a lyric.)


“Fine Line” is track 8 on my album Like We Were Never Here At All. Listen here.

Lyrics:

The world is waiting on my move

And I can’t decide

Whether I've got something to prove

Or I’m just here for the ride

‘Cause I feel like a little boy who is trapped inside a full grown man and

I know I would only lose my voice if I tried to make you understand

‘Cause I’m not sure if the world is getting warmer or if we’re just cold

Oh I could try a little harder but I

Know I’d just be rolling the dice, ‘cause

Only assholes and heroes make a difference and there’s

A damn fine line

I used to think it was a game And maybe I could win But every time I tried to play They changed the rules again And then you know, I finally noticed there’s no one keeping track of score Memories are subject to their moments, the good guys always won the war At this moment, I’m coming or I’m going, but it’s all in where you stand

Oh I could try a little harder but I

Know I’d just be rolling the dice, ‘cause

Only assholes and heroes make a difference and there’s

A damn fine line





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