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  • Writer's pictureIan Galipeau

Creation Stories: It's Alright

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

This song was written chorus-first, kind of by accident. My daughter Charlie kept asking me to "play fast songs so I can dance,” and so I played all of the danceable songs I know. Then when I couldn’t think of any more, I made one up. I found these chorus chords and just kept singing “it’s alright, it’s alright, la da dee da…” over them, and she danced. It was cute, and she requested it on a few other occasions over the following week. We both remembered it (which is always a good sign), so I worked on developing it into an actual song. And because I’m pretentious and need to be clever and subversive, I can’t just have a song that’s about things being alright… so I went the opposite way, and wrote verses that made the refrain ironic.


It’s kind of a callout on the media, and how their whole ridiculous business model is to keep viewers scared enough to tune in to whatever happens next. And given that they’re in an ad-based attention market, this approach makes a lot of sense. But it’s still a weird phenomenon, being constantly sold on this vague idea that life as we know it is in danger, and we can head it off if we have enough information (which we can count on exclusively at [insert media network]).

The verses are heavy with sarcasm, which is one of my virtues. “Scouring the surface to dig up the truth” is my jab at our collective thought process in the age of social media - where echo chamber algorithms make it easy and comfortable for people to have zero nuance to their professed opinions - no depth, no real justification, just a vapid ideology acquired via YouTube "research". Speaking of YouTube... the fact that ‘cue’ and ‘Q’ are homonyms is intentional, because I want it to eat at that one listener. It could be you that it's aimed at, for all you know.


Coming out of the 2nd chorus, I felt the song needed a bridge section. I wanted to do something that significantly changed the retro-pop feel, and I thought a honky-tonk-ish rhythm could be interesting (Ben Folds did this in the bridge of his song “Army”). So I wrote the bridge starting with a feel in mind, then developed the chord structure, all before I had any melodic or lyrical ideas. (For those interested in music theory, the chords are heavily based on the circle of 5ths.) Lyrically, I thought it would be fun to use the bridge to vent my frustrations with both of our major political parties. So that's what I did.


The last verse is quite stupid and meta, in that I question whether the whole thing is really a joke, in a song where I’m making a joke of it.


Why can’t I just write a nice song about how it’s alright? I don’t know.



"It's Alright" is track 4 on my album Like We Were Never Here At All. Listen here.




Lyrics:


Looking around at the state of it all

The engine that drove us is starting to stall

Everyone's saying it could be the end

They're nothing to do but just go on pretending


It's alright, yeah it's alright

It's looking a lot like the end of the line

It's alright, yeah it's alright

We're just gonna live til we die


When words lose their meaning there's nothing to say

From every direction we're losing our way

Scouring the surface to dig up the truth

Can't help but wonder if we missed our cue but


It's alright, it's alright

It's looking a lot like it might well be time

It's alright, it's alright

We're just gonna let it unwind


You've got one side gunning for people who've run out of hope

An empty nostalgia with fear in its bones

While the other sells stories about justice and peace

Then pockets the money while it all falls to pieces


There's nothing to do but to hand out the blame

Tune in tomorrow to hear who won the game

I wish I was certain it's all just a joke

But the punchline lands more like a punch in the throat


It's alright, yeah it's alright

It's treason to change it once you've made up your mind

It's alright, yeah it's alright

Keep telling ourselves that it's fine


It's alright, yeah it's alright

It's looking a lot like the end of the line

It's alright, yeah it's alright

We're just gonna live til we die





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