Til It Lasts

Today I added ‘Til It Lasts’ as my Streaming Song Of The Moment. It’s the closing track on my last album Family Ghost (with The Secret Storm) and one of my favorites from that record. For some reason it pops into my head a lot, and I find myself playing it around the house, but as a closing track, I don’t think so many people have heard it.

I think I wrote ‘Til It Lasts’ in 2006 or 2007, soon after Choreography came out. I was feeling sad and confused about an unrequited love situation. At that time in my life, I really wanted a serious relationship, but somehow it just wasn’t happening for me and I was reeeally bummed about it. When this particular relationship didn’t work out, I wrote a lot of songs about it/him as I was working out my feelings of loss, embarrassment, pessimism… Then I put all those songs aside, because once I’d written them, I just didn’t want to think about the situation or my feelings about it anymore for a long time.

Years later and after I released Interplanetary Traveler and became a mom, I started a band in Charlottesville, The Secret Storm. We revived and recorded ‘Til It Lasts‘ for Family Ghost, although I don’t think we ever played it live. I had never really forgotten about the song and I was excited to get into the studio and produce it with all of the vocal harmonies and drums that I heard in my head. I do love how it came out. It’s on the americana/country side of my genre spectrum, and boy do I love a heartbroken folk song in waltz time.

There’s a lot that I like about the lyrics too and I’m going to add a few 'songwriter notes’ below in italics

LYRICS

Next time I won’t be so quick
To say I’m in love when I shake like this
Every storm on my sea has passed
I won’t call it love til it lasts
- I like ‘Every storm on my sea has passed’ for both it’s alliteration and it’s imagery. If the ‘storms’ are my strong feelings, and I put myself in the position of an observer watching them roll over the ocean, it helps me find that still/unchanging place inside me that will get through this storm and the next ones too.

There are so many ways to love
You shiver you ache or you’re comforted by it
There are mistakes and there are the ones
You’d die for their love, or die of it
- This verse is fun to sing, with it’s internal rhymes and the way the words fall over the rhythm. It feels like classic-country style lyrics to me, though I’m not sure it sounds like that to others.

I’m always taking wrong turns
Burning too bright and burning out quickly
I’ve had my lessons but I’ll never learn
I keep hoping love will come fix me
- When I wrote these lines I was a little uncomfortable proclaiming that ‘I keep hoping love will come fix me’, as it wasn’t really how I wanted to think of myself. But later I realized how true those words had been, and how hoping that love would come fix me was a lonely and painful place to be. I guess this song knew me better than I knew myself.

But next time I won’t be so quick
To say I’m in love when I shake like this
Every storm on my sea has passed
I won’t call it love til it lasts

How do you measure whether it’s love
When it calls at your door?
All you know is what you’ve been told
You’ve never had your own before
- Internal rhymes again: Measure, whether; know, told

So I’m turning down all of the lights
And I’m finding comfort in my own arms tonight
I’m taking the next train out of my head
Into my body instead
- These lyrics are an oblique reference to a solo sexual activity, but perhaps so vague that no one actually notices?

Cuz there are so many ways to leave
And I’ve witnessed them all from both sides of the street
I am world-weary before my time and I’m
calloused from bodies, colliding with mine
- I love how the first two lines are so dramatic and self-pitying, but then the third line recognizes that: like, obviously I’m too young too have experienced ALL kinds of break-ups, and from both sides no less.
And ‘calloused from bodies, colliding with mine’, is a loaded line for me… because in some ways - in the important ways, perhaps - I know I can be very guarded and self-protective, but in another way, I can be very open, and I’ve certainly ‘dated’ a lot of people. But if you’re looking for true connection, you don’t find it with your body. And maybe, participating in too much of that kind of unfulfilling substitute-connection can even lead to becoming a more ‘calloused’ person - more guarded and self-protective - which is obviously counter-productive when you are looking for meaningful connection.

So next time I won’t be so quick
To say I’m in love when it hurts like this
Every storm on my sea has passed
I won’t call it love
Til it lasts
- In the end, the truth is, I WILL continue calling it love if I feel it, even if it doesn’t last. But this song was written from the perspective of the voice that speaks up when I’ve just been burned or disillusioned, the voice that wants insurance against ever being hurt like that again. Maybe I keep coming back to this song because that voice is still in me, not quite ready to let down its guard. Yup, that’s probably it.

Lauren Hoffman