Song Stories: I'm Afraid Of My Heart

Leading up to the June 2 release of "Through Private Wars" (available for pre-order now), I'll be posting brief thoughts on each of its songs over the next few weeks. Today, track #2, I'm Afraid Of My Heart.

The first song I wrote after moving to the Hudson Valley, after over a year of writer’s block. The thing with writer’s block, at least for me, is that the longer it lasts, the more convinced I am that maybe I’m just out of songs, that I’ve sung all I had to sing. This is a terrifying thought. 

My father died climbing Mt. McKinley; by the time his body was recovered, it had frozen, making an official cause of death impossible to confirm, but the basic assumption was something cardiovascular. I’ve always worried that something would go wrong in my biology, and that I wouldn’t realize it, and that could have been cured or avoided had I only paid more attention. This is also a terrifying thought. 

So one morning a year or so ago, I was driving to work, and had mild, but distinct, chest pain. Not the first time it had happened, but the first in awhile. I don’t go to doctors (both because I’m poor, and also because I’m scared of them) so I just waited until it went away, but the thought occurred to me that I was afraid of my heart. This thought, immediately, had promise. 

As many of the best songs do, this one unfolded almost seamlessly, flowing from my thumbs into my iPhone while I sat, pulled over on the side of the road in the woods, trying to catch it before it escaped. A couple quick edits later, and I was back in the songwriting business. It was also later pointed out that the fact that he was climbing a mountain in his 60s meant that he probably didn’t have any congenital heart defects or disease that could reasonably cause a concern for my health, which I probably should have thought of on my own, but here we are.

This is also (by probably a minute) the shortest song I've ever written, clocking in at a brisk 2:35. For some reason, I have real difficulty maintaining complete thoughts in under four minutes; probably because I talk too much. Kevin drops some gorgeous piano, and Eleanor and Elie float in their typically angellic harmonies. One of my favorite songs of the past few years.

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