The Story Behind New Spell's 2012 Single, Become the Road
When compiling the songs for our debut album, the obvious choice for our album single was "Become the Road." Both the subject matter of the lyrics and the sonic elements of the music convinced us that this would be a song that people could connect with easily. Overwhelming feedback from our fans has proven us right so far.
Having grown up in Los Angeles surrounded by freeways and buildings, road images appear frequently in Leanne's lyrics. The titles of songs such as "Stop & Go," "Rear View," and "Become the Road" illustrate this. Rather than thinking of the city's concrete jungle as possessing only negative and ugly qualities, Leanne explores the interplay of modern man and nature, and explores the idea of the road as a metaphor for life as a journey.
The opening lines, "Become the road, you travel, grip the wheel and hold on steady," is about the almost compulsive desire for today's young adults to travel, to wander, and to find themselves, but suggests that it's not always easy. "The wanting, the waiting, to fucking get there already," is about the desire to attain success in life, in career, and in love after all the effort put in and all the miles driven. The second verse opens with, "Fragile lives splatter on glass, the dingy town attractions roadside," in which we use an image of flies on the windshield and speak of the meaningless distractions one encounters. "Your soundtrack, your vigilance on a journey of unclear signs" is about the music, the art, the memories, and the love that provide the emotional "soundtrack" as one travels on the road of life, which isn't always necessarily a clear and straight path. "Say goodbye" in the second chorus is a reference to the fact that we are always saying goodbye to what's behind, to the past. It's a melancholy thing, but change is constant and life is always moving forward.
Musically, "Become the Road" is distinct from a lot of our tunes. We decided to use auto-tune on the voice to give the song a smooth, electronic sound and to appeal to potential remixers. In contrast to Top 40's club songs which overuse this unmistakable sound (sometimes to a laughable degree), we felt that it enhanced our tune, especially as it warbles with the song's lithe vocal melodies. In addition, we played around with a simple arrangement that uses only one chord progression, which is very different from our other songs that have verses, choruses, bridges, and transitions of varying chords and time signatures. This simplicity, coupled with catchy melodic hooks, a powerful driving keyboard solo, and meaningful lyrics, makes this song a memorable and poignant tune that many of our listeners have said is their favorite New Spell song to date.