The song All the Things is based on two friends that grew up with me around Philadelphia. "All the Things" .... "we do for love" refers to their relationship. For the sake of all we'll call them Jack and Faye.
Jack, fitfully brilliant, possessed a charisma people tripped over themselves following. The very intensity that people swooned over was simultaneously what isolated him. Everyone loved Jack, wanted to be him, around him, but he had a mysterious fire within that fueled him. No one better understood how it burned him up than Faye.Faye was one of those rare souls brought into this world with an extraordinary amount of kindness and compassion for others, almost to fault. Despite the various hardships she endured, Faye's gentleness never calloused. Thinking back to our childhood, Faye only had eyes for Jack; their relationship grew so strong I began to imagine Jack whispering secret words to her one childhood afternoon that bound them together forever
We all were troublemakers in our adolescent years, but Jack's fire took him farther away and faster than any of us could keep up with. As high school ended Jack experienced a different, rather exciting reality. At that young age Jack pulled a few incredibly savvy jobs in town that immediately put him in a different bracket. Jack went from bucking authority and taking on local cops to wanting to see the world burn and pouring himself over it like petrol. Within two years Jack was a different person whom few of us saw and even fewer knew.
Jack and I remained friends but it felt erratic. It became clear whatever that fire was in Jack was burning him alive. There was a violence now, a heightened instability. I can say this now because it can't come back, a couple people left this place by way of Jack's hands. No one knew all the gruesome details except Faye. She was there through all the other women, insane degrees of violence and everything between, by Jack's side. The line from All the Things, "Go and keep the car running" references Faye as Jack's driver during the spree that spanned those two years. Jack and Faye took a ride that in one way or another they never returned from.
The rest of their tragic fate I think best left up to imagination. I'll say this, in the song I don't give Jack enough credit for how deep his love for Faye was. I was affected by how Jack broke Faye, a person that kind, true and rare. At points writing the song I tried to be both of them. While Jack often dismissed Faye's attentions, she was the only thing that kept Jack tethered to this planet, her love the only thing he knew. That either of them knew.
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