Singled Out: Mike Bloom (The Elected and Rilo Kiley)
I had just recently gotten back from tour, and Griffith Park was on fire. It was a wild way to experience that unique adjustment of no longer moving, and being in the place you love and are most familiar with, home. Ash was all around Los Angeles, getting under your nose, into your dreams. My girlfriend, a few other friends and I went to see the beautiful green hills, and even some people's homes, being swallowed in flame. I think we all felt that very particularly surreal mix of awe, dread, and sadness. It was a sort of odd rush like you had to kneel before the greater power of nature.
When I got home, all I could do was pick up my nylon string guitar. I'll often resort to this when I'm antsy, jumbled and unsure how to otherwise handle myself.
Sometimes a song takes time, revisions, moves glacially, gets overanalyzed and beaten to death. Of course I prefer when a song comes quickly, like a beam. It's there before you even know what it is. You may never know what it is, but you've got something almost fully realized in the time it would take to listen to it twice. This happens rarely, but you cherish it and hope for more. Not necessarily because the result is so good, but because it feels like there's clarity of purpose, if only for yourself.
This was the case with "Red Light, Green Light." So, for better or worse, it wasn't slaved over and I can only try to analyze what it means (lyrically, it can easily be tied to questions of how to stay faithful on the road - to the music, to your girl at home, etc.), since it happened rather unconsciously. Most importantly to me though, is the urgent feeling it came out of. The last line is the only clear reference to the fires, and some need to act on desire. So there you have it, the backdrop to the song.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!