Singled Out: Blessed By A Broken Heart's Forever
Slater: Forever has got to be my favorite track on the record. It's just so melodically infectious. The life of the song has an interesting story. I couldn't sleep one night, tossing and turning in my bed, and this riff came to mind. Usually when I write, I'm in the studio with a piano or a guitar bangin' it out, but this time, the progressions, melodies, and even the arrangement was all magically coming together all in my head. It was 4am, but there was no way I was gonna sleep and possibly forget this potential smash hit come the next morning…So, I went downstairs to my recording studio, fired up the rig, and just hit record.
Everything was just flowing out of me, and the song was completely demoed out in a few hours. It's the most technical & melodic composition I have ever composed, yet was also the fastest song to ever come together. Ironic? The guitars and big synth allowed the song to keep that turbo 80s vibe, but the feel, progression, and arrangement made the song pop radio worthy.
I was so stoked on this song being "the one," I had to tag team up with Shred Sean to get his shred touch all over it. So, I immediately flew up to New York City with my mobile recording rig in a suitcase. I got off the plane, we went to his parents Deli to get some fuel, and went back to his lower east side pad to join forces on this one. He laid down some sick leads over the meat and potatoes, and then slapped his special shred sauce all over the chorus by composing the lead vocal melody on the chorus. Then it was time for the solo… I just looped the section, hit record, and he did what he does best. The most fun was the last part of the solo where the synth leads dual up with the shred… very "Dragonforce" like. It's the climax of the song.. and explodes into the soft bridge.
Although the solo shows the virtuoso of his playing, the slow bridge solo was our favorite. Blessed had never had a slow section with smooth & sexy shred. He laid it down and called it "The Sex." When he laid down the sex solo over the synth pads, we felt like we composed a musical movement from an 80s romance flick. Its cheese, but in a serious way.
The song was so busy musically…with leads + synth + pads, we thought it would be impossible to write vocals over it, and the song was gonna stay instrumental. We titled it "feel the power."
A few months later, Sam Ryder joined the band and loved the song. So his first assignment & challenge was to make sick lyrics and vocals for the tune. We told him that if he could do it, then he was officially in the band…
Sam: I remember being sent the 'Forever' demo back when it had no vocals and it was called 'feel the power'. Even then in the pre production stage it was the stand out track. Personally it's a big song for me, it was the first track I started writing vocals on. I wasn't 'in the band' officially at that point so I felt inclined to show the guys what I could do and more importantly, add something killer to the music these guys had created.
We'd parked our bus outside a venue called 'the American Legion' in Pensacola. It was July 2010 and we were just over a week into the 'Scream The Prayer' tour. We we're just foolin' around on the bus with some acoustics and I started jamming along singing a load of nonsense. This one line kept coming up though - 'in my life, I've had things that couldn't last forever.' Once you have "the line," the rest of the song is easy to write.
I wanted to write a song about conflict of ambitions. I play in two bands and someone said to me once 'I think your trying to have your cake and eat it.' I wouldn't disagree but I'd add that I'm 22 and I ain't interested in having spare time. I thought I was writing a song about me personally ('I sometimes ask too much of myself to be content with') but when I listen to it now, I realize it relates to all the guys in this band in some way.
Lyrically, verse 2 is about my experiences as a musician. I tend to find that I have one eye on my guitar and the other on the clock, like I have a freaking sell by date or something. You get to a point where you ask yourself ''what the hell, when did me and time fall out!??'' It's about feeling like your stuck in a rut or caught in routine, whatever. Over the last year I've been so conscious of time and how precious these 'glory days' are. When I'm not with the bands or playing music, I'm on a scaffold on a construction site trying to earn money to put into my music. I personally think that faith is a more honorable currency in the music game...but ya can't eat faith. ''I threw myself on to the gears of my routine'' is about exactly that. It's about realizing where your work as artists begins. If you're fed up of routine, it's up to you alone to change it and search for something else to fulfill you. If you want something in this snake pit industry you literally have to fight hammer and tongs to get there and ''make it in this scene''.
Slater: Sam got deep into the lyrics.. But, in the end, it's a straight up power rock ballad, no matter what he says, haha. Everyone can relate to this. You have the things in life that you put your time, money, and energy into.. yet they are here today and gone tomorrow... but its usually that one person, the one you love who is there with you, through the good and bad, that sticks around forever. A few of us musicians in the band have loved ones at home, and being on the road is tough. You're torn between two loves, because one demands way more time. Balancing your family with your rockstar career isn't an easy mission… and at times, you end up losing one or the other. I feel the main hook in this song "In my dreams, you and me were meant to be together, and last forever" is the heart cry to the loved one. It means, "yeah this sucks… we're torn apart because I'm never here for you.. I'm doing this music thing… but stay strong, and hold on.. this is just a phase in my life.. I want you FOREVER."
Obviously, in the music video, Tony ends up leaving with the girl, so he totally pulls a Mark Walberg from "Rockstar" on us, and ditches the band mid song.
Sam: Recording this song, vocally, took "forever." This was a song that needed a massive "Def Leppard" harmonious vocal choir sound on the hook. The main hook lines are in 6-part harmony, and then these angelic "Ahhs" that sneak in the background, no joke, are in 15-part harmony. In the studio, we pushed ourselves to get 5 perfect takes of each harmony, with no auto tune. So with the main hook lines, and the "Ahhs" in the back, there are over 100 vocal tracks comin' at you! So much vocal, it kinda drowns out everything else (Shred Sean is mad you can't hear his leads in the mix under it all). I'm singing all the backup and Tony is singing the main melody, so if you get lost in all the vocals, just listen for Tony, and that's they line you wanna pick out most.
Slater: When we officially hit the studio with James Paul Wisner, "Forever" was the first song we wanted to knock out. We showed J.P Wisner the demo and he loved it. He thought it was a hair to fast, so we dropped it like 4 BPM and it made a world of a difference. He also was weary of the key change, but we convinced him that the key change would make or break the song. When it switches up keys going into the second chorus, the song really comes to life. Plus, songs never key change any more! So we had to!
The song had to have the "4 to the floor" beat just so it could raise your pulse when listening. The drums are fairly simple on this track.. there are moments where I throw some cool fills in, but I wanted to let the track breathe. "Less is more" Wisner told me, and he was right. This song was so musically busy, it had no room for drums being all over the place as well.
Mixing the huge vocal harmony clusters took me and James Paul Wisner, "forever." I went to school for music composition for choir music, but this was some next level stuff here. Never would I have thought that Blessed would get all "Glee" over a turbo rock song. Here we are, on a Pro Tools HD rig, maxing out the maximum track count. Too many vocals, so many tracks, the system couldn't handle it. Technology wasn't ready for how big this song was sounding!
In the end, Blessed was most proud of this song on the entire record. That's why we chose it to be a single… because we feel it represents our new sound the best. We challenged ourselves to step into new musical realms on this track, and we came out victorious. This is a smash hit that you can bang your head to, yet sing along to from start to finish. It's a love song… but more importantly, it's driving and fun. Dudes that sing this song to their girl will get super brownie points… We also wanna challenge any guitar player to try to play this song flawless from beginning to end (In real life, not in the "Rockband" game)... if you can do it, then you can take Shred Sean's job.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself as you check out the video and learn more about the album right here!