Singled Out: Amber Sweeney's Hit & Run
Hit & Run started off as a joke between me and a friend of mine as we were waiting for a few of our friends to show up for rehearsal. There is a large population of deer and possums in the part of Washington, where I live, and the joke was about nearly hitting one of these creatures, as they tend to pop up out of no where when you least expect it. It was one of those moments where we were laughing hard as we sang out the refrain "it was a hit & run."
At the same time, my friends and I were all going through some pretty intense heartbreak as a group. I've been through a few rough break-ups and the song started to make more sense as a serious story. I went home and spent time working out the details of what it feels like to break-up with someone. It's a strange feeling to pour out so much of yourself into someone and then have it suddenly come to an end. There's a flood of emotions that most of us do little more with beyond shouting at the other person, or send them angry messages, but there are the odd characters that simply break down and give into those emotions. It's like a rage that burns deep within that can't be quenched unless or until the complete destruction of the one who hurt them.
So, the story is about someone who gives in to the urge to destroy. At first, there is a satisfaction, like one imagines in Thelma & Louise. It even appears to be justified for a moment. By the end of the song, the character realizes that they threw their life away. They could have walked away, healed, and built a new life. Instead, the rage, the anger, the wounding became the driving force and now they'll never know true freedom.
It's a heavy subject for such a boppy surfer-rock sound. My engineer/producer for this song wanted to make it more jazzy and night club in feeling, and as amazing as that turned out, I felt the grit of the story completely got lost in the smoothness. It was the only song I pushed to become what it was. He graciously conceded and we went back to the drawing board to re-track the song.
The result was a slight homage to my Southern California roots, but maintains that blues rock undertone that feels so much like home to me. All in all, this became one of my favorite songs on the record, as well as outside of the record. It reminds me to press on to get over the heartbreaks, rather than to give in to them.