Singled Out: Framing Hanley's Puzzle Pieces
Framing Hanley are back after a several year absence. A new album Sumner Roots is due later this Fall. The band released a new single "Puzzle Pieces" to celebrate we asked Kenneth to tell us about the song. Here is the story:
Puzzle Pieces originally started with the lyric "I don't wanna be one of your puzzle pieces. Torn at the seams, and bent at the creases." I liked the flow of it, but I wasn't sure it said what I wanted this song to say. I lived with it for a month or two while we were on and off tracking the album, and then I started to get honest with the first verse. During my time away from the music industry, I experienced depression unlike I had ever experienced it before. Don't get me wrong, I've been down some dark paths, but there was always a light at the end of the tunnel. I was surprised to find that being at home surrounded by my family, I was still having trouble getting out of this funk. I went to see a doctor about it, and I was put on some anti-depressants. It worked; I understand why Big Pharm runs the world-- the sh*t works! And that scared the hell out of me. I didn't like feeling like some pill I was taking had more control over my life, and my brain, than I did. Don't get me wrong, I understand there's a necessity for these medicines in some people's lives; I have very close friends and family that I witnessed "get better" from this. But for me, it was more of a "whoa, I've gotta fix this sh*t or do everything I can to take control of my life." I think as much of it being a I-don't-wanna-feel-like-I'm-not-in-control thing, it was also just scary as hell to me when you start looking at all these people that snap and do some terrible sh*t, usually always they were on anti-depressants. And, again, obviously there's a much bigger issue at hand than their medicine, but at the same time, I mean...when we have a cold, we know what medicine to use...we know how to treat that. But the brain? The brain is a complicated matter, to put it lightly. And for the most part, Big Pharm is just throwing sh*t at the wall and seeing what sticks. But then one day, something goes terribly awry in your day, and the chemical imbalance is completely different than it's ever been, and for the first time THAT is interacting with these pills you're taking. That scares the living hell out of me, to be honest. And again, this isn't about me saying "no one should take medicine to help with their depression." I'm not an expert by any means. I'm specifically saying what it made ME feel. I still have half a bottle of my 2nd prescription; I just didn't like that it made me feel better than I was able to. I understand not everyone has the ability to make that call. I can't stress enough that I'm not judging those people, or saying that their reasons are bullsh*t. I'm strictly talking from personal experience. So that's where the lyric started at that point. "Medicated to the point of apathy, each day another little pill to swallow. Dosing those composed in hopes they tear at the seams, and embrace it...a sickness bought." We reach this slippery slope of those pills possibly making a person accept "okay, that fixed that, now what's the pill to fix this other thing that's wrong with me." And that was another part of it that I just couldn't get down with.
The chorus became a call to action of sorts. So much of our lives is us feeling like we have to be what everyone else is or says we have to be. I'm happy with where I'm at in my life because I know I'm a good person, I know what it's like to love, and I'm very fortunate to know what it's like to be loved. The material sh*t, the things that our television and government and media all tell us we need to feel like everyone else, to know what happiness is -- miss me with that. I won't be forced into that.
The 2nd verse is pretty straight forward. What's wrong with our world, the media, the way we feed into the media and the horror stories that run at the bottom of the screen as we are forced to look at the face of some monster instead of focusing on the lives lost, it's the same thing every week. Our President sending out a tweet and the whole world is right there in the palm of his hands, it's maddening. It really is. I was pretty angry when I wrote this song, and I just want things to get better. I'm a part of the problem. As much as I try to block all of that sh*t out, I eat it just like everyone else. So this "call to action" chorus was really an awakening for me as well. Me saying "yo, I'm not gonna do this anymore. I'm going to live my life, love my life, love my family and friends, love others around me...LOVE, LOVE, LOVE." We spend so much of our lives just using up borrowed breath; I want to live and experience life while I can. I want to help make the world better than it was when I got here. I don't think my music is going to do that or anything like that, that's not what I'm saying. I think I can make the world better by just loving more. We all can. I really wish we could see that.
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