Singled Out: Cross Dog's Hard Feelings

Keavin Wiggins | 05-06-2024

Singled Out: Cross Dog's Hard Feelings

Peterborough, Ontario punk rockers Cross Dog are gearing up to release their new album "All Hard Feelings" next month, and to celebrate we asked vocalist Tracy A to tell us about the single "Hard Feelings". Here is the story:

The song "Hard Feelings" is in some ways a quintessential Cross Dog song, and in others feels like a total departure from the norm for us. The music was composed in the way we often find ourselves writing, but lyrically it is much more personal than the socio-political observations we are most often known for. The end result is a song that speaks to something most people can relate to, which is the feeling of vibrant anger that comes after being hurt by someone you really care about, and the way that hurt is capable of coming out raw and unrelenting when the wound is the most fresh.

Musically, the structure of the song came together after Mark and Mikey had spent some time together, listening to Pantera, inspiring Mark to learn how to play "Walk" on guitar. Mark really liked the choppy feel of the main riff, and wanted to try to write something with a similar vibe for Cross Dog. By design, we don't have a guitar player, and so Mark tends to play the bass more as one would play guitar, but one of the challenges in writing for our band is creating interesting riffs while facing pretty stark limitations of only bass and drums. After settling on the verse riff for "Hard Feelings", the rest of the music came to him quickly. The outro breakdown was something he had been working on for a while, and aside from needing to adjust the tempo at the end, it fit perfectly within the song. The skeleton of the song was written and demoed within an hour, which we then worked from as a band to develop IRL.

From the outset, I loved the instrumental of this song; without vocals, it was already my favourite song we had written for the record up to that point. I was honestly afraid of making it worse by not nailing it when it came time to write lyrics and vocal parts. I sat on that instrumental for months, waiting for inspiration to strike, and when it did, it hit hard just in time to take it to the studio. I came up with the first line of the song, and the whole thing just poured out of me - (hopefully) anyone who writes has experienced that feeling of seemingly divine intervention when creating something. For me, that's how I know it's good.

In some ways, this song is lyrically more vulnerable than many others I've written in Cross Dog, because it draws on a particularly difficult personal experience I had; one that was very fresh when I wrote it. This song is like a still frame capturing a moment when I was too raw to properly process my pain with anything that resembled a cool head, and I was definitely months away from reaching a place of acceptance. Of course, as time has passed, I am able to reflect on that experience with a balanced view and considerably less anger, but there is a certain amount of peace that has come to me through writing this one, and truthfully, playing this song live is like a drug. There is a lot of value and catharsis in expressing our pain and anger, but I definitely recommend putting on this song and getting it out of your system, rather than saying something in the heat of the moment that you are likely to regret later.

Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the album here

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