Frank Hamilton reveals song meanings from #onesongaweek
Frank Hamilton took time out to decode lyrics from last years epic effort of #Onesongaweek exclusively for Decoda.
Starting off last year with a mission to record one song every week and publish it online, Frank’s personal goal attracted not just the attention of the music press but other artists including Newton Faulkner and Ed Sheeran who even collaborated on the project later in the process.
Fresh from touring the UK and currently recording new material, Frank furnished us with explanations behind some of the songs and lyrics from his #Onesongaweek campaign.
Yeah, so, Summer there is a double meaning in the lyrics. There’s maybe a treble meaning in there somewhere.
I guess the lyrics are about summer itself. I wrote it in the first week in September 2012 - and summer hadn’t come along yet. It was just, sort of, raining all of August and then it arrived in September. So it was about the weather.
I was 36 weeks into One Song A Week and, I guess, I felt like I was finally getting somewhere - so it was, kind of, about the summer of my life as it was at that moment - and it’s, kind of, also about a girl I went to school with who’s called Summer, who I’ve not seen in a long while. But no one knew that until the music video came up.
So the track Things I Do, it was, kind of, started about someone. But then it’s more about life really, I guess. A lot of my songs are about music as well as the incidental moments of my life they start from. I tend to apply them to my struggle as a musician I guess you could say.
So, yeah, it’s about trying to just be a better person for the greater good, whether it be a relationship or for yourself.
The meaning behind those lyrics is, it’s just, kind of, a continuation of the verse - the first verse. Waking up late with bleary eyes and, you know, a messy brain and telling a few white lies and black hearts, you know, sometimes are not my biggest fan. It’s a bit self-deprecating, I guess.
The meaning behind Two Kids is about… it’s about two kids. It’s about a boy and a girl and they were having a great time and then the boy, sort of, without even thinking just said, “I quite like you…” and the girl just freaked out and ran away.
He just hadn’t thought it through, the consequences of telling someone he liked them.
He just… he wasn’t thinking. He just blurted out that “I quite like you…” without thinking she would freak out and run a mile - which she did.
That verse is, kind of, a continuation of the last thing. Just not being able to understand why just a couple of words would change someone’s perception of a situation - which hasn’t actually changed.
Obviously, I wrote this song a couple of years ago and, you know, you grow up a bit and you realise… crikey, maybe I did give too much away. Maybe that was the thing that she needed to realise that I liked her more than she liked me - and that’s why she did a runner.
But, at the time, it’s just, you know, I was saying, “what are you doing? That’s just three words, nothing’s changed.”
Flaws which means floors and flaws in my character. Yeah, flaws and ceilings.
Flaws and Ceilings is about trying to figure someone out really. As the verse sort of says, like, “I’ve got doors, she’s got windows…” So she can, kind of, come into my house and see what’s going on and I can only really peer through her windows and try and figure out what’s going on. It’s just about trying to figure someone out.
So on Flaws and Ceilings Lauren co-wrote the song with me. We didn’t write her verse together - I’d actually written that previous to the session.
The original lyrics were “she reads books, I write stories. She’s so calm and I’m angry…” but then, when Lauren got involved and we wrote a little bit of the chorus together, it became a duet. So we switched the words round.
This country inspired me to write it, I guess. This is the country I was born in and I will die in and it’s got an awful lot of things wrong with it. But, I love it and I don’t want to live anywhere else.
For anyone who’s ever been to London and ridden on a tube - no one talks, no one smiles. It’s all smartphones, newspapers, stern… stern glances
Those lyrics are just about how I hope it lasts forever. There’s a lot of things wrong with England, like I say, but there’s also a lot of things right with it and I’m glad I live here and I’m very lucky to have been born here and brought up here.
So, I’ll put up with it. Kind of like I do with the weather - which isn’t great at the minute.
Yeah, Tiny Chemicals was written about a girl I used to date who used to like putting things up her nose. So, it is, kind of, specific to her.
But, I guess, it’s taken on a much broader sense. It’s a bit of an anthem now, when we play it live, as a bit of a break-up song - which is great. I’m glad it doesn’t just apply to people who’ve dated cokeheads.
So the story of Sticks and Stones, that was during One Song a Week. I released a song called This Is England and I put a video up for it. It was a picture lyric montage video - you know when the pictures apply to the lyrics that are in the song. So, I did that.
But some guy had done this already maybe a year ago for an old recording of a song. Then I did it this and he, kind of, wrote to me and - long story, short - accused me of stealing the idea and stealing the concept of putting picture lyric videos on the internet - which I thought was, kind of, funny. But, I think he was of the old generation that maybe genuinely thought he’d invented it.
So, this happened and it all, kind of, kicked off and I apologised and he just kept… you know, he sent some nasty things. Some really personal nasty things and I wasn’t really sure what I’d done. I just made a video to my own song.
So, I kind of used that as inspiration in One Song A Week. I needed to write about something so I wrote him a sarcastic apology song, I guess. I’ve not heard from him since.
The meaning behind those lyrics is just, yeah, about being nothing and the myths in all the magazines. Like it’s only so rarely that I hear a song on radio or see something on TV that, actually, really, really interests me. Most of it is, kind of, short term, shallow tat for want of a better word. So, I, kind of, take comfort in music and writing songs and striving that way. I guess that’s what it’s about, yeah.
It’s just about being a bit disillusioned with the world as we know it and society and the things on TV and the records on radio.
It’s just about not really relating to any of that and just… I think there’s a lot of people out there that don’t relate to any of that and I guess that’s just a song… you know, put your hands up if you’re with me. If none of this means anything to you though, there must be something more.
The inspiration behind that lyric is just about spending a lot of time with someone and then not being able to spend a lot of time with someone and you, kind of, don’t appreciate the time that you get to spend together, you know. I use the words “bug me” like, she didn’t really bug me, but… yeah.
The inspiration behind Football was about always wanting to be a footballer. If I had to pick a dream job it would be football.
I’m doing music - that’s a dream job as well - but I always wanted to be a footballer when I was growing up. So, yeah, I guess I, kind of, wrote it about that.
I’m a Man United fan as well - although, I’m not sure if I can call myself a football fan really. I used to watch, sort of, 30+ games a season and these days I get to watch maybe 5… 5 or 10 tops - which isn’t great.
The word play in the verses of Football, it’s just using football terminology. So I can run… run away from anything.
So, it uses the football terminology but then, kind of, applies it to life in a relationship. Run away from anything, I can kick off when I’m drunk, chip away at lots of things and all of this.
Now If I Die Tomorrow wasn’t really written about anyone specifically. It was more of a feeling.
I was in the middle of the One Song A Week project again and I was really enjoying it and, I guess, I’d, kind of, fallen back into love with music, having not been in love with it for a long while.
Yeah, so, I guess, it’s, kind of, written for music.
I don’t know, maybe I did have a special someone in mind when I was writing it. But it definitely wasn’t too central to the theme of the song.
The meaning behind that lyric is just that there’s a lot of stuff in the world, there’s a lot of papers printing stories, there’s a lot of singer/songwriters writing songs. There’s just an awful lot of tat.
I guess, that was, kind of, for the kids that were sticking through me, through thick and thin. It was the middle of One Song A Week and it was just, you know, a couple of thousand kids that knew about it and really cared. I guess that was for them.