My friend showed me Busbee’s album last night, and I listened to it on repeat while driving from San Diego back to LA. There are a lot of songs from this beautiful album that are both poetry and extraordinary songwriting craft. I couldn’t help myself but keep coming back to this one though.
As far as songwriting elements go, the 2 things that really stand out to me are the simplicity and beauty of the chorus/hook. He’s picked something that is an image, something evocative and personal, and used a phrase that implies so much more story than is being openly shared. To say, “he’s got a one-way ticket this time” begs so many other questions: what did he have last time? How many times has he gone away and come back? What’s different this time? What’s gonna happen?
I LOVE phrases that imply stories, and spark the imagination. My partner’s forthcoming illustrated novel is called ‘Back Already?’, which I love for the same reasons.
I also love the way the story develops. The first verse is about the character – a boy/guy who needs to find some freedom and get away from the ‘shackles’ of his mum. A classic independence story. So he’s got a one-way ticket this time.
Then the next verse is about the girl he’s presumably leaving behind. It adds a new and emotional dimension to the whole song. It’s about HIM to start with, and then it’s about THEM.
Beautiful song. Busbee is an artist, and also a really active songwriter, with cuts by Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, and Timbaland, to name a few. It’s refreshing and inspiring to me to hear the kind of craft that goes into uber-commercial writing being applied to a personal songwriting, and reinforces the idea that some songwriting techniques work across genres. It’s all connected.