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Written by Josh Millard
Year: 2010
It starts with a conversation
You say anything
You just know that you want to talk to her
And she doesn't seem to mind

And you try to focus on her
Try to believe it's for real
Make this a new start
and just leave your ex behind

But then you tell it all
You go and tell it all
You screw it all up cuz you just had to
Tell it all

You make your apologies
You say I guess I'm not ready for this
You say maybe down the road
She says yeah maybe we'll talk then

You lease a barstool
And you drink and tip and drink and tip
And pay the man to listen
As you say it all again

Yeah you tell it all
Just to hear yourself tell it all
You tell it all
Right up through last call

You stumble home and you see her
Picture that you keep meaning to take down
That you keep telling yourself its okay
If you just keep that one around

And you throw it in the fireplace
With the letters that she wrote you
And the shirt she left behind
And the letter you keep thinking that you'll send

And you burn it all
You burn it all
You burn it all
You burn it all

Tell It All

Track eight of Inchoatery – trying and failing to move on, and the instinct to just tear it all down.

When I was doing most of the initial writing for the album, during the first week of February, I didn’t know exactly how the arc of the narrative would bend. Whether it would turn out to be completely redemptive, or vindictive, or tragic, or what: that was up for grabs even as I was trying to get most of the narrative plumbing for the first two thirds of the album in place.

And so I wasn’t sure where this song itself was going when I started writing it. The first stanza came into my head while I was walking around the neighborhood and I knew I had a jumping-off point, but it took a few days to figure out where go with it.

Ultimately, the song is about trying to get back on your feet, and about getting ahead of yourself. Emotional reach exceeding grasp. The end of the song is a sort of catharsis of rejection, the idea that when getting over it isn’t working out the way one hopes the alternative is to just destroy everything that might be evidence of that failure to let go.

I brought in some more acoustic instruments for the start of this track in an effort to change up the sound of the album temporarily; the bluegrassy implications of the banjo and acoustic and upright bass, with a touch of washboard (which I don’t really know how to play or record well yet) hits on a sound I’ve enjoyed for the last several years but which wasn’t really otherwise applicable to the album I had in mind.

That same instrumentation shows up two songs later, on Rewrite, and in terms of execution I think it’s done a bit better there, actually. But for the sake of a tonal changeup I think it does the job here, and being able to come back around to it after the big solo break in this song makes for a nice formal symmetry.

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