#1: “Secrets I Told to a Sound Hole” (Top Underrated Songs from the Album)

And the winner for the TOP underrated track (in my clearly humble opinion) off of Secrets I Told to a Sound Hole is… “Secrets I Told to a Sound Hole”!!

I chose this song as the title track for my album with good reason.

Actually, as soon as this single phrase came into my head, months before I was even thinking of releasing an album, it felt very special to me. The internal rhyme and alliteration made it catchy, it was unique, and it was such a striking representation – both literally and figuratively – of what I do and who I am, at least at the moment. The most literal way I think of the image is writing your deepest thoughts and feelings into a song and singing it into a guitar. The merch logo for the album (as seen in my website banner and my T-shirts) depicts this directly.

More deeply, I saw it as an indictment of myself for keeping a lot of those deepest thoughts and feelings only as secrets told to a sound hole, bottling them up due to my own anxieties, and not giving anyone the chance to accept them. For the purposes of the album, I was really thinking specifically of my passion for music and my dreams surrounding it, since that’s what the album is about. It’s not like I never talk about that, of course — actually, some people are exhausted by my talk of it! But as I wrote more songs and mulled over my relationship with music, I realized that I kept some of the darker, more pathological, or in some cases more embarrassing parts of my dreams and my passion for music a secret, but they were probably the most interesting. And how did I know there weren’t others just like me if I had never put my true self out there?

“If this guitar could serve my every human need, then it would be the sole companion that I would ever seek.” Being kinda romantically attracted to guitars is one of many secrets I told to a sound hole that come spilling out obscenely in this song/album.

That’s what this song is about. It’s about coming clean on all the most unseemly aspects of my relationship with music. How the emotional intensity of certain songs makes me physically sick in my gut, but that sick feeling from those songs is one of the most important comforts in my life. How music is probably the only thing that ever really draws me to a person, and to be honest, if I could have a relationship with music itself and cut out the flesh-and-blood middleman, I probably would! Just how much I need this to work, how hungry and desperate I am…

The latter part of the song is all about my ambitions and how they permeate my lifestyle above everything. I’m someone who has spent a lot of time in bars and clubs since I was 15 or 16, even though I don’t really like drinking or being around lots of people, because that’s where the music is and I was always drawn to the music. Now, older, with many music-loving and musician friends and peers, I’m still usually the one person who’s the least party-hearty and the most serious about music. And for just one moment in this one song, I finally allow myself to embrace that combination rather than feel socially inferior. My love for music is pure and my ambitions are grand, and tough as it is sometimes, I would never let a little bit of social anxiety or awkwardness ruin that.

For the record, the second person from “hoping that you will notice” mainly refers to record labels and other potential partners, and the idea that maybe they could help boost up and vindicate me if only they would notice and care. (Of course, I’m not naïve, I’m actually very well-educated about the music business, so this is not the whole of my feelings about the music industry. For a more comprehensive picture, you’ll just have to go back and listen to the rest of the album!)

What I’m most proud of regarding this song is how well I feel it captured the all-consuming nature of my passion for music, and the desperation that I often feel about it. I thought that my word choices did a good job of capturing that emotional intensity.

Suffice it to say, this song contains a LOT of my most important sound hole secrets. That said, the reason I chose it as the title track is that it’s also intended to be a microcosm of the whole album. I like to think that each song is its own self-contained, music-related secret that I previously kept between me and my guitar, and am now bravely sharing with the world. Think about some of these titles: “I Don’t Want to Play Sudoku Anymore,” “I Want to Marry Music,” “Live Music Makes All My Decisions” [a CD bonus track previously released separately], etc. If you really want to know all my secrets about music, you’ll have to listen to the full album, but this is a pretty good overview.

LYRICS

Just once I want to get drunk and tell the truth
Just once for you to stumble on my unlocked diary
Or maybe they’ll all just come out and announce themselves
The secrets I told to a sound hole

If you could catch a glimpse of just how I feel about music
You would say that it was sick, and perhaps it is
Because when the music brings that hollow pang, that’s how I know I’m all right
Try to understand, but how could you understand?
It’s not just shitty job savings that I can’t help but invest
It’s my blood and my body and my very will to live
I’m taking bets on myself and keeping all of the risk
Because I know the well-trodden one’s a fruitful path
But all that I can see is hopeless, empty black

Just once I want to get drunk and tell the truth
Just once for you to stumble on my unlocked diary
Or maybe they’ll all just come out and announce themselves
The secrets I told to a sound hole

I used to ask myself when I was young,
Do you really think you’d be one of the lucky ones?
Is this a means to being cool, or is it true love?
But it made no sense to question
Because music was my only definition of cool, whether a dorky music teacher or a rock star
Try to understand, but how could you understand?
I want to talk shop with my heroes, I don’t care about their clout
Long as they know what I’m talking about
I’m just looking for the people who can make a worthy sound
Because if this guitar could serve my every human need
Then it would be the sole companion that I would ever seek

Just once I want to get drunk and tell the truth
Just once for you to stumble on my unlocked diary
Or maybe they’ll all just come out and announce themselves
The secrets I told to a sound hole

I’ve made it just onto the edges of the inside, where I just might stay
It’s hard to break through dressed in baggy jeans and dated, faded tees
But I never looked good in those stupid hipster clothes
I’m not the life of the party because I didn’t come here for the party
I came here for the music
Try to understand…

Sitting in the corner alone
The only one here who isn’t staring at a phone
Hoping someone will notice that I’m so serious
Because what you realize when you grow up
Is that it’s not about who’s the dork and who’s the punk
It’s about how you’re living your life
And I’m trying, I’m trying, I’m trying
I’m trying to be the one who lives it right

Sitting in the corner all alone
The only one here who isn’t staring at a phone
Hoping that you will notice
Because all I want to do is just to sing one song for you
And if I should fail, I’ve got no problem just getting back up
And getting back in line

Just once I want to get drunk and tell the truth
Just once for you to stumble on my unlocked diary
Or maybe they’ll all just come out and announce themselves
The secrets I told to a sound hole

I’m not the life of the party because I didn’t come here for the party
I came here for the music.

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