House on Fire started as a different song - one Sentence and I wrote in our frenzied night of writing. Different beat too. When we were finished with it, though, it wasn't clicking. So we did something that Metermaids has basically never done:
We trashed it and started all over.
Pretty fitting when I think about the emotion behind the song. A lot of life has happened between the release of Rooftop Shake and We Brought Knives. A lot of life is continuing right now. Shit that is fundamentally changing Sentence and I as people, and the relationships around us. As someone who hates chage, I like exactlynone of it. But I know it's necessary. I GUESS.
I've never had an issue, per se, with abusing any kind of substance. My adult life has been about work and reward. And that has helped me keep a good balance. Kids don't hurt in keeping a man in check. But I know that I am capable of heavy, destructive addiction. I become addicted to basically everything I touch. I once, while working as a dog walker, ate a bodega out of its entire supply of Pop Tarts in like a week. WHY WOULD SOMEONE EVER DO THAT. I find things I like and I compulsively engage with them over, and over, and over. Even at work now I will sometimes realize that I've listened to the same song fifty times in a row. Weird shit, too, like this.
My issue has always been, when drinking or doing drugs, I binge. I have no desire to be a social drinker, or to smoke a little weed with friends, etc. Same goes for some of the heavier shit I dabbled in during my younger years. I like to get fuuuuuuuuucked uuuuuuup. Still do. Now, I just rarely let myself. It's a rare treat. I have to wake up in the morning and get kids changed out of their pajamas. I have to go to the park and play. So there's a cost associated. If I'm going to go hard, I have to be willing to pay the price. It's basically never worth it. Spend a day with a three year old while nursing a fantastic hangover. Do it. I dare you.
In a fuuuuuucked uuuuuuup state a while back, I started wondering why I had this compulsion. Here is the conclusion I came to: I have always been an emotional person. I'm a Cancer son. It's in the blood. Or the moon, or whatever. I'm sentimental. I get really attached to things. My body becomes like how my apartment is. Nothing ever gets thrown out. Everything that has even the slightest significance finds its way into a closet somehwere, tucked in a drawer, lost in winter jacket pockets. It builds up. And builds up. And I can feel it in my bones. My body doesn't feel good most days. It's changed my behavior as I've gotten older and naturally have less energy. I feel sick when I have to leave my apartment to attend a social function. A part of me feels like I don't have the excess energy to spare. I feel weighed down. My linen closet probably feels the same way.
The release from truly getting fucked up is like a temporary, warm, beautiful house fire. Burn it all, start from zero. I know it's not actually that. But that's how it feels to me. Fucking amazing. As amazing as a house on fire.
Sentence's verse is so much better than mine, IMHO. His line about witnessing his grandfather's passing sent a chill up my spine when he recorded it in the studio.
I'll keep it all. Let the bittersweet dissolve on my tongue. Burn the house to ash. Save it all in my lungs. Smash it all to pieces. The pretty things. The grimy bits. Swirl it all around. Gather round to see what's inside of it. I'll keep high school, for real. All of it. I'll keep the Wu Tang. The camoflage and goggle shit. I'll keep my first records. First raps. Wack beats. Makeshift Gods. Voicebox records and rap beef. Putting guts on the street. Sneaking over fences trying to duck the police. The day we watched Grandpa's last breath - I'll keep it. Little James with his hand on his heart like the pledge of allegiance. I'll keep the painful times. The ones that made me toughen up. The times I fixed it all. The times I clearly fucked it up. The painkillers. The black eyes and broken teeth. Sometimes you just dive in. That's how you know it's deep.
Let it go. Like a house on fire.
You can take all of the 7th grade and most of the 5th. The taste of white wine on the last one's lips. The look on her face and the cuts on her wrist. Every song I made before I knew to fuck with the mix. My grandmother's stroke and dials tuned to the AM. Basic Lights and whatever keeps me awake at night. Taking flights without medicine. Fuck it. Foie gras and venison. Flourescent lights. Every time I made my sister cry. Every night I ever spent with dirty clothes on the floor. Sleeping in unmade beds. Losing friends in the blink of an eye. Pat on the back like a kiss goodbye. My middle school record collection. Pictures in the winter. Broken bones in the summertime. Bee stings and splinters. Credits after movies. Feeling like I'll never make it. Opiates and therapy, pretty much the same shit. Hold the river choked like you're hydroelectric. But yo, you can take it. Trust me you can take it.
Let it go. Like a house on fire.
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