(Editor’s note: the following entry was revised on December 14, 2021)
Storyteller Sunday is a weekly post that details the creation of specific lyrics I’ve written over the years.
Regardless was the first thing I wrote after going blind. hospitalized for most of autumn 2001, I didn’t get home for good until December. Life was far from normal when I did though, so that resulted in lots of TV time. Sitting in a chair and wasting the day away like this is where these lyrics began however.
In January 2002, CBC (opens in new tab) launched a new Sunday morning news show. Taking a detailed look at specific stories, it had a news magazine format. The inaugural edition focused on what it was like to tour following the September 11 attacks (opens in new tab) and they chose to focus on Barenaked Ladies (opens in new tab.) Featured prominently, Steven Page (opens in new tab) performed an unreleased song at the end. I wish I could find the specific performance on youtube, but I can’t so you will have to settle for a crappy mp3 that I’ve embedded below.
(Also, please don’t sue me? I’ll gladly take it down if anyone involved doesn’t want it up here.)
Of course, the tune was played during the credits and got cut off after the second chorus, but something about it resonated with me. We had also taped it on a VHS cassette (no DVRs at the time, boys and girls) so I could watch/listen to it again. Recording another couple Barenaked Ladies concerts on it before,, the song (eventually revealed to be That’s All, That’s All) would play after they finished.
Anyway, in the days and weeks that followed, the tune embedded itself into my skull. Eventually, it inspired the first verse of what you’ll read after the embedded mp3, but that created a more pressing issue: I didn’t have a computer with screen reading software to write it down: This led me to memorize the words for six to eight months until getting one. (In retrospect, I’m not sure why I didn’t just ask one of my friends to do it for me. I’m a bit weird and precious with my lyrics when they’re still being written I guess.)
After getting my computer that summer, I wrote down what had been in my head for months. It took me a bit longer to write the rest but eventually worked out. When you keep half of something you think is so good to yourself for so long, you really don’t want to half-ass the rest.
From there, it was finally included as part of Trial Of Errors in 2003 and became one of my favourites from that grouping. Maybe others disagree with how good it actually is, but the final product captures that time in my life really well.
As for what the lyrics themselves are about? Being inspired by Steven Page’s song (which was released on his album The Vanity Project a few years later,) they cover a few things. The main idea was viewing the September 11 attacks as an event that caused the world to lose its innocence. Maybe it’s because a lot of changes were taking place in my own life at the time, but everything seemed to get more serious and fractured afterwards. Hostilities grew and the divisions they created continue to this very day.
Beyond that, I tried to capture the uncertainty or lack of direction a lot of people felt. It’s also kind of a question of what you do when the thing you should love doesn’t love you back. Humans are weird and look for any reason to divide, so how do you deal with it when they sever those ties with you? It’s never an easy answer and sometimes leaves you feeling directionless.
Being 19 when I wrote these initially, they contain a tinge of my personal experiences as well. Referencing someone I’d fallen for not too long before, I was thinking back to things that had happened the previous summer. It was before I went blind while in hospital for about three months, so that also coloured the loss of innocence I was feeling at the time.
Finally, the title and use of the word “regardless” is kind of an inside joke. A friend and I know someone who used it endlessly, so I thought it would be funny to title something Regardless and keep using the word too. Who ever said I wasn’t petty?
Even though I already mentioned it, these lyrics are still some of my favourites… regardless. 😉
Waking on the lawn on an early autumn morning
The battle lines were drawn but they never saw the warnings
Tell me were we just that dumb? Tell me were we just naive?
Maybe all the love we built had something up it’s sleeve
Regardless of what happened, we are standing here
Waiting for a magic trickTo help us re-appear
I’m sick and tired of all of that
You can pull a rabbit from your hat
But can you tell us what to believe?
can you tell us what to believe?
Waking in the dirt on a dark and muggy evening
Jumping never hurt, but looks can be deceiving
Tell me were we just that wrong? Tell me were we just that slow?
Well maybe all the love we built was never meant to grow
Regardless of what happened, we are standing still
The pain left from the fall, now it feeds the winter’s chill
They told us all we need is love
But it isn’t what they’re thinking of
So can you tell us what to believe?
Can you tell us what to believe?
Laying on the lawn with nothing there to guard us