At one point when I was designing the album art for Hearts Beating, I realized I was struggling with finding the right tone. I was pushing it to be light-hearted, to try to compensate for the seriousness of the songs. When it hit me, it was a small revelation about Keslinger. As a band, I think we were taking our music much more seriously, and it gave these tracks an earnestness and a heaviness. There was barely any pop-punk left, as our heavier influences had crowded it out. We were bringing in stuff like distorted bass, slower tempos, bigger arrangements, and longer songs (most are over 5 minutes). Looking back on these now, each track's unique personality stands out as compared to our more homogenous songs from before.
Some of the eclecticism was due to the addition of Justin Wolf on keys. Near the end of the recording process, Justin added his personality to the mix with rhodes, piano, synth, and lots of "bro." Hearts Beating also marked Chris' exit from the band. With a baby on the way and the strain of living an hour from our practice space, he decided to step down from the throne. The EP was released shortly after his last show.
Our seriousness about music (not to be confused with professionalism) came out in the recording process as well. We recorded to a click, tested mic placements, tweaked guitar tone, tracked and re-tracked parts. I had been learning more and more about recording and producing so I took the mastering reins. I didn't really know what I was doing, but through a lot of experimentation and missteps (like mixing with $10 headphones, or recording all the guitars in my dorm room through a $10 usb mic from Walmart), we were finally finished with 6 songs that we were really proud of.
Take a little bit just for the thrill of it. Alright. Right foot forward walking out your front door. It’s not right. It’s not right. Move a little bit just for the thrill of it. Alright. Take a step closer. Hear the whisper through the floor. Your eyes wide, eyes wide. So hear her decadence. You’re straying to the left. Try to keep your feet on the path while you’re kicking up grass walking up her porch. Move a little bit just for the thrill of it. Alright. Right step forward walking out your front door. It’s not right, not right. So hold me now from the house of self destruction. It’s harder than, it’s harder than it’s ever been. Say “I’m not gonna take it! No!” (I’m not gonna take it). Even though the dead are there I find myself on the stairs. Alright. It’s alright. No, not right. Not right. Not right. Take a little bit just for the kill of it. Move an inch closer. Hear them whisper a little more. It’s not right. So feel the consequence and deal with recompense and don’t forget common sense when you’re walking through the middle of a crowded room. Say “hold me now from the house of self destruction. It’s harder than, it’s harder than it’s ever been.” Say “I’m not gonna take it! No!” (I’m not gonna take it). Even though the dead are there I find myself on the stairs. Alright. Take a little bit just for the thrill of it. Alright. Right foot forward stepping out your front door. It’s not right. It’s not right. So feel the consequence and deal with recompense and don’t forget common sense! I say this as a reproof. Take a little bit for the thrill of it!
Track Name: Hearts Beating
Your silhouette sinks into a horizon, tinted orange. I know you’ve felt like this before. So go now, go with all your secrets, the things that you’ve been keeping locked under the floor. Kiss the grave. Stand in the space you stood the last time and hear the sound. The church bells pound. You bow. Goodbye. I said onward, onward through the mire. We’re running though we’re wounded, looking to what’s next. Our hearts are beating while we’re singing, singing the songs our fathers sang before us. They sang before us and … You say goodbye. Get up and fight! Get up and fight! Hold me now Lord. I can’t. I can’t stand. Get up, get up, get up. C’mon stand and fight. Get out, get out, get out, get on with your life. I’ll be right here. Kiss his face. Stand in the space you stood the first time and here the sound. Look up now. You bow. Goodbye
Track Name: Stranger
Thought I knew all I wanted. Yes, I had big plans. I let the hours waste into nothing, but I forgot your laugh. I forgot what I was living for. I know it’s not this and I can’t be this person anymore, a stranger. It was me who walked away from what, what I thought I knew. A person made was traded for a mask, afraid of the true man. So tell me all the faces that you’ve worn, oh, and compromised yourself. Tell the lies that time wasted on this, and oh, I’ll walk away with nothing. I forgot who I am. Traded all, all I had. And I turned away from all that I was made to be. I’ll walk upon the ashes. Light it on fire and forget your name, you stranger.
Track Name: Beyond Beauty
Round and round and round we go, up through the hills and onward. The grass is long and green. I feel the wind against my cheek and this place is different - bright and colorful and new. I feel alive here. Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s … She’s captivating. She’s beyond beauty. We can’t stop laughing. We wouldn’t stop if could. The air is different than I, than I imagined. The world is brighter than I, than I remember. Being here just feels right, like nothing ever could go wrong. The sun went down hours ago. The stars, they fill the sky and she wants to dance. I tell her that I love her. I took that chance. How could I deny her? She is gorgeous. She’s beyond beauty. We can’t stop laughing. We wouldn’t stop if could. The air is different than I, than I remember. The world is brighter than I, than I imagined. (She’s captivating, she’s beyond beauty. She is gorgeous. She’s beyond beauty.)
Track Name: My Blasphemy
It’s been a year since my last confession. I’d hold back my tears, but apathy is all – it’s all I have. I know it’s not right. I haven’t suffered. My life’s been fine. Was I a seed that grew but quickly died? “Son here I am and I’ve always loved you.” That’s what You say but I can’t see You. Idle lies fill the vacancy. My fragile mind slaps Deity. I’m numb. The disgusting part is I’m so quick to judge You. I point my finger, but I’ll scoff at reproof. And I cannot sing. The words lose their meaning. I’ve opened my eyes and Yours are still clenched shut. Did you say amen? Once in a while I’ll see Jesus bleeding. For a moment I could sing but … Undermine authority. Kiss goodbye decency. Let it go. Let go. You said “Son I, I will always love you and there’s nothing you could do to take that away, away.” For it’s sunlight cast upon the blue skies and there is nothing better, nothing better than Your love. When idle lies fill the vacancy, when I commit blasphemy, You loved. You loved. When authority is undermined, when I’ve fallen the thousandth time, You still loved. You still love me.
Track Name: September Winds
Everything changes like the colors of the trees. I can feel that winter breeze coming in and I’m so elated. Even though the skies are gray, I will walk with you today and I’m fine. I welcome these changes. Through the trials you approve all the words you said are true. Every challenge is an opportunity for you to show yourself to me. Amen. say goodbye and kiss my face. It’s the end of this time. Say goodbye. Say goodbye. From green to red and yellow too, all the leaves hung on the trees are changing. We’re changing who we will be and we’ve become. I can’t wait I can’t wait until summer comes. I wonder where I’m going. There are several open doors. Should I go a little more or should I stay? They’re all so enchanting but I’ll be happy anywhere just as long as you are there.