if i were you: story behind the song - by Jon Foreman
“Man grows used to everything, the scoundrel!” - Fyodor Dostoevsky
“If I were you,
Then you’d be me”
Advice doesn’t come with a gift receipt. Often the giver of this generous gift is more excited to give than you are to receive.
We are each different souls, with different experiences, and different understandings of the world. So much of this album was born from a disagreement, the friction, the tension that arises from our differences. We want to find a way to peace. And so, we look to the ones who agree with our perspective. But is unity homogeneity? Or can differences by tolerated? Even needed?
How can any of us ever see a different perspective if we all think exactly alike? Maybe there’s a love that transcends differences, that reaches across division and disagreement to find that which we hold in common.
This song with tracked as a three-piece, just like we tracked our first record when my brother was still in high school. It was an unintentional throwback to a simpler time of life - one of the few days at Sound City where all five of us weren’t there. I played Tony the song idea and he said, “Let’s track it!”
This entire song is built on a premise that is fairly tongue-in-cheek, even a bit humorous. I love how the sun begins to reach towards a transcendent truth, only to fall again into a parody of humanity’s pride.
“What if me and you
Were in each other’s shoes?
Could we rise above the scars
That we both put each other through?
I think I’m ready to try us
To put the past behind us
Maybe I’d be ready to try
If I were you.”
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