If you own a Fastball album, it's probably their second one, All The Pain Money Can Buy, with the hits "The Way" and "Out Of My Head." But the band kept making music and built up an impressive, if little-heard, catalog. "'Til I Get It Right" is one of those songs that Fastball diehards love.
The guy in the song is alternately emboldened and despondent as he tries to muster up the courage to contact his ex. He can't bring himself to do it, but he comes close when he finds himself at a bar where they are playing one of his favorite songs. "That's a great statement about how music can take the edge off all kinds of stuff," Fastball's Tony Scalzo said in a Songfacts interview.
The main songwriters in Fastball are Tony Scalzo and Miles Zuniga. Early on they wrote separately, but on later albums they collaborated. This is one of the songs they wrote together.
"I started that out with a piano playing these chords, and with my right hand, I started doing the climbing - the accompanying melody that basically starts the whole song," Scalzo said. "Miles comes in, 'Spent all my money at the record store.' Then we come up with some of the words and then that chorus."
Sometimes the best lyric isn't the most elegant, especially when it's coming from the direction of a guy who's not in a great mental state. That's how this song ended up with:
I wrote you a letter but I tore it up Then I wrote another letter and I tore it up
"Talk about cheating on the lyrics," said Scalzo. "We couldn't come up with another line, so we just repeated it and it came out that way. The reiteration drives it home."
Jeff Groves played the saxophone on this track and also contributed backing vocals.