Unsettled

Album: East (2016)
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Songfacts®:

  • The word "unsettled" has a double meaning in this song. It could be describing the person feeling like they don't have a home or it could be referring to the confines of a relationship. Both could apply to Justin Rutledge, who was going through a time of change in his own life: He had ended an unhealthy relationship and had sold his home in Toronto to go live on the lake in Prince Edward County.
  • In Rutledge's interview with CBC's q, he described this song as being about "the dark night of the soul." When we spoke with Rutledge, we asked him to expand on that thought. "I truly believe that recovery requires some kind of stasis where you have to sit and internalize and lick your wounds and confront that darkness," he said. "The character says, 'I just want to be unsettled tonight,' and I think that's part of the healing process. The song really is about two people that are not good for one another, but there's really no anger in the song. 'You and I have never been made of the right stuff' – that's just it. It's not you, it's not me, it's us. We're no good for one another together. It's not your fault. It's not my fault. So let's start the recovery. Let's start healing. I think that being hurt and recovering from that hurt is important in building character, so that's all somewhere in the song."
  • We asked Rutledge about what inspired the truthful line, "I was never much of a friend."

    "There is a lot of honesty going on in the song, which I like," he replied. "That was written about a specific incident. There are so many things you want to say, and I never said that to her, but I wanted to. I knew I wasn't the kind of friend or partner she wanted. I wasn't good to her and I knew that she wasn't good to me, but she didn't have to say it.

    That line is:

    You were never much of a savior
    I was never much of a friend


    People want things in a relationship. There's a pull and a push and a balance. A relationship requires a balance on both parts and sometimes it's not there, and it wasn't there for the people in this song.
  • Some of Rutledge's favorite lyrics he has ever written are in the second verse of this song:

    You were always iron and glacier
    I was always venom and red


    In Rutledge's CBC's q interview, he explained his use of the word "baby" in the "you and I have never been made of the right stuff, baby" lyric [and a possible New Kids on the Block reference?]: "I always want to use the word 'baby' in a song and that was the right spot to use the word 'baby,' especially after 'the right stuff, baby.'"

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