When It All Goes South

Album: Achin' and Shakin' (2010)

Songfacts®:

  • When the stage actress Laura Bell Bundy recorded her second album, she came up with the idea of dividing it into two sides: the upbeat "Shakin'" and and the more reflective "Achin'" side. Included on the "Achin'" side, Bundy told us, "It's the hardest one for me to sing now. It's the one that when I wrote it I was like, Oh my god, this is the best song I've ever written." She added: "Every relationship I get into I fall in love and then I leave. I have to go somewhere. And I don't mean I leave because I leave the relationship. I physically leave and move to a different town because of work. I dated a guy for five years. We started long distance, and at one point we were in California together, and then I moved to New York, and we were apart for a year, and then we broke up. And I dated someone in New York, and then I moved to Nashville, and then it all went south. I rode on an airplane leaving New York City, and I kept thinking, when it all goes south, like, the double meaning of it. I left and went south, and the relationship goes south. But it wasn't like it's gone south, it's like it's going to go. It was almost predicting it, and it's almost beautiful, because it's like what goes up comes down, and you took my feet off the ground, over the moon, I'm seeing the stars all around. And no thanks to you, when I finally land it'll be more than I can stand. When it all goes south. So it's like when it finally hits me, when I finally come down to reality, its going to be hard. I'm going to cry my way through the clouds, I'll try to spread my wings but they'll be tied and bound. I won't be able to move, but it's inevitable. It's horribly sad.

    But it's interesting because I had this idea, I'm on an airplane, I'm writing some lyrics, I was writing the idea of 'When It All Goes South.' I was really stuck on it, too, because I had this writing session with Nathan Chapman the following day, and I kept bringing it up, 'I really, really want to write this idea.' And he's going through something at the time, and he's like, 'I'm in the mood to write a sad song.' I was like, 'Me, too.' He was going through something that was relatable, but not like his relationship with his wife, it was something else. And he felt like this idea of if I didn't need you, just wanted you, I never would have let you make me feel so high. So for him that was the line that really represented the situation that he was in, that he had let someone or something be so important to him that he needed it. And then when it left, it was too hard for him to bear. So we were in a relatable situation, we had similar emotions about different situations. And the idea of making someone your gravity, giving them the power over you. And the whole time/space, amazing grace, you need it all to just be. For me it was, Oh, you need time, and you need space. You also need Jesus, you also need this, but can you just be. That was that idea. That was me almost commenting on myself, too. Like, can I just be? And can this person just be? But we need all these things, we need time and space. And we meant that almost scientifically, like you believe that there's time and space that exists in the universe. You also believe in God and amazing grace. That's where it gets real deep." (Read more in our interview with Laura Bell Bundy.)

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