Car Crash

Album: Some Mad Hope (2007)
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Songfacts®:

  • Sometimes, especially if we're dealing with depression, we just want to feel something, even if it's not good for us, like a car crash. That's what Matt Nathanson was expressing here.

    "The song is about feeling alive," he said. "I hadn't felt alive."
  • Nathanson was going through a tough time in his marriage, which influenced the songs on the Some Mad Hope album. "Car Crash" is the first track, establishing his thirst for adventure that he feels he's lacking. In the next track, "Come On Get Higher," he looks for it in the form of a romantic interlude outside his marriage. This comes at a cost, of course, and he struggles with the decision. By the end of the album he's come to the conclusion that his marriage is worth saving, expressed in the song "All We Are."
  • "Car Crash" was the first single from Some Mad Hope, Nathanson's sixth album. His previous album, Beneath These Fireworks, was his first on a major label - Universal - and released in 2003. It flopped, and Nathanson moved to a smaller label, Vanguard, which gave him the creative freedom he was after. It took him three years to make, but Some Mad Hope was a breakthrough both artistically and commercially - it's where he feels he found his voice. "It was a record I made pretty much by myself in between being on a major label and signing with an independent label," he told Songfacts. "I made that record the way I wanted to make it, without anyone telling me how to."
  • This was the first song to garner Nathanson some airplay and get him on a chart - it landed on Billboard's Adult Alternative Airplay and Adult Pop Airplay tallies. But the next single, "Come On Get Higher," was the big hit, becoming his signature song. According to Nathanson, his label picked "Car Crash" as the first single. He thinks it's because they were all guys and the song is very masculine, with references to car crashes and bombs and other extreme events.
  • Nathanson wrote this and the other songs on the album with his producer, Mark Weinberg. It had a long gestation period. Nathanson had the chorus for a while but it took him a long time to flesh out the song.

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