"The Only One" started as an idea for a synth banger that co-singer-guitarist Joe White recorded onto his phone. He recalled to Uncut magazine: "A few months later I listened back to it, and was like, there's something in that. I found some chords on guitar that worked over it, and it turned into this sad country song. It was living in two different worlds. I brought that bassline into the band room and it all fell into place there."
White had been listening to a lot of Nick Cave, and he looked to the Bad Seeds frontman for guidance on how to approach the song's lyrics. "I heard him speak about how the best love songs are the most awfully sad ones," he recalled. "It made more sense to me to write a love song than it did to write a song about the state of the world, these big concepts."
The album title Sideways to New Italy refers to a village near New South Wales' Northern Rivers where drummer Marcel Tussie is from. According to a press statement, the band found inspiration in the idea of "people trying to find home somewhere alien" after feeling "completely rudderless on tour."
The spoken-word section on Sideways to New Italy's opening track "The Second Of The First" begins Rolling Blackout's manifesto for displacement from home.
Nothing is the same, the street hasn't changed
Five songs later, "'The Only One' completes it with a total contradiction.
Back into the new world, it looks exactly the same