The Center Won't Hold

Album: The Center Won't Hold (2019)
Play Video


  • Over a light beat, Carrie Brownstein delivers an agonizing message of existential despair.

    Everyone I know is tired
    Everyone I know is wired
    To machines, it's obscene
    I'll just scream 'til it don't hurt no more

    Brownstein explained: "In this song, a woman's desire is used against her, so she turns it into a sinister infectiousness. The narrator finds herself on the brink of self-annihilation, grappling with the paradox of an internal darkness at odds with the pressure to outwardly perform modes of joy, relatability, and likability."
  • The song title references part of W. B. Yeats' poem "The Second Coming."

    Things fall apart; the center cannot hold
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world

    The lines were widely quoted during the 2016 election of Donald Trump.
  • Written in the era of Trump and Brexit, The Center Won't Hold references the political tensions of the late 2010s. Brownstein and her bandmate Corin Tucker also allude to a more personal dissociation. "The themes on this record are about people who feel fraught and unsteady, but they are seeking ways to find strength," Brownstein explained to Q magazine. "[The title track] really spoke to that dichotomy. It tied into how things feel culturally, politically and emotionally."
  • Uncut magazine asked Carrie Brownstein if as seems increasingly like the center won't hold, what do we do? She replied: "We've existed for so long with this top-down leadership, and obviously there's been a lot of dismantling and reconsideration of whether that works for everyone, but so clearly it doesn't, because these systems of hierarchy ferment injustice and subjugation. I think while we do exist in this perennial uncertainty, which is excruciatingly uncomfortable. I sometimes wonder whether in the breaking apart of the center perhaps we won't find multitudes and if they are connected and in conversation, if that went be a better way of going forward."
  • Asked for a one line sentence that summarizes The Center Won't Hold album, Carrie Brownstein told Q Magazine: "The Center Won't Hold is a rumination on anger and despair that seeks connection as a form of hope."


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear: Teddy Bears and Teddy Boys in Songs

Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear: Teddy Bears and Teddy Boys in SongsSong Writing

Elvis, Little Richard and Cheryl Cole have all sung about Teddy Bears, but there is also a terrifying Teddy song from 1932 and a touching trucker Teddy tune from 1976.

George Harrison

George HarrisonFact or Fiction

Did Eric Clapton really steal George's wife? What's the George Harrison-Monty Python connection? Set the record straight with our Fact or Fiction quiz.

Michelle Branch

Michelle BranchSongwriter Interviews

Michelle Branch talks about "Everywhere," "The Game Of Love," and her run-in with a Christian broadcasting network.

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)

Graham Bonnet (Alcatrazz, Rainbow)Songwriter Interviews

Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai were two of Graham's co-writers for some '80s rock classics.

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & Tears

David Clayton-Thomas of Blood, Sweat & TearsSongwriter Interviews

The longtime BS&T frontman tells the "Spinning Wheel" story, including the line he got from Joni Mitchell.

The Untold Story Of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine

The Untold Story Of Fiona Apple's Extraordinary MachineSong Writing

Fiona's highly-anticipated third album almost didn't make it. Here's how it finally came together after two years and a leak.