The Only Thing

Songfacts®:

  • This bittersweet duet between Travis frontman Fran Healy and Susanna Hoffs of the Bangles appears on the Scottish rock band's ninth studio album. Healy told Apple Music how Hoffs was brought to the project: "I thought the album needed a duet, and I thought, 'Oh my god, Susanna Hoffs.' I met her on Twitter, and I said to her, 'You're amazing. I love your voice.' A year and a half after that first communication, we didn't communicate, but singers and artists are like dogs in the park. They meet each other and behave like they've always known each other. Whenever I hear Susanna's voice, it transports me as a 47-year-old person to when I was 14, to a simpler time when things were just a little bit more basic and simple, and it's a nice feeling I get."
  • The music video features the two singers, backed by the rest of the band, performing against a black backdrop. In an NME interview, Healy explained the logistics of filming a video during a pandemic. "This is definitely my Covideo. One of the main prerequisites was to somehow get us all on the same stage and try to capture the spontaneity of a duet while the performers are in different locations," he said. "Leading up to the shoot, I would send Susanna a video of a great duet. 'Summer Wine,' 'I Got You Babe,' 'Islands in the Stream.' I hired a small film crew and persuaded Glasgow's Theatre Royal to open its doors to us. I directed the shoot remotely, via three phones. One in the DP's ear, one FaceTime trained on the monitor and one iPhone with the band. There were so many moving parts. I'm amazed we got there and it turned out great."
  • For the first time since the band's 2003 album, 12 Memories, Healy took on the role of primary songwriter. His bandmates helped with songwriting duties while he put most of his energy into raising his son, who was born in 2006. Fourteen years later, the teenager gave his dad the push to get back into the game. The singer told American Songwriter: "My son was front and center on my work bench and that was my project. For the past 14 years that was the thing. About a year ago, he came up to me when I was in the middle of working and he told me, 'I'm good, Papa, you can do the band now.' He sort of sat up like Pinocchio on the table and said, 'I'm a real boy, now, OK?' Because I'd been being a dad, I hadn't really given myself to the band at all. When we got off the road at the end of the last tour, I thought I'm not going to release anything until I'm absolutely 100 percent happy with it."
  • This was released as the fourth single from 10 Songs.

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