Save Me From Myself

Album: Burning The Days (2009)


  • Matt Scannell describes this song as "very much a song, stylistically or lyrically, I think, that comes from a similar place as 'Everything You Want' in terms of writing things a couple of steps back from the obvious. And I put a lot more clouds and mist into this song than something that was very clear and crisp and obvious. I've been trying to create characters more," says the lead singer, "because all my songs tend to be first person. And it's ironic that I would be talking about a song titled such as 'Save Me From Myself' as having elements of third person narrative in it. But the characters and the verses in it are an attempt for me to sort of illustrate these precarious situations. One of the things that's hard for me is I can see problems. I can see things inside of myself that are broken. I can see things inside of myself that are dangerous. I can see things inside of myself that desperately need help. And so I was trying to use characters in precarious situations to illustrate that jeopardy."

    "I grew up going to Cape Cod in the summer, but the ocean has always been a big part of my life, and it's also a big part of my songwriting. And I think there's a real beauty to it, but there's such a danger to it. The sailors in the first verse, it's really knowing that, Man, that boat should be there. But they're out and the storm's coming, and if they're out in that, then they're not alive. Then they didn't make it. So I hope they're swimming. I hope they're trying to get through. And the little boy in the woods, it's the same kind of thing. And yet I'm just sort of sitting there looking at it. 'Seems to me I'm always miles away looking for my own face.' It's so detached, instead of doing the work, instead of going out there and finding them, I'm off thinking thoughts. So for me, instead of doing the work and trying to put the pieces back together and fix myself, I'm out there. For me, 'looking for my own face' was just really a lyric that means it's right in front of your eyes, and you can't see it."

    "'Happy endings all around, and still they haunt me.' That's the classic thing. I aspire to be a glass-is-half-full guy, and I think largely I'm in a much better place towards being that guy, but by nature, I think, I'm someone who tends to see a lot of negatives."

    "The reason I started writing songs, is I needed to get it out. And for me, the lyric and the chorus that I'm most proud of is, 'Save me from myself, I can't relate, we're mouth to mouth and still I suffocate.' It's like you have the beauty, you have the love, right in front of your face. It's almost the flip image for me of 'Everything You Want,' being on the outside on 'Everything You Want,' but here being on the inside in 'Save Me From Myself.' You've got that person who's there for you, who's breathing life into your body, and you're rejecting it. And whether that's coming from within or without is almost immaterial. And the second verse is in some ways more of the same. The key for me about that is it's all in my backyard. 'The bullet in the yard is slowly rusting, the bottle's cracked, the kid's come back, and I'm just looking.' It's my backyard, and it's all in disrepair and disarray, and there are dangerous things back there, and I'm just watching. The same thing with the relationship, 'The wine is on the floor, the candles flicker, your eyes fall and I'm appalled, it's all just cinder.' It's like, you could do something about it, but you don't. It's a really dark song. It's a really dark song. And you know when I say I try to put some hope into songs? This is a pretty dark song. I don't want to. But sometimes, you know what? Sometimes it's dark outside. Sometimes it's very dark inside."
  • "If I wasn't stuck in my own self very often, I would try to get me out of my life," laughs Matt. "I don't know if this is something other people feel or not – but I'm so hard on myself. I can be so bad to myself, I can be so mean to myself. With other people I try to be kind, and try to be gracious or helpful or whatever, I don't even know. But all of those graces that we show – that I show to other people - are kind of vacant and missing when I'm looking at myself. And sometimes that's a good thing, because you cut through the bullshit and you get right to the fundamental. And you can get through something very quickly, because you're cold and you're brutal and you're swift. And the problem is eliminated. This song, I think, is coming largely from a place of saying, 'You know what? I'm doing the best I can. Give me a break.'"
  • Releasing this song as the first single from Burning The Days was certainly not central in Matt's mind when he wrote it. "When I write a song, the last thing I'm thinking about is, is this the single? It's about, does this song resonate for me? Am I feeling this song? Am I proud of it?"
  • Neil Peart from Rush plays drums on this track. Peart also played on the Burning The Days tracks "Even Now" and "Welcome To The Bottom," and he also contributed lyrics to "Even Now."
  • Never a fan of co-writing in the past, Matt always viewed his songwriting talent as a finite source, and worried that co-writing would somehow dilute that well. In the six years between Vertical Horizon's last album and this one, he changed his attitude - and gained a new respect for it. "I've done a fairly severe about-face on the concept of collaboration," he confesses. "My hesitancy to do co-writes initially came out of a place of insecurity, I guess, is probably the easiest way to put it. For years and years and years and years I felt this is my precious gift that's been given to me, and I don't want to waste it, dilute it, by working with other people. And it was a very naïve viewpoint. And you don't really ever know what you're gonna get if you don't try it. You don't know what a roller coaster's like until you get on it. And I really hadn't done it, and I was hesitant to do it. And now what I've realized over the years of doing more and more collaboration - I mean, I've been writing a lot with my friend Richard Marx, and I wrote with Neil Peart for the new Vertical Horizon record, and all these Nashville collaborations that have happened - I've learned that you walk into the room with one set of skills and you wind up walking out with more. And whether or not the song is the greatest song in the world is almost immaterial, because you're furthering yourself. Even if you go in and you don't really wind up connecting with the person, you don't really wind up writing the greatest song, you're able to benefit from that experience by knowing to say the right things, and to try to finesse it and move it along. That comes from writing with people who are vastly less experienced than I am, but also writing with people who are master craftsmen and women who have years and years more experience than I do. And I just view it as a very different thing.

    Now, having said that, there are certainly moments where I want to be alone when I'm writing. And I think fundamentally most of the songs on this – 10 of the 11 songs on the new Vertical Horizon record are my songs that I wrote on my own. But I think it just can be one facet to songwriting; writing on your own. And collaboration can just be this beautiful thing.

    I often look at collaboration as a volleyball match. And you need to keep the ball in the air, which means the ideas need to go back and forth. And when it's not a collaboration is when the ball goes over the net and it just plunks right there in the sand, and the other person's not bringing anything to the table. So you try and avoid those." (Check out the full interview with Matt Scannell.)


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