Dan Wilson is one of those rare souls who, seemingly with ease, write glorious pop hooks by the dozens. Wilson hasn’t lost his touch for even a second over the years, as his wonderful new album shows. Today, we are highlighting the single “Your Brighter Days”, with a video from Wilson describing the inspiration for the tune and Wilson adds onto that by explaining more about the song below.
Adapted from “Words and Music” by Dan Wilson show, Room 5, Los Angeles
“Several years ago, I took a flight to Greece, where, amazingly, my song ‘Breathless’ was number one on the Greek charts. I had brought a bunch of books with me and I planned to spend the time relaxing and reading. It was going to be a long flight, with a stop in Amsterdam. There was a disabled child across the aisle from me who had a lot of ticks. He was traveling with his brother and mother and someone who might have been an aunt. One of his ticks was that every once in a while he would shriek really loudly. Each time he shrieked really loudly all the people in the cabin around us would jump in their seats. No one wants to hear loud shrieking on an airplane in flight. Everyone’s already suspending disbelief: “Well, you know, we’re thirty thousand feet in the air and we’re flying now—AHH!!! what was that?… Oh, just that kid again.” Anyway, it happened a whole bunch of times during the flight.
“Finally, I just started laughing and I couldn’t stop. I just got the giggles. I had reached my breaking point. I wasn’t upset or mad. It was just so funny that I would see my fellow passengers sitting around me reading their Wall Street Journals and then the kid would make this terrifying sound and their arms would jump up in their seats. While I was laughing, I felt a hand on my arm. It was the kid’s Mom reaching across the aisle. She leaned across the aisle and from behind me she said into my ear: ‘“It’s easy for you to laugh—you don’t have to fucking live with him.’” Then of course I laughed even harder. It was really a beautiful moment and I turned around and she was smiling.”
“I have a disabled family member who doesn’t shriek, but who is a handful. So I could understand some of what the Mom was talking about. She and I just ended up kind of nerding out about issues of mental typicalness and atypicalness. We talked about the challenges to a family when one of the members has an unusual condition, like shrieking loudly or whatever it might be. It was really fun to talk to her, but also I could see she had that Mom thing of “do not cross me because I will fuck you up.” But she was also ready to be very alive and happy and fun and I got this strong feeling of compassion from her and for her.”
“I arrived in Greece and of course I was horrifically jet-lagged and so I was up in the wee hours with nothing to do. I had my guitar and I just started thinking of this melody and I started writing a song to that Mom, basically saying—it’s gonna be cool, the sun is gonna break through the clouds, Michelangelo has got a lot of those God-rays but not all of them, and you’re going to have some and it’s gonna be cool. And I almost wrote it for me as well in my life. Then I let it be for a while and rediscovered it quite a while later and found that I really love it. It feels very true.”