“It’s kind of a beast of a song,” Typhoon vocalist-guitarist Kyle Morton says with a laugh about the title track on their new single, “Common Sentiments.” “We recorded it three or four times.” Although the multi-person Portland, Oregon-based group has been playing the song live for the past year or so, they felt stymied by it in the studio. There was something about the variety of time signatures, as well as their particular approach to recording drums (two kits, one in each speaker), that made the process particularly arduous. But nevertheless, they found a way to make it work, and thus began what Morton calls the jumping-off point for their forthcoming 13-track album, White Lighter, due sometime next year.
They orchestrated the rest of the song with banjos, violins, percussion, horns and an orchestra of other neo-folk instruments, all building a densely textured backdrop for some personal lyrics to Morton about feeling doubts as he’s gotten older. “The song is about my being kept up at night by all the things I ever wanted to be in life, having accomplished none of them,” he says. “There is an enormous tension between the delusions of grandeur and the simple reality that my health and strength decrease tangibly every day. It makes me laugh sometimes that I’m this old man trying to dress up, rather pathetically, like a young pop musician. In the end the most I can hope to accomplish is to accept my own nullity.” Then, almost as a parenthetical aside, he says. “That has so far proven quite difficult!”
Morton started writing the song a couple of years ago, as it came to him in pieces. As he thought more about it, lyrics came to him as he tried to figure out his quandaries. “In the song, I mention this idea of wanting to be a superhero when I grow up,” he says. “I wanted to help people. I wanted to do the right thing. This is one of those ideas I will struggle with for the rest of my life. Truth becomes kind of relative and knowing how to help people can be difficult [as you get older].” The result of all his questioning is a complex, and somehow uplifting, considering one of the turning points is him saying, “I’ll write a song I need to make myself feel better.” And he did.
Stream “Common Sentiments” below:
Typhoon - Common Sentiments