Michelle Branch is a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter. She released two platinum albums when she was still a teenager. Because those records were such huge hits, for a long time they defined her as an artist—for better or worse. Over a decade later, in 2017, Michelle put out her third album, Hopeless Romantic. In this episode, Michelle talks about why she was in musical limbo for so long, as she takes apart her song “Best You Ever."
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
You're listening to song exploder, where musicians take apart their songs and piece by piece, tell the story of how they were made. I'm rishikesh your way.
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it's up, there's some explicit language in this episode. Shall branch is Grammy winning singer songwriter shipowners
two platinum albums when she was still a teenager,
Those records are huge heads and so the sound on those records to find her as an artist for better or for worse off.
A decade later into doesn't seventeen we shall put out her third hopeless romantic in this up.
Shall talks about why she was in musical level for so long as it takes a partisan best you ever
this is Michelle branch
I was signed in a really young age. I was sixteen or seventeen when I signed to maverick, and my first album came out in two thousand one, and everyone's first impression of me was that
Had a hard time, letting go of that. I feel like a lot of people just wanted me to like make a pop record, but
started to dawn on me that I had never made an album that sounded like what I really listened to.
I don't listen to a lot of pop pop means.
jack, I'm more of a fan of rock music, and I found my
self in a weird position, because I was
under contract and they wouldn't
drop me, but they wouldn't release any of the music I was making, so it was really frustrating it felt kind of like I was being held hostage by my own record label. I was like. Can I just
please put out an album and there like. Well, this is
pop, and I dont know what to do with it and it was really really really frustrating and so finally, in two thousand fourteen anew,
label had came in and he's like. I cannot believe what you ve been through, and you too,
serve a fresh start and I'm gonna. Let you go so. I finally got out of my contract with them in two
I was in fourteen, but it was really strange time for me
because I was
newly divorced, I had just separated from my husband or nearly
eleven years and my whole identity is like a twenty year old as an adult
It's actually because I had spent my whole life signed there, and so suddenly it felt as if, like the rug had been pulled out from under me, and I was like what is happening with my life and that
the slate has been wiped clean. So that's when I started writing for this record
this song was written at a writing session with a dear friend of my name, Amy clooney, and this writer and allay name harlin silverman. We went
harlin's house and allay any as this little home studio and where this song started was meeting
about how much I love
yeah yeah yeahs go on and tell me what that is, and I was talking about Karen o's voice and how I'm just a super fan of hers. The I was like: let's try to rate a yeah, yeah, yeah song and harlan picked up.
base, so there's the base and a drowned lived, and I was coming staff and eventually humming, something that became them vocal melody and that's when we kind of stopped and said
Ok, what do we
want the song to be about Amy was going through a breakup. I had just gone through a breakup and because we know each other outside of work like there was a comfort level there, where we could really just shoot the shit about our breakups Amy, and I started talking shit. What if we like, wrote a letter to our exes if, like hey one day, you're going to regret breaking up with me, you're going to miss all of the things that that I did for you that made your life so easy that you took for granted. She was scribbling away on a piece of paper and she just kind of like handed me this letter. It said dearest lover made this account, then still I wanted it to sound kind of like fuck, you yeah. I wanted it to sound like I still had some like power over the situation. I actually have to say, like my divorce was really really amicable and you know it just ran it's course, but I do feel like there's things that come up a year after breaking up with someone that you've been living with for so long that you're, like hey, you know what I wish I would have said this. I definitely knew he felt like. I was anticipating a lot of like what does this person need? What can I do to be more helpful and I have never fully felt thanked for that? Damn it, and so we had this like kind of weird little demo, it was unfinished there wasn't a bridge and it was very sparse, but the most important elements were there, which was the vocal melody and lyrics, and the
The demo has aware that doesn't appear on the album today
oh ends. With I'm
the best you never had, but
that made it a little bit too literal
ass, you ever dot dot dot.
Seems a little more
serious and kind of open ended, and I liked having.
Yet be that way as opposed to being laid out the best
that february I had met Patrick carney from the black keys at grammy party,
I remember walking in, unlike not really knowing any one and power
chick was sitting in the corner and he flagged me
over and he like what,
the hell have you been doing for hake
you haven't had a record out. What are you doing with your music? Are you still making music and that's when I told them like what was going on and, I said, hey, I know you're
really great producer. I would love it.
If you ever were open to
could. I send you some of my demos and pick your brain I'd love to get
your thoughts on it. He was like a totally I
it up signing with verve records July of twenty fifteen and at the end of the month, Patrick
and gus C4 and I went into the studio and allay augusta's house to work on the record
gus and patrick new one another, because gus played base in the turing ban for the black he's and gus became our kind of
co pilot, and I remember we listen to the demo of best you ever and we all agreed that it was like Draghi. It seem too slow
and we knew we wanted to speed it up. So we spend it up a bit
Pat colleague done a drum loop
when we started by like really wanted stuff
to be a little more brief oriented and coming from guitar world, but gases such a fantastic based player, a lot of that ended up being dictated in base world. There are three different base hurts going on so there's the base, and then we have the fender six. What is offender six, so low too
guitar, I guess, base. What is it?
interrupting for a second to answer. The question: vendor six is a bass guitar. It was originally called a fender basics, but it's smaller than an electric bass and it's styled more, like an electric guitar, just tuned, an octave lower back to one
Gus had one at the studio, and I was talking about how I love spaghetti western sounding guitar parts, and I love taking my guitar and tuning it down to sea and patrick was like. Oh, have you ever played offender six, and I was like no. What are you talking about, so we ended up doing it and a couple of tracks on the album where we doubled the baseline with the thunder six there's. Also some synth bass on there cause it didn't feel like it was low enough. We all played since, throughout the record
The role and theirs
and there was melodrama IRA.
The bridge next, because there was a bridge- and I remember writing it sitting in the studio I kind of played it for
in the room and patrick, was a great go in and sing it and jutsu, though, when you know I'm good enough, I think lyrically that bridge as much.
as its written about my ex husband. It's probably written about my record
eyeballs well like
No, I am try.
we'll get you guys to be on board with me like. I don't need you anymore
and so at that point we are like. Ok,
We are really into this. We really love this.
We want to see what this leads to
not signed to verve, but the head,
a verve at the time, would only approved for us to do five,
things. It was like. I don't know, Patrick's the right producer for this. You ve, never
worked together. So, instead of giving you a full record budget, I am only going,
Give you a budget should do five songs as like, ok! Well, let's
what this is like. So
we turned in those five songs and the guy at the record label
I mean hated, it was terrible. He came down to the studio. Annie
heard them and it was so awkward and we all just kind of sat there, a hen
smoke was like basically coming out of
apteryx ears and gus his ears and like tears, were singing and my eyes cause. I was just like see. This is what happens when I met a record company. I never get my music. I was already like looking for the escape hatch,
and he left the studio, and at that point patrick was like you know what gus michel, I'm really
to this project- I believe in what we're doing and if he doesn't believe in it too gives you, the bud.
to continue fuck that guy, like I'll pay for the album. If, if you want to continue- and so at that point back
picking gus, and I decided that we were gonna just continue working on the album and we weren't
going to talk to the guy at their wkrishwit harmful- and we are basically
like you know at the end of the day. If we turn in this album is it's and he hates it, then I'll be able to get
drop from the record label and I'll be able to take this album somewhere else and it'll, be mine, at least by patrick, was like all fine.
And set, let's just work,
The three of us like, let's go rogue and
It was really for to it
Then it was Patrick when I'm huh tentative that party and then it ended up being him cause. We ended up falling in love our making this record. So I'm glad it was him
it's gradual for sure. I think just all of a sudden, it was there and we were like oh
When did that happen, we were constantly talking, we'd leave,
being in the studio. All data gathered in separate
we go home late at night and still be like texting.
member going home from the studio like one of the first days of working, and I told my sister who is living with me at the time I was like, I feel like I've
I met someone who's, gonna change. My life, like I feel like
my collaborator like we're going to start a banned or something we just
totally are on the same wavelength, so it didn't occurred,
easy surface at that point that it was romantic. But of course like there,
nothing more romantic than taking some
I met there, cannot finance your album, the guy who hated
National stuff got fired, new label, people came in and we
finish the album
as painful as it was not having an album out for that long speech.
and of time. I'm actually really good,
For that, those albums didn't come out, because I don't
think they were right and I feel like as hard as it was most of the time away, afforded me kind of like a clean slate, and I found myself when I started this record feeling
like no one knew what to expect from me, and that was a really great place to be. It was incredibly freeing for me.
And now here is best you ever by michel branch in its entirety.
lives to meet you.
Is it song, exploded, dot net for links to buy this track and to learn more about michel branch and watch the video for best you ever for more on
after corny check out so
Exploder episode number eighty in which
trick and his uncle ralph carney breakdown. The theme they made for the netflix show bo jack horsemen.
Next time on song, exploder fleet foxes,
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Transcript generated on 2023-06-16.