Back From the Dead

Back From the Dead

Lzzy Hale started writing Halestorm’s fifth album in the period she calls “B.C.”—Before Covid. When the pandemic hit and the world shut down, the guitarist and vocalist found herself having an identity crisis. “I went from being Lzzy Hale, the rock star onstage, to Elizabeth Hale in my pajamas for three days, sitting on the couch, not knowing what the future holds,” she tells Apple Music. “What I don’t think I realized before is that all of the things I do with the band—traveling, live shows, writing songs—are the forward movement of having a mission. When all that is stolen, you look in the mirror and ask, ‘Who am I without all of this?’” Despite the deep anxiety and unease that question presented, Hale persevered and wrote her most revealing album yet. “I had to kick myself in the butt and write my way out of it,” she says. “There’s something that happens when you write a song that helps you work through those issues. It’s truly a form of therapy. And now when I hear it, I realize I wasn’t alone in those feelings. My most personal album also became our most universal.” Below, she discusses each song on Back From the Dead. “Back From the Dead” “This is the song that blew the doors open for this album. We'd written some others, and we liked a lot of them, but this one became a keystone. It became the road map for the other songs. But it’s really a song of survival. It’s a war cry. It’s about that bravery you have to have in order to get yourself out of that dark place, to pull yourself out of that grave you’ve been digging for yourself. I’m singing the craziest I’ve probably ever sang. My little brother is going nuts on the drums. Everyone is on 11.” “Wicked Ways” “This is probably one of the heaviest songs on the record. It’s about acceptance, but not just acceptance of the things you like about yourself. It’s also about acceptance of your dark side. Something that I realized over the past couple years is that I can be really mean when I want to be, and I make huge mistakes. And I say things I don't mean. Does that make me evil? Probably not. But in seeing both sides of myself, I can form a truth. I can accept those two sides of myself and not pretend I have everything figured out.” “Strange Girl” “This song was directly inspired by a conversation that I had during lockdown with a young fan, about 15. She ended up coming out to her parents shortly before lockdown and they were not having any of it, so it was really hard for her to be stuck there with people that weren’t supportive of her being her truest self. I took this conversation into one of my writing sessions and wrote her an anthem. Not a ballad, but an anthem saying that she could wake up every morning and just be proud of her most authentic self.” “Brightside” “Ironically, this is probably the darkest, most sarcastic song on the album. It was kind of a boiling point for me. It was written during the pandemic that we’re still going through, and it’s just me looking at the world and seeing that there’s so much hate for hate’s sake. There’s so many people arguing over petty bullshit that doesn’t matter. And then there’s personal questions like, ‘Are we ever going to go out again?’ It all boiled down to, ‘I’ve got to keep looking on the bright side because it only gets darker.’” “The Steeple” “With this song, I’m trying to recreate that fellowship and that community that I love so much about the live show and just being surrounded by people. We all get to put our fists in the air and celebrate together, and what’s going on in the outside world doesn’t matter for that moment. I just really wanted to create this celebratory song that we could all sing together—that’s why there’s so many voices on it. I wanted it to be like we’re all part of the same choir. Basically, I’m creating the church for the Devil’s music.” “Terrible Things” “The first version of this was ‘I Am Terrible Things,’ and I was talking about all these things that I find disparaging about myself. Then I had this moment when I decided it wasn’t about me. And also, I don’t want to have a song reminding me of all my past mistakes. So, it became about me looking at the world we live in and asking how you maintain hope in humanity when you see so much destruction and war and people starving. I feel like we’re taking these huge steps backward in evolution. So, it’s hard to maintain that faith in humanity, but I have to. Or else what am I doing this for?” “My Redemption” “When I wrote this song, I had made some mistakes. I had done some things I said I’d never do, and I was having a hard time forgiving myself. This song needed to happen in order for me to get over that. One thing I learned through writing this song is that I am still the only person in this world that will truly ever be in my way, and I’m also the only person that can save me. I can’t just sit around and wait for someone to tap me on the shoulder and tell me, ‘Everything’s going to be OK’—I have to do that myself. So, this was, indeed, my redemption song.” “Bombshell” “This was one of the earliest demos we put together for the album. When we were making the Reimagined EP a couple of years ago, one of the guitar techs broke the Les Paul my guitar player, Joe [Hottinger], was playing. The high-E tuning mechanism failed, but Joe was still plugged in and started playing the limp string as a joke. It sounded gnarly, and he recorded it on his phone. That’s what the intro is based on. We used the double meaning of ‘bombshell,’ as far as it’s a girl but it’s also an explosive. It’s one of my favorites.” “I Come First” “OK, this started out as a sex song, but then I decided that some of the lines were really cheesy. I had whips and chains in there at one point, and I was like, ‘Man, I can’t do that.’ So, I decided to take all the sex lines out, and all of a sudden, it revealed itself as a self-love song. It’s saying you can’t give to anybody else until you fill your own cup first. I still kind of think of it as the sex song because that’s where it started, but it doesn’t have to be that. Unless you feel so inclined…” “Psycho Crazy” “Apparently, this is my dad’s favorite song on the album, which surprises me. I’m like, ‘Dad, are you all right?’ But I’ve been told many times over the course of my life that I’m crazy for doing this, or crazy for being gung-ho about the band and the music or myself—that I’m too passionate about certain things. And in those moments, I’m like, ‘Well, this isn’t even my crazy. If you really want me to go there, I can.’ It’s about taking the negativity that people offer you and using it as your superpower.” “Raise Your Horns” “A few years ago, my friend Jill Janus from the band Huntress committed suicide. I felt very helpless about it. When you know someone who does that, you think, ‘Could I have done something? Maybe I should have reached out.’ On a whim, I put together this hashtag, #RaiseYourHorns, and I basically said, ‘If you’ve been touched by mental illness or know someone who is, take a picture of yourself and raise your horns.’ It was this grand effort in real time to show everyone that they’re not alone. And it took off like gangbusters. So, I wrote this song as a way to say the same thing—that we’re not alone in our struggles.”

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