Evering Road

Evering Road

Tom Grennan was somewhere in Vegas at a bachelor party when reality began to take hold. Before the UK singer-songwriter headed to the city in 2019, he’d been in denial about his relationship with his girlfriend. He’d failed to see it faltering and had ignored his role in causing that fracture. Away from home, though, he began to see that he’d been masking a sadness and denying a truth by, as he says, “doing stupid things.” It was a moment of clarity that helped fuel the making of his second album, Evering Road. “When I had the balls to own up to what I’d done, that’s when [making the album] started becoming cathartic,” he tells Apple Music. “Facing things. Saying no to things. And not being scared of that. That’s when the songs rolled off my tongue. There was a four-month period where I was bashing songs out every day.” Unsurprisingly, then, the album crackles with vulnerability as a self-scathing Grennan holds himself to account, says thank you and sorry to his ex-partner, and searches for redemption and betterment. His alloy of pop, soul, and indie sounds bigger and bolder than before, with strings and gospel flavors underscoring the songs’ emotional weight. “Unfortunately I lost someone that I loved through [making the album],” he says. “But I feel I needed to lose her to better myself—and I couldn’t keep her in that limbo. We all make mistakes, and the only thing we can do is be a better person. It does sound really clichéd, but I think I went into this album being a boy and came out as a man.” Here he talks us through the process, track by track. If Only “The whole song is: If only things were simple. I’ve put it at the beginning of the record because there’s strength in it and that was a turning point for me, writing that song—I’m moving into the better person. It’s opening my arms to say, ‘Yep, I’ve been a prick, I’ve done it. It was me, sorry.’” Something Better “The idea came when I was in Vegas. You know what stag dos get like—they get messy. This was in the time where I was painting a smile on, saying that I’m actually all right, but inside I was hurting and I was masking that with doing stupid things, making stupid mistakes, making stupid decisions. It wasn’t until I was in Vegas looking in the mirror that I just broke down. I didn’t like the person I was becoming. It was that moment of ‘There has to be better than this—I need to stop masking this and have that breakdown, that moment of sadness, to feel better.’” Little Bit of Love “Through a breakup you always have, ‘Am I making the wrong decision? Do I need this person [for me] to recover? Do I just need to bottle it up again and try and change while being in this relationship?’ It’s all about that, and realizing that I’ve actually lost [the relationship]. At the end, it has that feeling of the sadness, in the strings. It’s like, ‘Oh no, I have lost it—but I probably have made the right decision.’ It’s when you breathe and just go let it all out.” Amen “It’s all about being in a battle with yourself. A little bit like ‘Something Better,’ but actually having that amen moment and going, ‘Come on, man. You’ve made these mistakes, these decisions, so deal with it.’ I’ve just owned up to it. Thank god, because I’ve struggled to come to terms with [the fact that] it’s me and not her.” It Hurts “There were a lot of rumors going around about me, loads of different things. And when someone would tell me, I’d be like, ‘Shut your mouth, bruv, that’s not true.’ Trying to bat it off. None of it was true, but it would hurt me. I’d be crying about it. Because I wasn’t that guy. This is just saying, ‘Stop talking about me, because I don’t need this while going through this other thing.’ I did it with [producer] Dan Grech. It’s got quite a dirty bass on it, and also a mad drum pattern. I wanted it to be gospel but with production a bit Post Malone-y. I wanted it to feel like it’s hurting.” Never Be a Right Time “It’s kind of like, ‘Is there an easy way out?’ I made the decision about actually leaving the relationship, and the easy way out would have been for her to end it. So when I was writing it, I was like, ‘Couldn’t she just have done it so that I could have passed the blame onto her?’ I wanted that gospel vibe. I wanted people to hear that emotion in the choir. Not to feel sorry for me, but to feel that thing that a lot of people do—pass the blame and try and find the easy way out so they don’t have to own up to what they’ve done.” This Is the Place “When I broke away from the relationship, I moved to my mum and dad’s house, and that was the place where I could have space and time and reflection. I wanted people to think about where that place is for them. When I was at my mum and dad’s house, that was the beginning of the change. So when that song came, I was like, ‘OK, now is the time to start the process.’” Sweeter Then “I’ve always been a sweet person, but in the lyrics there’s things about me with cocktails and different women. When I was with her, I was sweeter and I thought I was better. Unfortunately I let myself go down that different, rocky road again. It’s basically me saying, ‘Why am I being an idiot and forgetting about the person she makes me? What have I done to deserve her?’” Make My Mind Up “This was where I was in a tug of war with myself. One minute I’d be like, ‘Nah, I want out.’ The other minute I’d be like, ‘This is what I want, I need to stay with her.’ If only I could have somebody to make my mind up for me, that would have been the best thing. It was a proper battle—not knowing what was around the corner. In that relationship, it was a comfort thing. The lyrics are some of my most honest. I wanted the strings to have that persona of crying.” Second Time “‘Second Time’ is about having that second chance. Unfortunately, there’s not going to be one, because it would just go back down the same road because I’d have that comfort blanket round me again. Don’t give it to me, because I’ll be that same prick again, I bet you. Dan played these drum patterns and I was like, ‘Nah, I don’t hear the song being like that. I hear it just being straight.’ He was like, ‘Nah, trust me. This is what it has to be, because it’s like the heart.’ In that moment of decision-making, your heart is all over the place. The drum bit gives you that feeling of stepping in and out of something.” You Matter to Me “I think that’s the softest I've ever sung. I’m very vulnerable. I’m very apologetic. It’s without doubt a love song, and it’s saying, ‘I’ll always love you and you’ll always matter to me. I just want you to know that I’ll always appreciate you even though I have treated you like an idiot sometimes.’” Oh Please “Listening to Nas a lot inspired it, and loads of old soul music. The whole song’s about me having to make a decision. When I was in a relationship, another girl came along and that tempted me. Thankfully I didn’t [do anything], but it was having that angel and devil on my shoulder, saying, ‘You should!’ ‘You shouldn’t!’ Even thinking about it is one of the reasons why I had to move on.” I Don't Need a Reason “It's like, ‘I don’t need a reason to love you because I do love you, but you wanted me to change and I’m trying to—but the only way I’m changing is if we’re not together.’ And that’s the sad thing about it.” Love Has Different Ways to Say Goodbye “I’m going to miss everything about what the relationship was—happy times, sad times. I’ve got to be on the goodbye and not go back, because it’s better for both of us. I’m actually saying goodbye to the songs as well, because they’re going to be other people’s, have meaning for other people and live in other people’s lives. I’ll be singing the songs onstage, but I don’t feel like I’ll be sat in that dark place. I feel like the songs will be sung back to me, and I’ll see other people’s emotions. It will be like the start of something new.”

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