Silver Tongue

Silver Tongue

Mackenzie Scott’s Southern roots have clearly emerged over the course of her four LPs. The 29-year-old songwriter from Macon, Georgia, has become a force, blending a homespun charm with a penetratingly critical inward gaze. Her latest LP is no different. “The album is about pursuit and desire, and the sort of emotions that arise whenever someone is pursuing something that they want,” she tells Apple Music. Scott uses her TORRES project as a cathartic sounding board, dissecting her choices and the impact they have on herself and the ones she loves. Here Scott peels back the layers of Silver Tongue, song by song.
Good Scare “Well, it seemed like a good single to choose for the same reason that it is a good album opener. I mean, it was a song born out of fear. Fear was the primary motivator―fear of being left. And it was my way of writing a song about how I really wanted someone to stay. But I also wanted them to know that I wasn't going to trap them into staying. I thought it seemed like a fun song to lead with.”
Last Forest “‘Last Forest’ is really centered around that sort of magic feeling that you don't get very often in a lifetime, whenever you meet somebody and you feel like you've known them forever. Sometimes it doesn't happen at all for some people, and some people experience it multiple times in a lifetime. This song captures the moment that that last happened to me.”
Dressing America “‘Dressing America’ started as way more of a straight-up rock song before the strummy guitar sound was on it. It came about in a sort of more backwards way—the beat was the thing that came first. The lyrics, the melody, and the sort of sparkly New Wave-y stuff was added later. It didn't feel cohesive with the rest of the songs that I had already written for the album and what it needed. It needed to be grounded a bit more, which is why I gave it a guitar strum and the pedal steel as well. I thought about throwing it out altogether, but I came back very quickly and decided that it wasn't probably a smart move to throw out what could be the pop hit of the record.”
Records of Your Tenderness “This one is about the artifacts that are left over after a relationship. When someone is not in your life anymore, you sort of just hold on to those things and keep them around. Or if it's more of a temporary separation and you're sort of like longing, and you have their ashes in the ashtray and their scent on your clothes. It's just kind of about these things, these objects through which we see people that we love and that we long for. It's also kind of a nod to Transparent Things, the title of Nabokov's novel. It’s a nod to the famous line 'These transparent things, through which the past shines.' It's about how these inanimate objects hold meaning and attach themselves to us, or rather how we attach the people that we love to items.“
Two of Everything “This was essentially an apology that I wrote in advance to a person whose girlfriend I was pursuing, who I eventually ended up with. It was my attempt at apologizing in advance. It's not that I needed permission to feel okay. It was more that I'm better in writing than I am in any other way, so to put words down onto paper and then to sing them is my strongest form of communication. And I wanted to communicate something really specific, which was that I was sorry for the pain that I was about to cause.”
Good Grief “‘Good Grief’ is more of a nod to my Southern upbringing than anything. I'm not sure how familiar you are with the Southernisms, but one of them is "good grief!" When you think about it for the first time, I was kind of like, what is good grief? Grief is not good. Grief is awful, grief hurts, and grief is miserable. I took the whole idea and went further with it and thought about this sort of way that sadness is fetishized in our culture. It’s the way that it's portrayed in films and television. Often sadness is really glamorized, and I just hate that. I think it's really irritating, and depression is not fun, and loss is not fun. I just wanted to take aim at that idea.”
A Few Blue Flowers “This one has a pretty straightforward title. It's also a reference to 'Records of Your Tenderness'—it's very self-referential in that way. A handful of blue flowers was one of the aforementioned artifacts that I was left with in this particular relationship that I was pursuing. It’s pretty straightforward: It’s just an item from a relationship I now hold on to.”
Gracious Day “I released a demo version of that song [in 2019]. It was a just a guitar and my voice, and I added a little bit of sparkle in the studio, but I didn't want to touch it too much. I felt like, as a grounding mechanism, that I needed at least one of those tracks on the album that left a little breathing room. It doesn’t have any percussion, and I wanted something that was just beautiful and simple. There's not a whole lot of that on the rest of the album.”
Silver Tongue “The album is about pursuit and desire, and the sort of emotions that arise whenever someone is pursuing something that they want. There's a lot of ugliness to it. There's a lot of darkness to it as well. I thought that the final song on the record sort of encapsulated all of those feelings. Not just in the lyrics, but sonically as well. I feel like it really captures the dark and the light and that whole spectrum of emotion that comes before on the album.”


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