Felix Walworth is a Brooklyn based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. Their songwriting project, called Told Slant, has been described as “very sad” and “like church.”
“Meet You In The City”
I wrote this song on the heels of a mental health diagnosis that interfered with my ability to tour, and, for a time, my ability to live independently and comfortably. I was thinking a lot about interdependency and devotion, and wound up rediscovering Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska in my search for music that reflected my state of being: My own feelings of alienation from my community coupled with my desire to be held and supported by them.
Like many of Springsteen’s characters, the simultaneous devotion and restriction of family, paired with both the allure and fear of setting out on one’s own, left me with a choice. But the refrain I turned to here, “That I am always alone,” seemed to me an encouragement to leap into unknownness, to be devoted to myself for a change. But as Springsteen sings on “Highway Patrolman,” “Nothing feels better than blood on blood… Man turns his back on his family, well he just ain’t no good.”
This song is about two people who need their love to change the world for them. What happens after Mary takes that long walk? What happens if our patterned behavior, modes of attachment, and anxieties persist in the promised land? What if nothing changes, and it’s our own fault?
“Run Around The School”
This is a song about pining. I think unrequited love is beautiful, and although it’s a sad feeling to be holding, it’s also a lucky one. How lucky to be in love with someone! And how devotional to hold those feelings without the expectation of anything in return. In a sense, unrequited love is love’s least transactional mode. Contrasted with the messy interconnectedness of the love story in “Flashlight On,” I wanted this song to feel joyous in its simplicity, if not a bit pathetic in its undaringness to dream.
Here’s where the record begins diving into the conflicts that leave families and communities estranged, but still entangled. This song is about dissonance in my closest relationships that slowly hollowed them out. We’re still blood on blood, but now it feels confusing, murky. All we know is that we are still family.
This song explores the one of our choices: to stay. We all know what happens to Springsteen characters who never make it out of their town, who need to take care of someone, or who don’t have the resources (material or emotional) to escape. They live their lives with regret, they fixate on moments of youthful hope, moments when there was still a choice to be made. Darker still, there is the suicidality of Springsteen’s State Trooper, someone begging to be “delivered from nowhere” as he watches the emptiness of his life drive him to consider killing a cop pulling him over on the highway. As the song fades out, with Springsteen’s character hollering madly into his Tascam through a delay unit, we’re pretty sure about what happened to him.
An escape fantasy, but also a hesitation. I wrote this song on the piano over the course of a tour across the US, using pianos I could find in venues after soundcheck to work out the feeling and the words. At this point on the record, it has become clear that I can’t make a choice when it feels like my only options are loneliness. So what happens when we make the choice not to choose?
“Moon and Sea”
Here I explore the impossibility of not choosing: To do nothing is actually to stay, and worse, with a resignation in regards to the dysfunction of my family life. To not choose is to be whittled away slowly, it’s own sort of suicidality. To render oneself incapable of feeling love and also providing it, and to fade and amble.
“Fog On The Glass”
Like I mentioned earlier, when Springsteen’s characters are left to languish in their New Jersey towns, when all their paths for escape have caved in, they ruminate on those moments that they could have seized to change the course of their lives. What if we had just run away? What if I had never met you? What if I was brave, or if I was selfish? There’s a martyrdom to these characters, but a cowardice as well. That’s what makes them, and these moments of choice, so tragic.
If I have to stay here and take care of you, and you have to take care of me, can we at least commit to excavating the things that make that so hard to do? My favorite line in this song is, “What’s scary isn’t darkness. It’s the moment you turn on the light.” To see your loneliness clearly, or to look back on your life with the revelation that you were hardly living, is more horrifying even than venturing into the unknown.
“From The Roof Beams”
I will stay with you even if it kills me.
“Walking With The Moon”
It will probably kill me.
(Photo Credit: Amalia Soto)