JOHNNYSWIM was in the midst of recording their new album Georgica Pond and from a late night recording session came, what I consider to be their most well written and visceral song from the album, ‘Say Goodnight Instead’. Conjured from a place of emotional and physical weariness, and the sadness and rawness that usually accompanies that state of being.
‘Say Goodnight Instead’ came into being from a guitar riff emanating from Ramirez and the line “Don’t say goodbye, love/ Just say goodnight instead”, coming from Sudano’s weariness in that moment. These two simple yet utterly pure elements brought the song to life.
“Don’t say goodbye love, just say goodnight/ Though I know you’ll be gone by morning/ I’ll wake up pretend, that we’re still alright/ And next time I’ll heed all your warnings.”
The writing is perfect and beautiful, and oh so clever. With the phrase that bore the song being repeated throughout, and with each utterance the heaviness of the words growing, and the desperation and heartbreak growing more and more acute until it reaches its tragic, and inevitable conclusion.
“I’m gonna go to bed dreaming that you are still happy/ That I’m still the girl that you loved from that party/ We’ll go to bed early, just set the coffee and say goodnight instead/ Oh just say goodnight instead, oh just say goodnight instead/ Say goodnight instead.”
“It’s been so long since I felt you burning/ So long since I’ve felt your heat/ So long since/ I’ve felt you burn for me/ So long since I’ve felt your heat.”
As you sit and listen, getting lost in the melody and words, the weariness and raw emotion is palpable; as if you can feel it seeping into you and the space around you; as if you can reach out and touch the sadness, the desperation, and the love that is slowing slipping through your fingers like sand.
“Cause we got a beautiful thing/ A thing that’s not easy to find/ So don’t say goodbye love, say goodnight/ And we’ll save goodbye for when it dies/ Oh, we’ll save goodbye for when it dies.”