Sidelines Aren't For You

LYRICS

So many reasons 
To turn the other way 
Play it safe, play it cool 
And live another day 

But you won’t take it, you must break it 
The change, it has to come 

Go, go, you know you can’t live with the 
Status quo, you can feel it in your gut so 
Go, go, get in the middle of it 
Go, go, the sidelines aren’t for you 
The sidelines aren’t for you 

So many before you 
Were willing to compromise 
But you know the consequence 
Of sitting out this fight 

You know deep inside that’s not  
Who you are 

Go, go, you know you can’t live with the 
Status quo, you can feel it in your gut so 
Go, go, get in the middle of it 
Go, go, the sidelines aren’t for you 
Sidelines aren’t for you 

Enough is enough 
No turning back 
Enough is enough 
It’s time to get up, time to rise up 

Go, go, you know you can’t live with the 
Status quo, if you feel it you just have to go 
Go, go, get in the middle of it 
Go, go, the sidelines aren’t for you 

Go, go, you know you can’t live with the 
Status quo, if you feel it you just have to go 
Go, go, get in the middle of it 
Go, go, the sidelines aren’t for you 

Sidelines aren’t for you

 

Inspiration for the song

When ordinary people do extraordinary things 

We sat at our kitchen table, a guitar and coffee mugs within reach. George started playing a few jazzy chords. What could this song be about? 

On the news, the Parkland teens were making waves in the wake of the horrific mass shooting at their school. In light of such tragedy, it was the voice of teenage survivors that was resonating with the nation. Countless people have tried to raise awareness of the gun violence pandemic, but very few resonated the way these "kids" did with their resolve, their poise and their eloquence. 

Meanwhile, the #MeToo movement was also gaining momentum and every day there were new stories breaking from women who have had enough. More and more celebrities came forward supporting the movement, sharing their own experiences with abuse. 

And more recently, a 16-year-old Swedish girl seems to be single-handedly taking on the world’s leaders, challenging them to not only face the facts about climate change, but to actually do something about it and do it now. 

It feels as if there is a shift going on. The disempowered are standing up and taking action. The line often attributed to Gandhi about being the change you wish to see in the world seems more apt than ever. 

So this is our musical tribute to the new activists. They are not content to sit by the sidelines. They are taking action. 

"Sidelines Aren't for You" will be released on Halloween at midnight. You can pre-save it on Spotify or pre-order on iTunes/Amazon to help us get more love from "the algorithms": https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/23rdhour/sidelines-arent-for-you

Come to the studio with us!

We talked about the disempowered standing up and taking action.. How do we interpret that musically? Don't worry, you don't have to be a musician to understand any of this. We also include a "Making Of" video below so you can really get a sense for what it was like recording this song in LA, as if you were there with us!

The verse is all about the gravity that pushes people to action, which we supported by George's arpeggiated minor chords and a melody that feels not just sad, but heavy, pained almost. It all sounds very serious. The pre-chorus then picks up the pace, hinting that things are about to get big, but it's still a bit angsty and dark. Then the chorus hits and opens up a new world. 

The chorus is about the determination that drives people to challenge the status quo. They've had enough, losing is not an option, they want change NOW. They're energized, they're brazen, they're unconventional. To reflect that, the chorus is upbeat, optimistic, more anxious to get to work than fearful of the future. 

Enter producer extraordinaire Bill Lefler, whose beats take the gear shift to a whole new level. We made a trip to LA to record at Billy's Death Star Studios in Koreatown. We watched in amazement as Bill created the coolest beat using a kick drum, snare, marimba, triangle, claps among other sounds before we could even order take out for lunch. He recorded the whole thing in less time than it would have taken us to find a sample drum loop! He probably has more energy in a pinky than the both of us combined. 

On the bridge, Sherry got to channel her rock vibes a little while George provided some harmonies so low that even Darth Vader was impressed. Once the bones of the song were recorded, we started adding ear candy. A cool light piano on the verses. A little OP1 transition out of the chorus, octave harmonies, oohs, and more. 

In addition to being creative and efficient, we really felt that Bill understood our vision. He connected with our music and the recording process became a great collaboration between us. The end result is a sound that pushes the envelope while still being truly 23rd Hour and our organic jazzy quirkiness. We had such a blast. 

Thank you for reading!

Sherry-Lynn & George

 

Credits:
Bill: producer, percussionist
Caleb: assistant producer, recording engineer
Daniel: awesome bass player
Adrian: mixing
Arf Productions: mastering