Houston has always been one of those places where great rock bands are born. Talking Forever is no exception.
This alternative rock group is equal parts emotional and aggressive. The sound somehow manages to be accessible to anyone who likes music in general.
After releasing the first single from their upcoming album, My New Home, just a week ago, we’re proud to share the next single from that record, “Shirt Waist”.
I spoke with guitarist Jonah Castillo about the meaning behind the track.
“The song Shirt Waist is about the New York Triangle Fire of 1911, in which a garment factory located on the 8-10th floors of the Asch building. Widely considered one of the largest industrial tragedies in U.S. history, the Triangle Fire took the lives’ of about 146 workers.
Lyrically, the song can mean many things, but to us specifically, the incident of the Triangle Fire alludes directly to the lyrics of the song.”
“Aren’t you tired of picking the roses from the thorn bushes
How many times have you cut your hands on their vice like fangs”
“The women who worked in the building spent their entire day sewing garments called ‘Shirtwaists’. The literal fangs of the sewing machines often cut their hands, but they were forced to work through it.
Their fangs meaning the literal needles, as well as the metaphorical fangs of their bosses Henry Blanck, and Isaac Harris. The ‘Shirtwaist Kings’ (which was the original title of this track).”
“Here we stand, hand in hand”
“And it makes me sick. Do you have to treat yourself like this?”
“Many of the women didn’t die from the actual fire itself, but from jumping out of the building from the floor that they worked from. They stood on the edges of the building exterior, holding hands as they jumped over eight stories to the streets below.”
“I’m so stuck in this watered down version of reality we’re both so enveloped in
Look into my honest eyes and tell me I’m wrong, I want to hear it from your voice”
“The chorus of this track switches to first person. The women that worked at the Asch building were primarily immigrants. Most of them worked with family members and close friends. The chorus was written from the point of view of any single one of the women who worked at the factory, unsatisfied with the way that they were treated despite the promises of a rich, and fruitful future.”
“It’s so funny how the things we do
Are so often to be used
Who taught you these words? These snort little phrases, they don’t mean what they should”
“Shifting back into third person, the second verse continues off of the ideas of the chorus. In the 1900’s, and early years of the nation, New York was portrayed as a promised land to immigrants. They were told that if they moved to America, they could become rich and live out the American dream. The women in the factory would learn that these phrases and promises weren’t true.”
“Your soul won’t leave you, but your body will
This out of body experience is something real”
“Closing the song, the bridge is written about the actual deaths of the women, and is more literal than almost the entire rest of the song. Their bodies would leave them, but their souls wouldn’t.”
Stay tuned for more with Talking Forever as their new album, My New Home, will be released on 2/17/17.
You can expect we’ll be talking with the band again regarding the record as a whole.
Check out Talking Forever’s music and follow them on social media below.