released: August 24, 2013
re-released: November 18, 2020
1. Colorado - lyrics
2. All That I've Done Wrong - lyrics
3. Saturday Night - lyrics
5. Tension (I) - lyrics
6. Tension (II)
7. Drive - lyrics
8. King for a Day - lyrics
9. (The Hardest Thing Is) Hope - lyrics
10. We All Go Sometime - lyrics
Tension was written during a time of change, depression, and confusion. I'd recently graduated college and was learning to live on my own. I was experiencing the blessings and stresses of my first full-time job, doing a lot of self-reflection on my college years, and going through a depressive episode. The songs on this album reflect the different feelings, and the album title Tension refers to the fact I was having all those feelings simultaneously. There is a song entitled "Tension (II)" that wasn't finished by the time I wanted to release the album but aptly sums up the album: "There's a tension in life / Between the dark and the light / Between the day and the night / Between the wrong and the right."
The songs on Tension are ordered to show progress and change, a descent into depression and suicidal ideations followed by an ascent to using coping skills and living with hope. "Colorado" serves as an introduction and sets up the concepts of the tension between despair and hope. "All That I've Done Wrong" starts the downward slope, establishing guilt and regret as accelerants for depression. "Saturday Night" (a song I actually started writing for A November Life) continues down the slope and discusses ways people cope with guilt and depression. "Tension" nears the bottom on the slop and focuses on the tension between wanting to live and wanting to die, emphasizing wanting to die. "King for a Day" is the bottom the slope and start of the ascent as it describes hospitalization for suicidal ideations and that hope that can come from it. "(The Hardest Thing Is) Hope" climbs uphill and again addresses the tension between hope and despair but emphasizes hope. "Drive" talks about living with depression but continuing on in healthy (rather than destructive) ways. Lastly, "We All Go Sometime" is both a positive look back on life and a hope for the future.
My dad told me once that he can't listen to this album because it hurts him to hear his son sing these things. This album is heavy. Its first half lacks hope, and the second half still shows struggle. I hope, however, that if you're going through a similar tension in life, you'll find "King for a Day" and "(The Hardest Thing Is) Hope" helpful. You're not alone.
piano | guitar | vocal | heart