A heartfelt rush of warm folk rock passion, Manuel the Band’s “Love But Don’t Need You” paints a poignant and moving portrait of our drives and desires.
for fans of Animal Years, Mt. Joy, Lucero
“Love But Don’t Need You” – Manuel the Band
I hope you don’t expect this is always me, but right now it’s me…
Life has a way of pushing and pulling us in different directions, for any number of reasons. Sometimes it depends on the year, the season, and events outside of our control; other times, we’ll find ourselves driven by the head or by our hearts. Wherever the wind blows, so too do we go – but we may change direction, and won’t always know why. Manuel the Band capture this sentiment in their latest single: A heartfelt rush of warm folk rock passion, “Love But Don’t Need You” paints a poignant and moving portrait of our drives and desires. It’s a reminder that life is long, complex, and nuanced; that our motivations are many; and that we all do get to where we’re going, even if it’s not where we were headed in the first place.
Tell me where this heart is going
Because I’ve been known to lose faith and forfeit
So many times I’ve been loved, and loved hard
But all the same I’ll let you go but won’t go far
Black and white you want a meaning
But gray is where I reside to avoid feeling
The cute, the safe, the little games I do to keep you
The hardest part is I love but don’t need you
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Love But Don’t Need You,” the latest single taken off Manuel the Band’s forthcoming sophomore album, Things That Can’t Be Seen (tentatively out February 2022). Following early October’s first single “Without Me,” “Love But Don’t Need You” finds the Long Beach, CA-based group embracing their Southern Californian roots and weaving a tapestry full of heartwarming vocal harmonies, softly stirring acoustic guitar strums, and vivid, soaring and tasteful saxophone work.
Fronted by singer and songwriter Manuel Grajeda alongside pedal steel guitarist George Madrid, saxophonist Matt Kalin, trombonist Richard Fernandez, bassist Kevin Nowacki, and drummer Charles Worth, Manuel the Band formed and have been actively releasing music since early 2017. They released their debut album Room for Complication in 2019, taking inspiration from rock, pop, folk, jam band music, and more to create a cohesive, diverse soundtrack we can escape into, and indulge in.
“Love But Don’t Need You” is one of the band’s most subdued tracks, but it’s also one of their most visceral, vulnerable offerings yet.
“‘Love But Don’t Need You’ came about during a transitional period of life,” Manuel Grajeda tells Atwood Magazine. “Needless to say, love was around, but I felt myself being pulled away by other things and the questions of ‘can this actually work?’ The title itself makes the song sound harsh, but that wasn’t the intention of it at all. Actually, it’s more about another lyric in the song that states, “I hope you don’t expect this is always me, but right now it’s me.” I think, in that line, the feeling I had at the time is summed up pretty well.”
“Musically, this was a really fun song to record. In the studio, I brought it up and we recorded it within a few hours. Sort of one of those “it just felt right” moments. Very glad we did it, and I love how it brings out a different shade of our style – more acoustic, and more lyrically focused too.”
It’s not that I don’t see
What’s in front of me
But this heart it’s just so used to being on its own
And sometimes that just comes off way too cold
And I hope you don’t expect this is always me
But right now it’s me.
(I’m not saying it’s you….I just…
I just have stuff I gotta do, you know?)
We can’t always guarantee our motivations in advance, but we also shouldn’t necessarily apologize for being ourselves and pursuing our passions. “Love But Don’t Need You” tiptoes through that gray space, reckoning with matters of the head and the heart all at once as Manuel the Band try to find the right way to express the forces that drive us deep down inside.
What’s most striking about this song is that willingness to be true to oneself and embrace vulnerability with another. Manuel the Band’s intimate lyrics and expressive performance leave us longing for more, and with Things That Can’t Be Seen out early next year, we will all have something to look forward to in the months ahead.
For now, stream “Love But Don’t Need You” exclusively on Atwood Magazine!
“Love But Don’t Need You” – Manuel the Band
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