Taylor Phelan’s fiery “Long Way Down” offers thoughtful philosophical introspection in an ambitious, explosive pop/rock anthem.
The more we grow in life, the more opportunities there are to lose track of who we are, and why we’re here. Upbringings aside, each of us chooses, to some degree, the things we value most in life – be it personal connection, financial stability, wealth, success, power; you name it. These things change over time, and as we travel down the rabbit hole of life in pursuit of this and that, we too easily steer away from everything else. In short, life’s a great balancing act that’s doomed to topple over, time and time again.
Taylor Phelan’s “Long Way Down” asserts our individual need for balancing who we are with who we want to be, making the case that you can have your cake and eat it too, as long as you keep your anchor close to home.
An ordinary soul on a one way road
what am I fighting for?
Everything points to the building of a throne
a monument of fools gold
I opened the door to the world at war
and our houses had fallen down
Is there no way back? Am it too late now?
What can I do to get me out?
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the lyric video for “Long Way Down,” the lead single off Taylor Phelan’s forthcoming sophomore EP, 2 of 2 (the aptly-titled follow-up to 2017’s 1 of 2). A singer and songwriter originally from Texas, Taylor Phelan’s music career has found him at the front of Chicago alternative band The Canes, fighting for (fame?) as a contestant on NBC’s The Voice, and most recently, unearthing himself as a committed solo artist. Phelan introduced his solo artistry just one year ago with spring 2017’s debut single “Settle Down,” and he has done the exact opposite of that song’s title ever since – quickly revealing more and more about himself while delicately balancing “alternative,” mainstream rock, and pop elements in his vibrantly dynamic and incredibly reflective music.
“Long Way Down” offers thoughtful philosophical introspection in an ambitious pop/rock anthem. “In life, we all get distracted by insignificant things,” Taylor Phelan tells Atwood Magazine. “When we don’t fight that tendency, we start investing our time into them, while the real stuff floats by unnoticed. We unknowingly become self absorbed as we curate our lives.” He sings heartily in the chorus about letting the most important things in life pass us by:
It’s a long way down
God, I pray my bones won’t lie in the middle
Of this wasted town
It’ll pick you up but there’s one way out
It gets easier, the more you’ve got to lose
It’s a long way down, a long way down
A long way down
The artist explains, “This song is about the way we spend our time. What consumes your thoughts and energy? What’s your life made up of and how tall is the tower you’ve built for yourself? It’s about being more present and remembering that the more we stack up, the further we are from the ground and truth.”
The more we stack up, the further we are from the ground and truth
Presenting his lyrics through a slide projector (likely last seen in my ’90s elementary school science class), Taylor Phelan’s “Long Way Down” lyric video places additional emphasis on the artist’s careful, cutting word choice. He attacks himself for chasing fame and losing track of what mattered most to him: “I can trace each step through the moments I missed and the ones I never thought that I would,” he confesses:
The walls are down and the curtains
are torn where my life once stood
I can trace each step through the moments I missed
and the ones I never thought that I would
My world became just what I made it
I now know what I gave up
Phelan is later depicted in front of his own words, like a potential felon might appear in a police lineup. He is guilty of these charges; “Long Way Down” is, in essence, his and his admission as well as his redemption. In acknowledging his faults, he has also committed to better himself and those around him; to always taking with him that which matters most, whether it’s his family and friends or some other mixture of core values.
And now, a group exercise: Let’s all take a cue from Taylor Phelan and step out of our day to day routine. It’s Thursday, midmorning; what are you doing to make this day matter to you? Are you adding value to your world, and staying true to yourself? How can you, at this moment, be more aligned with your truths and mores? What’s stopping you from being your best self?
Stream Taylor Phelan’s “Long Way Down” video, exclusively on Atwood Magazine! EP 2 of 2 is out June 8, 2018; catch Taylor Phelan on tour this spring!
Watch: “Long Way Down” – Taylor Phelan
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? © Mike Windle