Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Josh Niles at Big Light, Nashville, Tennessee
It's always a bit blurry as to when we grew up, when we officially became adults. It's not the number that does it. Some 40 year olds aren't adults and there are some 15 year olds who behave like grandpas. It's the passage through time that usually does it, spinning you dizzy until it dumps you off in the middle of a modest home and you've suddenly come to the realization that you don't go out nearly as much as you used to. It's the passage of time that drags so slowly until it doesn't anymore and it feels as if it's whipping through and into you, causing all of the conversations happening around you to sound like your ears have been cottoned up, or that something invisible has been sandpapering the insides of them. Then again, sometimes the passage of time just makes you tired, not necessarily older and not normally wiser. It just happens that wind up grown and exhausted. It's the crapshoot of conditions, experience and time that get steamrolling and leave you woozy.
Pittsburgh-bred Dylan Reynolds, a childhood buddy of Mac Miller's, is a songwriter who likes to explore and try to explain what time has done to him and also to his characters. "Spanish Civil War" is a song that hits directly on that exploration of time and how it can matter, even when it's just used as a lyrical device. The song plays with thoughts and mixtures of lineage and relations, all while doing it from the vantage point of a war that happened in the mid-to-late 1930s.
Elsewhere on this session, taped in the summer of 2013 in Nashville, Reynolds draws from a childhood and the way he got himself through it. There are reminisces about what kind of person turned out from the kind of boy that he used to be. There are thoughts about the friend who introduced him to his favorite bands. There's consideration for who was looked up to - who was supposed to be the role model. He thinks about the pages that were written in ink and about the way he behaved back then - obviously many of the manners have changed and it's in that recognition when the dusk becomes the day or the head feels heavier, the eyelids too. He sings, "It always seemed worth it to push a little further til I hurt someone," on "Young And Set," before seeing that love was all around. Seeing the truth in the years can bring you down, even while it affirms.