Free Throw Piece Together Their New LP “Piecing It Together”
The Nashville pop-punk collective walk us through their new album, out now via Triple Crown Records.
While still maintaining the subtle frenetic energy of past releases, Piecing It Together is the type of album most bands hope they can write at some point in their career. Free Throw’s Will Yip–produced fourth album sees the Nashville punks recognize their place in the universe not only as individuals but as a band, contemplating the vicious tour/release music/tour cycle most artists find themselves in and writing songs that aren’t influenced at all by what the next step in that process will look like.
Inevitably, the new record also deals heavily in the lyrical themes covered in past releases: anxieties about relationships, loneliness, and death are broached on the dozen new tracks, which range in sound from twinkling, mathy Midwestern emo to a tougher punkish grunge. This isn’t to say that the group’s lost their sense of humor—if that wasn’t made apparent in the music videos they threw together for Together’s singles, the tracklist continues to be rife with puns and references to irreverent TV comedies, even if the individual songs’ lyrics don’t match that light-heartedness.
With the record out now, Cory Castro went through the LP track by track and shared what each song meant to them. Be advised that when he says that “Ocular Patdown” “speaks for itself,” he isn’t claiming the track’s about assessing security threats.
“Cloud Sick” is a song about compromise and the struggle to know for a fact that you’re making the person you’re in a relationship with happy. In this specific case, it’s about my significant other moving from her hometown to Nashville so we could be together, even though, at the time, I had to tour a lot. It’s truly a song about wanting someone to be happy and knowing there is a possibility that the answer may be one you don’t like.
2. “Worry Seed”
This is 100 percent a song about the struggles of anxiety and the fear of dying. Suffering from thanatophobic anxiety is a huge struggle for me at times. I feel like this song is just a straightforward representation of that.
3. “The Grass Isn’t Greener”
This song is basically the inverse of “Cloud Sick.” I wrote it looking back on a time when I was left in our apartment while my significant other was visiting friends and family for an extended amount of time. It really helped me to understand the feelings someone can have when the person they care about most is far away and not right there next to them.
4. “Down and Out”
This is a song about being caught in the throes of depression and—even though something deep down tells you that you will eventually get through it—feeling like accomplishing any task is the equivalent to climbing Mount Everest. Sometimes the hardest part of a race is just putting your first foot forward, and this song reflects that.
5. “Ocular Pat Down”
This song kind of speaks for itself—or at least it would seem that way. It seems super directional in its intent, but honestly this song is a bit of a metaphor. It’s kind of my commentary on not just a single person, but on the attitudes of people from a multitude of different aspects of my life. From the rich people that treated me like dogshit when I worked retail for years, to the worst sides of the music scene and industry, to the high school teacher that told me I wouldn’t amount to anything, etc. It ends with the idea that I hope that they can learn to change, and I really mean that. If I didn’t, I’d be a hypocrite.
6. “Second Wind”
I wrote this song while crashing from a huge bout of nostalgia. I’ve really had to come to terms with the fact that I am no longer the early-twenty-something punk kid that can party every day of my life and not feel like shit every morning. This song represents that inner battle with aging—that feeling of not being ready to give up on youth, but knowing that it’s time to slow it down. Sometimes I’m still wary of getting older. I think that’s only natural. I’ve learned that I really like afternoon naps, though. Never took those back in the day.
7. “Force of Will”
A lot of people have given me the “pipe dream” talk in my lifetime: “What if being a musician doesn’t work out?” “So, when are you going to get a real job?” “You’re still in a band!?” As far back as my memory goes, this is all I’ve really wanted to do (with the exception of wanting to be a weatherman when I was, like, five years old). I’ve spent so much of my life working toward this goal. To have people write that off really sucks. This song is about that. It’s about being told that I need to give it up, be “normal,” get a “real job,” etc. I wanted to write this song in a way that anyone out there still chasing their dream could relate to.
It’s no secret at this point that I’ve had my struggles with mental health, self-medicating, and self-image and worth. There are a few people who have given their all to help me through it, especially my mom. I know it’s been just as hard on them as it has on me. I know it hasn’t been the easiest for them by any means. This song is about me realizing that, and starting to take accountability for it. It’s a song about progress, showing that I understand how hard it must have been (and still can be), and showing how grateful I am through not just words, but my actions.
9. “Trust Fall”
Through all of my own personal struggles with mental health, I’ve witnessed so many of my friends and loved ones go through their own as well. I’ve lost people I care deeply about to those struggles. It’s really hard to put into words what I want to say about this song and feel like I’ve done it justice. Suicide is a hard subject to tread. The lyrics represent things I wish I would have said, things I hope a few specific people hear, and things I hope that people in similar situations can hear and not feel alone, all at the same time.
10. “Ghost in the Routine”
This is a song about feeling trapped behind a disguise of being well when you know that you aren’t. I know for me sometimes it’s really hard to let people know that I’m not doing well. Sometimes I’ll even convince myself that I am OK only to realize later that I was lying even to myself.
11. “Equilibrium” / 12. “Dawn of a New Day”
This interlude and final song are kind of an accumulative representation of the thought process and idea behind the whole record. Coming to terms with the fact that life is full of ups and downs. The “happy ending” doesn’t always last forever, but neither does the tragedy. Life is progression, but progress isn’t always forward, sadly. Sometimes it takes falling down to understand what it means to stand tall. It’s about finding consistency and maintaining a balance. Sometimes, whether you’re at the highest of highs or the lowest of lows, you might just need to take a break, breathe, and reset yourself.