“My Softest Side” started life on acoustic guitar, as so many do. The guitar I was playing that evening was a new acquisition — a Yamaha TransAcoustic, which magically has chorus and reverb effects that require no speakers, no pedals, and no cables. Instead, there’s a little chip that sends signals to a transducer that vibrates the body of the guitar, producing reverb and chorus. WOW.

When I first got this guitar, everything I played on it was sloooow and spaaaceeey, so as to better hear these magical effects. That evening, I was playing some bastardized flamenco at a super-slow tempo, just reveling in the acoustic reverb, and bam, this song was born. (The original demo is about 20bpm slower than the finished version.)

The writing –> production process was pretty standard on this one. My favorite memory of working on it was the day I really connected with the Tempest drum machine for the first time. That day, the Tempest and I produced the bulk of the drum/percussion parts, and we even created the shape of the song form, which was all new for me. (The Tempest is my first drum machine.)

What does it all mean?

Like most of the songs on IX, this song questions how to relationship. How honest should we be with each other? How much do we, and how much should we know about the person on the other side? Are we really better together? I find these questions relevant to every relationship, but probably even more so to romantic relationships.

The choruses are just me (and this song really is me, I think, more than most songs) admitting and dealing with the fact that these questions don’t have right answers, trying to find a comfortable way to accept that fact, and to be emotionally open anyway.


If I could take a pill to have at hand your memories,
would I? Would I, would I, would I?
If I could suddenly understand your hidden maladies,
would I? Would I, would I, would I?
If I could magically see the writing that you etched in me,
Would I? Would I, would I, would I?

Cause I think what I do not know
can fill a hole with softest cotton
so that when I fall inside
my softest side won’t be forgotten.

If I can sit beside you while I write these words and sing this song,
should I? Should I, should I, should I?
If I can see the pain inside you burning you and know it’s wrong
should I? Should I, should I, should I?
If I can love you through the things I can’t abide and hold my tongue,
should I? Should I, should I, should I?

The moral of the story is,
the story is what I’ve forgotten.
And if you make it to the end,
you’ll find the end is made of cotton.

If I decided I would make you pay for what you did to me,
could I? Could I, could I, could I?
If I wanted only to lie down with you and touch your skin,
could I? Could I, could I, could I?
If I just walked away and tried to make myself a whole new life,
could I? Could I, could I, could I?

The needle’s eye is threaded, but
the thread is simple — made of cotton.
The rich man and the camel ride
on backs of turtles, long forgotten.