The debut album by Sunny Danger is album you need to hear. IWINGTKY as an acoustic album is a 30 minute piece of music, written to fit on vinyl. With a bonus track at the end of side 2 called "Bonus Sad Song". The album was written from April 2018 until November 2019. During this period of my life I was very desperate, lonely, and on a bad road. On April 30th 2019 I went to a country road outside Durand MI and walked to a crossroads and performed the ritual I've read about whilst studying Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Son House, BB King, and Charley Patton... To meet the devil at a crossroad and sell your soul to him for the ability to play the guitar. I went there, I performed a ritual, played the riff you hear in the song "I Don't Love You" and the rest got a little weird.
She's Sweet Like Sugar/Good Together
I went on to finish writing the album, then shelved it until April 2021. I decided I would sit down after healing from the crossroads, being sure it wasn't the devil but my very own dark side I met there that night, and record it the way Robert Johnson recorded his material. In an old building, with wooden floors and brick walls, and a microphone in the corner.
The album is a concept story of the modern day Coming of Age tale we find in the typical narcissistic American middle class. The narrator (Nate Danger) claims to have been addicted to "2 girls" named Molly and one simply called E. (The truth is that these names represent my ex girlfriend, and the concept of escapism.)
The story unfolds as a typical angry break up album, however you see from the get go that the narrator doesn't have a clue about what is healthy or not. She's Sweet Like Sugar is a desperate attempt to explain his favorite girl in vain while admitting to his own faults and eccentricities. The song welcomes the listener to the story before flowing into the 2nd song Good Together. A laid back jazz song about a fight the couple shared. He wants her opinion on a song he wrote for her, and she is out with her friends and not to be bothered. But she calls him just to bitch him out... He's met his match. A girl as mean and as sour as himself. Nate acknowledges he knows as soon as he writes enough songs about this girl, she will no longer be in his life.
Although they are 2 separate songs, I keep them together as one. Which is a theme I kept consistent in the album, one song flows into another, with almost opposing vibes. Yin and Yang. The album appears to the listener like a code to decipher.
Gummy Bears/A girl Called E
The second track of the album includes the songs "Gummy Bears" and "A girl Called E". At this point the story, we see the conclusion of the relationship in the form of fighting, fucking, and over romanticizing. They truly found escapism in the form of each other, the apartment they shared, and the love they had. With Nate's impending move to Saginaw coming, the relationship is put in question during Gummy Bears. Where Nate contemplates whether or not E is a "good girl pretending, or a bad one in a mask..." He admits to thinking of her all day everyday even though he acknowledges they have a relationship built on broken hearts and an affinity for mischief. Right or wrong, he knows he loves the girl called E. During AGCE, he expresses his feelings after having moved away and seeing his relationship fail. He takes an introspective look into the darkness they shared, and admits in the line "when my blood starts to pump I just don't know what I could do to break free" that he now has picked up bad habits such as skipping meals and chain smoking.
"Now life just doesn't seem the same and I miss my best friend everyday" is the conclusion of how it feels to lose E (escapism). To acknowledge you are not present, and you are hurting people. To admit that you are harmful to yourself and therefore cannot truly be good to others. To be who you want to be after a break up requires bravery and the willingness to face your misgivings. The bravery to give up zoning out when things are hard, even if it was a coping mechanism in childhood. The bravery to admit that even though someone was mean to you, you choose changing over convincing yourself they never loved you. The wisdom to see not to put someone up on a pedestal. If you believe you are unworthy of love, you will find someone who equally needs a hero. Be your own hero after losing a loved one.
The Emma Song/I Don't Love You
Side 2 of the album begins with a poem entitled "A Child". The poem is dedicated to Molly, the mysterious ex that fucked up Nate and made him miss a chance with A Girl Called E (or drove him to her).
We then hear the opening riff to "The Emma Song" which is for Nate's ex Brenda. The lyrics explain how it must have been to fall in love with Nate after Molly betrayed him. "Such a devious damsel..." Nate was and Brenda never knew what to expect. But she let Nate hurt her over and over for 2 years cuz he was imperfectly perfect to her.
All Nate ever wanted to hear from Brenda we now have him express to us in "I Don't Love You". You can hear the desperation in his voice, in his lyrics, and in his playing to have Brenda be as obsessed with him as he was with her. Desperation drove Nate to go to the crossroads to try and meet the devil and this was the very riff that was played that night when something greeted him. Everything about this track represents a fantasy; Nate never heard "I don't love you" from Brenda. He pushed her away, after representing an escape. Their relationship was a fantasy as well, but it ended worse than he could ever express in words. He never met the devil, but his own dark side at those crossroads.
Back to Bleak/I Wish I Never Got To Know You
The conclusion of the album is in the form of the songs "Back to Bleak" and the title track IWINGTKY (I Wish I Never Got To Know You)
"Back To Bleak" is a summary of dating for Nate after having been betrayed by his high school sweetheart Molly. He goes into detail of girls saying how they would want to live with him, and now are married and never call. Whilst girls who gas him up (and beg for him) only do so after 11pm when they are liquored up. He finds someone who he truly finds better for him than the rest, and she fucks his best friend. The behaviors of those in their 20s throughout the 2010s never made sense to Nate and he found himself overly afraid and sensitive. Untrusting that anyone will ever be true to their word, or make an effort to show they care.
As Nate's relationship with Brenda turned sour, the fights became a weekly routine. Fuck, smoke, listen to music, smoke, paint, fuck, fight, write music, and fuck again... that's all they ever did. Nate did his best to scream and push her away. To gain the strength to break up with her, he took her favorite riff of his and intentionally wrote the meanest break up song he could. "I Wish I Never Got To Know You" was written to hurt Brenda's feelings, but Nate realized it was what he had been searching for. This song was meant for Molly, the girl who hurt him 8 years ago. What is going on? After 8 years, dozens of dates, falling in love with Brenda, why is he writing "I can't believe it, I never hated anybody that I've dated"? Where is this coming from? And how could you be blameless in the spoiled love you have with B? Could it be that you are the toxic and damaged one and she was a young girl who looked up to you?
A Bonus Sad Song (Featuring Mimi)
The Bonus track to the album has no name. It is the culprit for the delay of the recording of the album. I could not sing this song once without breaking down in tears. A lot of the album was like that. I began writing it in June of 2019 when I got kicked out of a wedding where Brenda was the maid of honor, then 2 weeks later the person I considered my brother died. The 3rd verse I wrote the day after my dad died.
The poem was written for Brenda to make her laugh and feel okay about our break up. Magically, Mimi (my/our cat) joined in on the track to remind me to start the track with the poem. As if she took her only opportunity to talk to Brenda in hopes she would someday hear. However crude, or crass, without her I surely would have waivered from my path. On Nov 5th 2019 my father took his life, and that night Brenda came to my side even though we weren't speaking. She braved me screaming of how betrayed I felt, and was there for me. I asked her "How am I going to sleep?" and she responded with "what if I let you fuck my ass!?" then raised her eyebrows in a creepy manner. I giggled uncontrollably... whether she was serious or not I already felt relief. She has a humorous way that bonded us. But she was afraid for my life having just spent 2 years listening to me say I was going to die. That was the life I lived, and many assumed I would die in a car crash or kill myself. Brenda stayed with me and supported me for 9 months after my father died. During that time, I noticed Brenda's behaviour to be erratic and triggered by me constantly. I knew she would never break up with me. She didn't in the past, and she certainly won't now that my dad has gone in such a way. I knew if there was ever a chance for me to be with her, I fucked it up. It took losing my best friend, my father, and Brenda to see just how lost I had become. How much I never healed from Molly. And how I was craving and seeking "E" everywhere.
The album was a lesson to myself. An ugly reminder of where I went when I was in my 20s. I went to hell and back sometimes intentionally. I found a girl called E, fell in love with Brenda, and lost everything I started the decade with. Now as I approach my 30s, miss and grieve Brenda, and try to change, I feel ready to release the debut Sunny Danger album in hopes others may heal from it too!