City of a Million- Released 7/1/22
Ann Gray, on "City of a Million":
When I first came up with the idea of City of a Million, it was merely a guitar track and a snare drum track that I'd made on a midi keyboard. I was particularly inspired by Jack Antonoff’s band Bleachers, and after a long car ride of binging his latest album, I discovered a newfound love of rock music.
I remember being fascinated by this idea of a toxic, urban “love” story, so I took the idea in to the studio to bring it to life. Luckily, the amazing producer I was working with, was just as big a Bleachers fan as I was. I absolutely bopped out in the studio as he added these brilliant guitar riffs and licks. After we got a live drummer in the studio, the song truly exceeded my expectations.
When writing the lyrics, I really wanted to focus on capturing different aspects of urban-inspired imagery (red lights, park benches, crowded apartments), while still communicating an impetuous young relationship (”tried to find the silver lining in the so called golden years”). This imagery was especially integral in the piece, as I wanted it to be laced with dark blues and greens. Sort of an eerie, late night escapade and a terrifying and consumingly exciting rush of adrenaline. The phrase “Teenage Runaway” was also inspired by a Bleachers song.
One of my favorite parts both writing and performing from the song though was probably in the second verse: “Oh my god who is she, that girl you mentioned once / and you don’t care about me until somebody else does". It captures that unhealthy, on again off again aspect of the characters’ relationship. Another production addition that was so fun, was the part where we put on a bunch of tracks of me screaming the words “remember that you ruined this city for me". It really highlighted the desperation I was trying to convey.
I still have vivid memories of my dad and I screaming along at full volume to the latest mixes of it while we were driving home from the studio, and it has grown to become, dare I say, one of my favorite songs on the entire album.