“The Giving Tree” is the latest release off of the Chicago-based band’s EP Should’ve Gone to Bed. With their fourth full-length due out next year, the bandmembers say the songs on the EP are an adequate indication of what’s to come in 2014.
The EP’s four tracks were written by frontman Tom Higgenson and guitarist/singer Tim Lopez. Delicate ballad “The Giving Tree” was written and sung by Lopez and references Shel Silverstein‘s children’s book of the same title, which Lopez recalls being read to him as a kid.
The metaphorical ballad was produced by Joe Chiccarelli (U2, Beck, The Strokes) and Mudrock (Godsmack, Alice Cooper, Avenged Sevenfold) and describes a dysfunctional give-and-take of a relationship alongside acoustic guitar and Lopez’s tender vocals.
In an interview with Radio.com, Higgenson and Lopez opened up about the production of the track and their forthcoming album, American Nights.
“A song like ‘The Giving Tree’ that Tim wrote, it just felt so good with his finger-picking thing,” Higgenson said of leaving the track bare. “It felt like that’s the way the song should stay.”
While the band mixed the EP with stripped-down and fuller production, Lopez agreed with the idea to let “The Giving Tree” breathe on its own.
“Sometimes adding to a song like that just takes away. What you really want to do is suck the listener in to only hear the story and the vocal,” Lopez said. “So, you keep piling stuff on it and it starts to deteriorate the song. Tracks like that you leave small.”
And they get their point across in the video as well. In the clip, Lopez is shown blending into a tree as he sings of the end of a relationship.
“If all you wanted was love/ Why would you use me up/ Cut me down, build a boat and sail away?/ When all I wanted to be/ Was your giving tree/ Settle down, build a home and make you happy,” Lopez sings. Watch the video above.
American Nights, due out next year, will follow Should’ve Gone to Bed‘s lead with stripped-down tracks including “The Giving Tree” and more produced elements like lead single “Should’ve Gone to Bed.”
“It’s going to be a good mix of acoustic with the full production,” Higgenson said. “A lot of songs that are heart-on-your-sleeve. Love songs, falling out of love songs. Anyone that loves Plain White T’s, from old school fans to anybody that just came on board with the hits, ‘Delilah,’ ‘1, 2, 3, 4,’ I think will love this album.”
“The Giving Tree” is available now. Download it below.