Dawes, “Time Spent In Los Angeles”

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Videos by American Songwriter

“Time Spent In Los Angeles,” the first song from Dawes’ sophomore album, Nothing Is Wrong, has the instant timelessness of ’70s Southern California rock.

The fact that the song was written by the precocious 21st century romantic, Taylor Goldsmith, and is not a lost nugget from the Laurel Canyon past, is one of the reasons why Dawes has quickly risen to the top of the contemporary folk-rock coterie.

Goldsmith says he started writing the first verse and chorus of “Time Spent In Los Angeles” while at home in L.A., but true to the song’s pining spirit, finished the rest of the verses in Nashville. Goldsmith says that, for him, the song sets the tone for the rest of Nothing Is Wrong.

“I wrote the lyrics to the chorus first but had no music for them for a while. I waited on the song to present itself and then a few months later wrote the first verse, but it originally wasn’t for the same song. Once I spent some time with that first verse I felt like it would work with the ‘Time Spent In Los Angeles’ chorus I had written. Everything else came from there.

“I liked the idea that the line ‘these days my friends don’t seem to know me without my suitcase in my hand’ was something that could potentially be kept in mind when listening to every song that came after it. It’s the song that most accurately explains where I’m at right now, for better or worse, so it feels best as the opening track.

“I was in Nashville working on Middle Brother songs when I wrote it. I saved it for Dawes because I felt like it was more suited for this group of guys all coming from the place it was about, maybe having more meaning to the group and therefore the listener as well.

“After spending a good amount of time in Nashville and experiencing a whole new culture, it would magnify the differences of where I come from and therefore get me thinking about it a lot, and mainly a girl that I knew that could only possibly come from that world. Qualities that I loved and hated. I started thinking that everyone has this kind of relationship with the place they came from – feeling like their environment shapes a person that no other place can. I use Los Angeles because that is my experience, but hopefully people who have never been there and from all different places can find a way to identify with the song.”

“Time Spent In Los Angeles”

These days my friends don’t seem to know me
Without my suitcase in my hand
And when I am standing still
I seem to disappear
But maybe that’s how I found you
Maybe that’s taught me exactly what I want
Maybe meeting you so far away from home
Is what makes it all so clear

But you got that special kind of sadness
You got that tragic set of charms
That only comes from time spent in Los Angeles
Makes me wanna wrap you in my arms

When people ask me where I come from
To see what that says about man
I only end up giving bad directions
That never lead them there at all
It’s something written in the headlights
It’s something swimming in my drink
And if I were the moon
It would be exactly where I fall

‘Cause you got that special kind of sadness
You got that tragic set of charms
That only comes from time spent in Los Angeles
Makes me wanna wrap you in my arms

I used to think someone would love me
For the places I have been
And the dirt I have been gathering
Deep beneath my nails
But now I know what I’ve been missing
And I’m going home to make it mine
And I’ll be battening the hatches and pulling in the sails

But you got that special kind of sadness
You got that tragic set of charms
That only comes from time spent in Los Angeles
Makes me wanna wrap you in my arms

Written by Taylor Goldsmith

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