Lyrics Uncovered: Cam, ‘Burning House’
Cam's "Burning House" lyrics are some of the most unique at country radio, and interestingly enough, they came about stream-of-consciousness directly from a dream.
The singer called co-producer and co-writer Tyler Johnson early one morning from Nashville while he was in Los Angeles and recounted a dream she'd had the previous night about an ex-boyfriend. She had ended the relationship, and she felt guilty about it.
"She literally called me after having this dream, and she goes, 'Tyler, last night I had the craziest dream about a burning house, where [her ex] was stuck inside, and I couldn't get him out,'" Johnson tells Taste of Country. "'And then I went in and I laid beside him, and we both died together.'"
The story sparked a song idea immediately.
"I had just picked up the guitar, and I luckily was recording a voice note, and I just sang back to her exactly what it is to this day," Johnson relates.
Country music fans chose it. We didn't do it. It was 100 percent a song that was chosen by the fans.
The "Burning House" lyrics begin with a literal re-telling of Cam's dream: "I had a dream about a burning house / You were stuck inside, I couldn't get you out / I laid beside you and pulled you close / And the two of us went up in smoke."
That strong start inspired co-writer and co-producer Jeff Bhasker to come on board with the song. He came up with the chorus melody, and he also insisted on keeping the sound of an actual fire for the track after Cam and Johnson's rough work tape captured the sound of a fire in the room they were working in.
The resulting track is quite unusual not only lyrically and in terms of imagery, but also musically, with the verses in 7/8 time. Johnson admits it wasn't a song they would have likely picked as a single release, but fortunately, that decision ended up not being in their hands.
"It got played on the radio by Bobby Bones, and Cam played it, and it went up into the Top 20 in all genres [online], and Top 5 in country, without us promoting it at all," he shares. "It chose itself. Country music fans chose it. We didn't do it. It was 100 percent a song that was chosen by the fans. And still to this day, it hasn't dropped out of the Top 30 of all genres on iTunes, and for some reason so many people just keep buying that song," Johnson adds with a laugh. "People just seem to really love it."
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