Lyrics Uncovered: Kenny Chesney, ‘Noise’
Kenny Chesney's "Noise" lyrics offer up his first-ever social commentary in a song, and the concept actually sprang directly from a personal conversation the superstar had with one of his co-writers.
Chesney co-wrote the song with Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally and Jon Nite, and it came about through an unusual circumstance. Copperman, McAnally and Nite were scheduled for a co-writing session when McAnally took a call from Chesney in the parking lot on his way in.
Nite had the idea for a groove, and while he was talking to Copperman about it, McAnally was in the parking lot having a conversation with Chesney about his upcoming album. "I guess the debates had just happened, and they started talking about how you cannot get away from, everyone in the world either wants something from you, or wants to pull you in a direction," Nite tells Taste of Country.
"There's a constant barrage of so much activity, and so many people's voices just talking to you from every angle. And Kenny said, 'It's just noise. Everything is noise. I'm trying to write songs for the album, and I can't think of anything because it's just a wall of noise.'"
Chesney and McAnally hashed out a concept and some lyrics right there on the phone, and McAnally took the idea into his scheduled writing session. His collaborators jumped on the idea immediately.
McAnally and Chesney had "kind of mapped it out and talked it through," Nite recalls, adding, "Very rarely do you try to write a song like that. It was just them feeling the times and the political climate, and where the media is; very much in-your-face on a 24 hour basis ... there's just a wall of things to absorb, and we were just kind of reacting to that."
Copperman was vital in the track and the melody, Nite recalls, while Nite and McAnally filled in the blanks for the "Noise" lyrics that Chesney and McAnally had left open in their conversation. The finished "Noise" lyrics hit the concept right on the head in a very fresh way: “Noise, yeah we scream, we shout til we don’t have a voice / In the streets, in the crowds, it ain’t nothing but noise / Drowning out all the dreams of this Tennessee boy / Just trying to be heard in all this noise."
Everyone is inundated with so much information that their relationships are somewhat distant now.
"You go out in a public place, and everybody's head is buried in a phone," Nite -- who is affiliated with ASCAP in Nashille -- elaborates. "With a news feed, or catching up on emails ... it's just a weird transition. Everyone is inundated with so much information that their relationships are somewhat distant now, and this next generation coming up ... 18-year-old kids have more friends via Facebook and Instagram and Twitter than they would ever have in real life, but I don't know that the connection is as real as it was when all this stuff wasn't around."
It's rare for a Nashville songwriter to get to work on an idea that they know in advance the artist is interested in.
"It sets the bar way higher, because you know if you mess it up, you've messed up an obvious shot at something great," Nite says with a laugh. "We were very cognizant of that. He's got such a high bar with the caliber of songs he does, so we were just trying to get up to that bar, and he's constantly putting out songs that are phenomenal, so it's really difficult ... Shane and Ross are so fantastic in what they do, and it was really just me trying to fill in the gaps, when I needed to be there and make something a little bit more clear, or even make it weirder, so it felt like it would be memorable when people heard it."
They didn't have high hopes to make the record with the new track, since Chesney had essentially finished recording his album. But he was so pleased with the result, he added it to the album at the last minute.
"Literally, maybe three days later they recorded the band on it, and five days later, he asked us to come sing in the studio. We literally got to go in -- which was one of the highlights of my career so far -- and go sing on a Kenny Chesney track. It's like being part of history. And about three weeks later, it was on the radio."
Chesney also prioritized "Noise" as the lead single from his upcoming album, Some Town Somewhere, which is set for release in July.
"That's bizarre. It's amazing," Nite says. "We're pinching ourselves, everybody... it's been the fastest single I've been part of, going up the charts. It's really exciting to watch. I hope it continues to do so," he finishes, laughing.
More Lyrics Uncovered: You Look Like I Need a Drink Lyrics | Think of You Lyrics | We Went Lyrics | Humble and Kind Lyrics | From the Ground Up Lyrics | Girl Crush Lyrics| Running for You Lyrics | Home Alone Tonight Lyrics | I’m Comin’ Over Lyrics | Break Up in a Small Town Lyrics | It Don’t Hurt Like It Used to Lyrics