This next single “Heat of the Moment” was different from my other songs because I did it backward. I started with an idea, a feeling I wanted to capture, and then worked with my producer to create the instrumental first, then came up with lyrics.
The feeling I wanted to capture, the idea I had, boils down to being about the weather. It was about the way the city of Chicago embraces summer. Because our winters are the literal worst, (polar vortexes, 20 below without windchill, you get the picture) when it gets warm, we LIVE IT UP. We know it’s fleeting and we squeeze every ounce out of summer that we can.
So we started building a sound around the city and tried to capture Chicago without words. One thing about Chicago I wanted to incorporate was the omnipresence of the El train. When you’re down there, you can almost feel it all around you, even when you can’t see it. So if you listen closely, we actually have a sample of a train in the background of the track.
So we started with that and built the song from there. For some of our sessions, we even made margaritas to get inspired ( it is a summer party song after all, and I always say that this song is drunk but in the best way. We had a lot of fun trying to make the right clinking glass sound) The oh-oh-oh is actually one of the first things we came up with before any lyrics happened. Next I believe came the first verse. At that point it there wasn’t any narrative beyond the weather.
'We’ve been low, we’ve been cold we’ve been frozen
We’ve been freed by the heat of the moment”
I love coming up with clever wordplay. Heat of the moment is obviously a common expression meaning a quick/impulsive response driven by excitement (or anger) rather than logic or inhibiting thoughts. It’s usually emotionally driven rather than logically and only happens under the right circumstances. The true meaning of the song, however, is the literal “heat” of the brief “moment” of summer the people of Chicago embrace with all they have.
I think when I started with the chorus, I believe that came before the second verse, I was still thinking about the weather. The song was originally just centered around the idea of drinking and partying, having a wild summer night in the city.
“It starts when we wake up hot into the late night, hot right like the city streets in the sunshine, that’s right, take me out so you can take me home.”
(another bit of wordplay there. At this point the “you” is simply the city)
"Boots and a black dress, think I just might dance to the band with my man in the moonlight, alright, summertime it’s what we’ve waited for”
Somewhere between that verse and chorus, a narrative started to emerge. I started thinking of how to personify it, and I ended up writing it in a more romantic context. Thinking of those winter months, that feeling of longing for the warmth of summer, (and literally not being able to take in anymore) is kind of sexy when you think about it, and this song definitely had a groove goin. The narrative I ended up with was a pair that hadn’t made it out of the friend zone yet, even though it’s something they both wanted. That build-up, that stress, and tension became the perfect metaphor. (I love metaphors because I am an English nerd.)
So with that, the second verse came, and then the bridge. Mike made some good suggestions on how to make the first verse a little sexier to match the rest of it, and my new baby was officially born!
We had a lot of fun with harmonies and background vocals, I really think those little details make this song. I also think this might be my favorite song of the four I’ve put out.