Open Your Eyes
A Song From Yesterday Seen Today
A Fateful Encounter That Became a Song
It’s really interesting how a particular song can become the staple of a journey, and “Open Your Eyes” is one of them, not only for those who welcomed the band as one of their favorites over time, but for the band itself, which is not always – if rarely – the case when other artists talk about whatever fan-favorite-songs followed them around.
The short answer to what is “Open Your Eyes (Elliott Says)” would be the following:
“Open Your Eyes” followed us for quite a bit before we would decide to share. It actually had several incarnations prior to its first apparition on the EP “And If I Was to Die In the Morning, Would I Still Be Sleeping With You”, released in June 2007. The song was initially inspired by the death of Elliott Smith, whom I had randomly met at a Cowboy Junkies concert in Montreal the night of May 21, 2000, a few years before writing the song. He was playing in Montreal the following night. He was sitting at the bar. He looked so sad and alone. We talked for a little while. I managed to find my way on his guest list the night after. The show was as gloomy and real as what appeared to me as a longing person. It’s only when I heard about his passing that I wrote what would be bits and pieces of “Open Your Eyes”, song which was titled “Elliott Smith” for a while. It was mainly a slow piano rendition of the actual song chords at first, before taking a bit more shape with acoustic guitars and turning into “Elliott Says” a little later. Then it morphed into “Open Your Eyes, and I had by then twisted the lyrics into a total imagined scene taking place between Elliott and girlfriend Jennifer Chiba, where she would wonder “why?”. I finally decided to call it “Open your Eyes”, in a more general attempt to turn the table around and confront my own sense of desperation without using Elliott as some sort of cope out to my own mal de vivre.
The song kept evolving over time, as we were ourselves evolving individually, as we were witnessing the world turning its back on the broken ones, but more importantly as we were getting closer and closer to people reminding us just how important that song was for them. “Open Your Eyes” became some sort of an hymnal statement to what it means to desperately need to be “seen” when all your life you’ve been an invisible entity that would learn to envy every drift of shadows for having been delicately touched by light at one point, somehow.
That’s why the song has always been really meaningful to us and reason why it’s a song that has been on our set list 99% of the time over the course of our musical adventure.