By Noah Michelson
You�re so good at mining that shared trauma but you yourself don�t come across as morbidly depressed. Why are you so good at sad songs?
I think I have been really depressed. Depression and anxiety have been -- for most of my life -- things I�ve really struggled with. But it�s a struggle that I feel like I�ve kind of won. That�s the amazing good news: you can really sort of bust out of that stuff. But it literally has to be your top priority -- becoming better. And becoming a better person is also part of that because it doesn�t happen if you just go, I want to feel better! I want to be happy! The goal has to be becoming a better person. And understanding that your happiness is part of becoming a better person and realizing that you�re not somehow exempt from the good part of the lottery, either. You can�t allow yourself to be a martyr to your own depression like, I�m so special and I�m depressed. You have to have compassion for yourself but you can�t stay stuck in that martyr-y mindset.
Have you ever tried to force yourself to write a happy song?
I think I�ve deliberately sat down and tried to write songs about topics that didn�t have any strong emotional resonance for me. And I think that was a response to the idea that there was a criticism about me that I wasn�t happy enough. But I think that was early on and later I was like, Eh, I don�t fucking care. A song like �31 Today� was not remotely written when I was feeling in that kind of mood. But I felt that the music felt like that -- that the piece of music that I had went with it. The first line that I had was �drinking Guinness in the afternoon� and it made me think of a time when I was about 31 and that was sort of my life. I�d meet up with people and we�d start drinking and it was the afternoon. You�re sleeping late and you�re getting up and suddenly you�re having breakfast and you�re drinking! I wasn�t even a big drinker -- that wasn�t necessarily my thing, but you find yourself doing it and that�s almost worse. So that�s why I started thinking about that period of time.
Are there songs that you just can�t bring yourself to play anymore?
I think that there are probably a couple of songs that I feel aren�t very well written -- or overwritten probably.
Do you want to name any names?
It�s funny because I have been listening to all this older stuff and trying to remember -- or at least try to figure out what the key of it was. I was thinking about the song �Fifty Years After the Fair� � it�s too wildly overwritten. There�s a tag and then a tag of the tag and then the end part of the chorus and then another chorus -- it feel likes too many sections.
It�s incredibly indulgent but I love it.
It�s like one chord change and now we�re going over here and now we�re going over there. [Laughs]
A few years ago on your message board one fan was asking a few others how he could get you to play �Voices Carry.� And a couple of people responded, �Don�t ask her. She doesn�t want to play it.� But you still do play it occasionally, so, you must not totally hate it?
I think it�s OK. Lyrically it doesn�t have a lot going for it. Sometimes my criteria for whether or not I enjoy playing a song has nothing to do with the song. Sometimes I realize, Oh, I�ve been playing this in the wrong key and I have to change the key because it�s not fun to sing because it�s not in a good place for my voice. So sometimes it�s as simple as changing the key and I think �Voices Carry��s lyrics aren�t super great. I do play it sometimes and I think especially on an all request night [I�ll do it]. I�m thinking of making a two song �Til Tuesday limit. Presumably there�s not going to be a lot of �Til Tuesday requests, but you know what? I�m not going back and learning the catalog. There are three �Til Tuesday songs that I�ll know anyhow.
What are the chances of a �Til Tuesday reunion?
I can�t really picture it but I guess if I felt that millions were clamoring for such a thing? [Laughs] I don�t think I�d completely object to it but I don�t think I�d do a whole tour.