• Rawiri James

Behind the Lyric: #NeverGrowUp



I can't remember exactly which came first - the title of this song, or the title of the album. Regardless, the Peter Pan allegory that came to define Lost Boy proved a repeated source of inspiration.


As I laid out the tracks for sequencing and wrote the last two songs, it became clear to me that part of the active addiction journey is a blatant refusal to mature and grow up. A state of arrested development, which, quite beautifully, is also the name of my favourite TV series.


Never Grow Up personifies this probably better than any other song on the record, though, hidden under a bombastic hip-hop-house beat, you'd be forgiven for not taking that all in. It's inspired by several drug-induced waves of euphoric ecstasy, with a particularly memorable trip to Tomorrowland providing significant inspiration.


"It was a hazy day that crazy April day
That wave hit me somewhere about late afternoon
And I'm near feenin' babe, I'm damn near bleeding baby
Kept believing that this buzz it would burn out soon"

This about sums up that feeling of surrender. How good it feels to fall under the spell. I get flashes of that music festival every now and then. Technically, it wasn't an April day like I sing in that first line. It was a July day. I don't remember why it is I felt April was a better choice. Oh well. Creative licence, I guess.


I do remember that this song went through some stark changes from its initial iteration and was perhaps the most face-lifted of all the songs on Lost Boy. It had a different chorus originally. It had an almost reggae beat to it. It was called Just Let Me Go. I think some of that lyric ended up on How I Roll.


Eventually I went with the beat that you hear today, and it came from RockItPro, who I had already worked with for Zero Gravity and How I Got Over. I wanted a big up-tempo track, one that could move a crowd on the dancefloor. I got it, but it was hard work, this one.


I struggled trying to find the right melody - especially on the chorus. I like my word work, but it ain't my favourite vocal. Thankfully, what makes this song work is the fact that it has an easy, catchy hook that people can sing along to, and more importantly, it benefits from having an insanely good rap verse, courtesy of Frhetoric.


"Like a kid in a candy store
There's way too many goodies that I can't ignore
Gotta sample everything I never had before
At the door, baby, gimme what I'm asking for

I'm gonna manipulate the world like it’s a plaything
Turn failure into entertainment
Zero Gravity like I'm in a spaceship
We never touch the ground, we just break it"

As well as a talented producer (he's responsible for the sounds of Mess With My Cool, Kill The Music!!, HELL.O.V.E. and Girl With The Same Name, plus our collaboration EP, DTF) he's a very capable of throwing down some sick rhymes, and he took this song and elevated it with his verse.


I didn't even ask him to reference Zero Gravity.


Regardless of the rocky road getting this track together, I do love performing this live. Because of the party vibe it's good with crowds. And, if I ever feel nostalgic for the days before sobriety, I'll always have this sonic time capsule to remind me of the fun - and the delusion - of it all.



Listen here:


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