Stacy Antonel – “Kicking and Screaming”
Americana Highways is hosting this premiere of Stacy Antonel’s song “Kicking and Screaming” from her forthcoming album Always the Outsider, due to be released on June 17. The song will be available on April 22. Always the Outsider was recorded at Singing Serpent Studios; produced, engineered and mixed by Ben Moore; and mastered by Dave Gardner at Infrasonic Mastering.
“Kicking and Screaming” is Stacy Antonel on vocals; Paul Sgroi on acoustic and electric guitar; Doug Pettibone on pedal steel; Steve Peavey on baritone guitar; Jason Littlefield on bass; and Matt Lynott on drums.
The song is one of a passing fling gone wrong, and the chorus “from the death of a thousand cigarettes… summer went kicking and screaming, like you, it couldn’t let go” gives you a knot in your stomach. Unfortunately most of us have been there. Stacy Antonel pens songs of frank honesty with a touch of darkness, and this one is a showcase for that keen ability. We had a brief chat with Stacy about the song. The premiere appears just beneath the interview.
Americana Highways: What prompted you to write this song? What was the inspiration behind it?
Stacy Antonel: The inspiration behind this song comes from a brief relationship with a man who stalked and harassed me after I stopped seeing him. There were moments where it started getting concerning, but my attitude for most of it was just, “You’re pathetic.” He had strong feelings for me, which weren’t reciprocal; I basically just hurt his feelings, and he didn’t know how to handle it. He started messaging me from other people’s accounts to accuse me of “cuckolding” him. It was just so bizarre to me how quickly he went from a somewhat normal dude to a textbook version of toxic masculinity. Like, really? You’re gonna threaten me because you don’t know how to feel your feelings? Grow the f**k up. I felt such disgust for him, which I think comes through in the lyrics.
AH: Tell us about the songwriting process for this song.
SA: I started this song shortly after I moved to Nashville but didn’t end up finishing it for years. I remember taking walks while singing it on repeat, recording a million voice memos of ideas, but they all sucked. So I shelved it, and then sometime later life gave me an experience that I needed to write about which fit the song perfectly. Even in the studio, it wasn’t entirely finished; I remember messing around on the studio piano searching for the right bridge. This song has an asymmetrical verse structure, and a two-octave vocal range. It’s unique among my songs for those reasons.
AH: This song has a real “spaghetti western” vibe. Was that your intention? What kind of sound were you going for on this song?
SA: That was definitely my intention with this tune, although I really couldn’t tell you why. At the time, I was just trying to write all types of songs to broaden my repertoire, and I love baritone guitar and songs in a minor key. Songs like that are such a mood. The lyrics were very femme fatale, and giving them the spaghetti western backdrop really drew out that quality.
AH: What do you hope listeners get from the song? What do you want its message to be?
SA: I want listeners to enjoy the vibe purely on a sonic level, but lyrically I consider it a feminist country song. It flips the narrative a bit in that the subtext is “I hung out with you because we had good sex not because I loved you.” Women’s sexuality should be normalized, not in some hyper-sexualized, fetishized way, but so that they can be represented across the whole spectrum of human emotion and experience, a privilege that men are afforded automatically. In my world, it’s often the man who’s heartbroken and “too emotional,” and the woman who’s behaving more stereotypically male. Which maybe isn’t everyone’s reality, but it’s mine, and I want to represent it in my music.
AH: How does this song fit in among the songs on your forthcoming album?
SA: This song represents a very specific style which isn’t found anywhere else on the album. But overall, I think it fits in with the rest of the songs for that very reason; this album is defined by me jumping all over the place stylistically. It’s representative of me trying to find my voice, and my voice is eclectic if nothing else.
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