Track by Track analysis of… Gloom / Bloom by Community Swimming Pool (as written by Brett McCann)
Many thanks to Brett McCann (aka Community Swimming Pool) for agreeing to compile a track by track analysis of his brilliant Gloom / Bloom debut album (as below).
Grab yourself a limited edition cassette from the Z Tapes label here.
Hi. I’m bmac, a producer and musician with a bedroom recording project called Community Swimming Pool. Today we’re going to dive in at the deep end and analyse a little bit of the content and the lyrics within each track, track by track.
First and foremost, my debut album is called Gloom / Bloom.
If you’ve taken the time out of your day to listen to it, I just want to thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. That is so cool, and it means the world to me.
The concept behind the record is simple; in its infancy ahead of the final track listing, the idea was to take you on a journey from the ‘gloom’ in my past to the ‘bloom’ or blooming period of my life. Gloom to bloom.
I’ll let you know which songs are the gloomers and which ones are the bloomers, don’t worry.
But anyway, in the end I had some fabulous input from the team around me and they turned me off of the chronological idea, and that’s because I didn’t write bangers when I was gloomy. The bangers came when I started to bloom as a human. But that would have meant all the big bangers would have came at the end of the record… You know.
I’ll also give you the original track listing as a wee interesting tidbit, in case you’re interested. You can always make a new playlist with my record and arrange the tracks the way I initially intended so you can truly ‘feel’ it.
Anyway, with this… let’s dive in.
Be Your Man: (Gloom)
I wrote this song when I was in a place of sadness, feeling very disappointed with how things between me and my then girlfriend – we’ll call her A – had been working out.
I had no money, I had no real job, I had no car or drivers license, I couldn’t take her out, she had to pay for lots of things. It was a pretty sad situation and I was living in beautiful Edinburgh; yet I felt that I couldn’t enjoy it with her at the time.
It’s really a song with a bit of a positive outlook though, because in the first verse I talk about how we were living our lives and how I wanted things to go, but then in the second verse it opens up into me explaining how I was going to get myself out of the situation and that no matter what happened, we’d have a home and I’d get a better job and a car… And in all fairness to myself I got a real job, I got my life together and I learned to drive and I got a car.
“let’s build a house or build a home
which one is the cheapest?
i swear i’ll find a real job, and get my life together
and maybe i’ll learn to drive
and maybe i’ll get a car…”
I Don’t Wanna Lose You (Bloom)
Well, Be Your Man is probably one of, if not the oldest song on the album and I Don’t Wanna Lose You is one of the youngest.
I think I Don’t Wanna Lose You might actually be the youngest. Aw man, what can I say. I wrote this song when my current girlfriend – We’ll call her B – was down in London with her pal, and I was feeling sorry for myself, missing her and hoping that she didn’t want to leave me, because I do a great job of making a humungous mess of things regularly.
But my god I’ve never written such a nice song I don’t think. It’s just a song about loving somebody so much and never wanting to lose them. Think about your partner right now and your first date together.
This is just a real story about how we met and how I took her to some cool places on our first date and the way I looked at her. She’s very beautiful and it’s a cool wee song. I love the bit where I talk about watching her mouth when she chewed. haha.
“i am just another man and when you gave me half a chance i found a way to fall for you”…
sitting in a pizza place, pretending not to notice the way your mouth looks when you chew…”
Number One (Bloom)
It’s funny this one, it’s a song about my past with ‘girl A’ and the choruses are about B and how she’s the best and all that.
But just the other day on Thursday (it’s currently Saturday) I was talking to B about an ex girlfriend (older than A) who just got married, and I was telling her that I didn’t hate any of my ex girlfriends, nor do I hate any of B’s ex boyfriends anymore.
We can’t chose our exes or change them and holding grudges and being sad about them is fucking pointless and I hate that I’ve been like that in the past. But in this song, I talk about how one day I’ll look back and my ex won’t be standing there in dark memories in my head. In other words, I’ll not demonise her anymore.
And then it hit me. That I was living that very day that I’d written about, and at the time I wrote it I didn’t know when it would come. It was actually that day on Thursday. And I then listened to Number One and asked B to listen too and I cried as I drove back to the farm I work on, which is when this occurred – at the end of my working day delivering fresh produce to the people of Edinburgh. Driving into the sun through Currie, crying as I realised I’ve grown and that life can be good sometimes.
B is a pretty great person. But so is A I’m sure and I’m glad she’s not with me and she’s living a better version of her life now somewhere else with someone else.
“well everybody i know has made mistakes.
at least i know what i won’t do.
then one day i will look back and she won’t be standing there locked up in darker memories…”
Oh fuck, haha. You’s a song about how I realised I was trapped with A in Edinburgh and I couldn’t bare to come home to the apartment at night, because I physically couldn’t stand her at the time.
We’d fight and then she’d love me, and then she’d hate me, and all of these constant battles we’d have to endure every single day. It was hell.
I felt worthless constantly and like I was letting her down. What a nice wee fun song this one is! Not! haha.
“i’ve been feeling like i’m kind of a let down
you know you feel it too
you’ve been seeing all the things that i can’t get right”
Here We Go Again (Gloom)
I had hit the point of no return with A and I knew I’d had enough. We argued and argued and argued and I was humiliated so many times in front of friends, it was like I knew that it was over in my head and I was probably emotionally at my lowest and it’s probably the saddest moment in the album.
Tragically though I stayed with her for a good while longer than this, before I finally had the strength within me to end the relationship. I felt so trapped with the apartment, the joint bank accounts, the dog, the two cars. I was only about 21 or 22 at the time.
“here we go again, we’re arguing
and here we go again
our love has slipped through our hands and i
will not ever forget, the look in her eyes
as i watched her heart break…”
Someone Else (TRANSITION)
Remember when I said I’d initially planned to have the album going chronologically?
In my head it was five or so songs of gloom, two or so songs of the transition period half way through between my exes A and B, and then five or so songs of bloom.
I was going to calculate it and make it exactly half way through where the transition would happen. But in the end I decided to not get too technical. This song is one of the ones in between the gloom and the bloom, but I guess you could say it was pretty gloomy.
I wrote this when I was newly living in Glasgow and I was meeting lots of girls and having lots of encounters, you know. But I was writing and feeling that I was worried that if I fell for anybody that I’d have my heart broken by them if I left to do shows or tour. It’s leaning on my hard times I had with A and the worry of being cheated on, you know.
The first verse is explaining the casual encounters and wanting to be alone a lot after those, because they wear you really thin and it isn’t a good way to live your life. But the second verse looks back at A and how the love between us faded… And how that made me worry and lose trust in her. Which is why I struggled a lot with worrying about being hurt if I fell for somebody new. Have you ever felt like that? In any case, this is probably the coolest chorus I’ve ever written.
“cause i’m afraid, of myself
been spending time, in poor health
cause i’m afraid, that if i fell
that when i leave, you’ll be making love with someone else”
Break Your Heart: (TRANSITION)
Break your Heart was written when I was living in my dad’s house right after I left A and I had to lick my wounds in his house for a while before I could find my feet and get myself through to Glasgow.
I started having these vivid dreams that would be of me walking in the rain and all I could see was A and how I broke her heart and let it go, or rather, let her go. But I’d get woken up a lot with these horrific images in my head of her as I broke her heart. So I’d wake up feeling kind of terrible, haha. Wild.
In any case, I’d often need to get out and have a walk to clear my head, but I’d be feeling particularly bitter about the break up by that point. It would be a while before I’d see the growth in myself that I speak about in Number One.
“i took my mind for a wander
the air was bitter, but i’m bitter too…”
The Way That You Wanna Be Held (Bloom)
This is technically a bloomer on the record, but I write that sort of lightly. It’s about B, but it’s about how I was trying to give her what she needed and the love and support that she wanted.
But like any relationship, we were having hard times and I was feeling her sadness and that horrible feeling of knowing that she’s struggling and feeling that she’s unhappy with me.
This was during the beginning of the pandemic and I don’t think that helped us at all. And I’d be wanting to have her physically too, and she wasn’t feeling me like that – especially if she wasn’t happy with me emotionally… Damn, this is a hard situation to be in.
Looking back on it now, having written I Don’t Wanna Lose You since then, it’s hard to believe we got through some of these times. But hey, we’re still here. I guess my efforts to try to fix the problems with her and hold her the way that she wanted to be held must have worked somewhat.
I blur the lines between gloom and bloom here a bit. Sorry if it’s hard to follow.
“you say that i make you feel dirty
it’s the little things i do each day
have you ever thought of leaving without me
oh baby will you leave me still?”
Upside Down (Bloom)
Well well well, this is the song that put me on the map and I am remarkably proud to have written it.
It came to me on a sunny but particularly emotional day and time in my life; during the pandemic but heavily locked down as it was near the beginning. But man, the police were all over the news as America tore it’s self apart and George Floyd was tragically murdered.
I felt so sorry and so sad about the state of the world, and everything really was Upside Down. I feel that as a Scottish person, we’re so small and tend to keep our wee voices to ourselves – and we’re silenced by the English as well – so it was particularly hard to be stuck in a situation and feeling so helpless.
But it has a message of positivity in there as well.
All told, it’s also a “world beater” of a song, as described by Janglepophub’s own Darrin himself. I’ll take that.
“we’re writing in the street, the writings on the wall
no need to let your people fall
collective hearts unite, let’s stand strong tonight
love has to be equal”
Summer Wind (TRANSITION)
Summer Wind is about somebody else that isn’t A or B, that came between and that’s all that shall be said about specifics! But it tells a little wonderful story about going to see somebody – and it covers the feelings of really wondering if somebody thinks about you the way that you think about them. Gosh I’m so romantic… Boke.
“so where do you go when you close those eyes
cause i miss seeing them, tonight
so what do you see?
did you ever dream of me?
holding you so close, it’s right.”
Panic Attack (Gloom)
I wrote this big head banger of a tune the day after I had a horrific experience with A in the past.
I went to a tremendous show in Edinburgh with my buddy Dominic. We went to see PAWS in Summerhall in Edinburgh – which is funny because these days I am proud to call those boys friends – and basically I went out a little too late and A went absolutely mental at me when I came home.
For me it’s telling a real story but it tells a story about trying to claw your way back from the dog house. I had to claw an awful lot that day. haha. My phone nearly died as well, so I turned it off to save the battery… Which is what that slightly cryptic line is actually depicting, lots of people wonder what the hell I’m talking about.
“just listen my darling, i only turned it off that time
i needed to save it, if not then you would never know
if i was safe or needed a ride home in our never ending rain
i’m sorry you felt sad, i’m never that bad
give me one last chance”
Bad Dream (Gloom)
The story about the absolute bastards that plagued the area surrounding my old apartment in Edinburgh with A in the past, stealing motorbikes and ripping them round my block.
The amount of times I woke up through the night when I was working early the next day, in a daze but scared at the noise, heart pounding out my chest. It was a hard time in my life and A didn’t seem to be able to help in any way or understand how much it was affecting me. Also fuck the cops, I learned that the hard way. Useless.
“they come round my block past midnight
and they are inside my head
i got such a fright that my
heart was almost out of my chest”
Nobody But You (Bloom)
A little love song about learning from the past, thinking I knew what love was before I met B and how wrong I was. I feel that I channel a little touch of Nick Drake in the lyrics of the second verse – but keep that a secret. It’s as simple as a love song can be. I hope you hear it and you feel joy and you love it.
“can’t believe how far i fell, helplessly lost there in your love”
And there you have it. Some insight into my record from my own perspective. I don’t really like it when you find out information about songs you like sometimes, because music is so subjective and the songs might play a part in your life in some way and then if I’ve just explained it as something completely different you might hate me for it.
They can be whatever you want them to be and as long as you listen and enjoy it, or whatever then that’s all that matters to me.
Hey, I mentioned there being an alternative running order – the original running order to me. If you’re at all interested, I’d be surprised but I’d also be so thankful. You mean a whole lot to me if you’ve come this far with the album and me and reading this – damn! Thanks!
I’m pretty sure the original track list was;
Be Your Man
Here We Go Again
Break Your Heart
The Way That You Wanna Be Held
Nobody But You
I Don’t Wanna Lose You
Glad I was talked out of it. Alright, tell me what you think of Gloom / Bloom, I’d love to know. Tell me your favourite songs!
Gonna go with “Panic Attack” as my favorite. Love the ambiguity of that line about turning off the phone!