Derek Ted “Better Spirit” Track by Track

Posted: by The Editor

Photo by: Rianne Garrido (Twin Peaks Sessions)

Derek Ted’s new album Better Sprit expertly blends both old-school and new-school sensibilities able to resonate not only across genres, but generations. “I wrote this record to pull myself out of my own darkness. It was a way to push through and find hope in a time when I felt like I had none”shares Ted. “I wanted this record to be the beginning of a new path for my songs…to let them live aesthetically in a place where they could be their biggest and shiniest form.

We got a chance to have him break down his new album track by track which you can read below while you stream his phenomenal new album, Better Spirit

the moment u arrive- the moment you arrive was written entertaining the idea of secret escape from my life. i was imagining accomplishing everything i wanted and saying goodbye to the BS to go fully platinum. the chorus was a reminder to myself that nothing ever goes perfectly and the moment you get to where you want to be, thats all that matters.

tired – i wrote this within the same few days that i wrote the song “weeks”. i was having a lot of confusion about moving to LA and adjusting to being in a new place with new friends, & was feeling very isolated and distant. it was originally fingerpicked open D acoustic guitar but when i brought it to tim (@grandbannkss who produced my record) he added the most hyphy drum beat of all time and then we went crazy with it. i wanted the last chorus to crescendo to almost feel like your head is going to explode from the guitar and drums revving up. i was connecting to that feeling of racing thoughts when you’re trying to make your brain turn off to fall asleep, and its not working.

warning signs – warning signs was recorded late one night in my old house in canoga park. i was singing super quietly to not wake anyone up but then decided to just keep the whispery quiet take. lyrically it’s kind of an observation of watching abuse of power in the public.

sew me up – i wrote this song for my best friend when he went on his first hella long tour. i was just reflecting on everything we’ve been thru together. part of the concept was stemmed in my mind because i would always bum a lighter from him to smoke when we would sit out on the porch. silly….  :’)

easier-  easier is essentially like an emo bossanova track. another song in the better spirit collection that i wrote feeling very dark but ended up feeling upbeat. funny how that happens….

L U C K Y – this song is my full dark chat confessional. it’s about recognizing how much you care about someone and can appreciate the vulnerability you share. the only song on the record with banjo on it 🙂

take it-  take it was originally released on my “hidden thoughts mixtape” as a live iphone voice memo version and it didn’t have a bridge. as soon as tim got a drum machine sound that slapped in 5/4 time, i knew we had to put this one on the record. lyrically, it’s a weird juxtaposition song, like noticing all the things you love about someone, while also realizing they have the total power to destroy you at any moment. I think i realized writing this song that the more you love someone the more vulnerability you share and that is sometimes very scary!

push back -push back could be the most posi song i’ve ever written. i was feeling so dark and spooked out by life in that moment, the only thing i could do was write a song that made me feel like i could get through anything. when i play this song live with my band, it brings me back to my more emo pop punk hyphy days.

how u gonna live – this song is about an acid trip realization… about the state of our world and wondering when the final days will come.. you know just normal stuff haha. this is actually the oldest song that ended up on the record, I wrote it in san francisco back in 2015 or so and it just lived in my brain until it was born in the studio. how u gonna live also features backup vox from my ultimate brehs in the band arms akimbo… love me some chris & peter harmonies.


Kyle Musser//@godvfwine