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© Jason Moore/ZUMA Press/Corbis
Matt Shultz says, “I've talked about how we had our own visions for the album we wanted to make. I had more of an inner-directed, subtle thing in mind, whereas Brad wanted something that was vibrant and had grit and bite to it. This was one of the riffs that he had been messing around with. He brought it into the writing space one day, and we jumped on it.
“The lyrics were inspired by a cartoon character. I forget his name – he was a cat – but he’d say things like, ‘Terrificy thennn.’ [Editor’s note: Snagglepuss.] The character had this cool posture that I wanted to take on in my vocal delivery.
“The song is about feeling the energy of music changing. There’s a real exciting scene going on in Nashville with a bunch of bands. It carries a familiar nostalgic sentiment, but at the same time everybody’s trying to do something different. So Teeth is about the vibrancy of life and how things are changing.
“There’s this overwhelming need that some people have – they want to cater to cool or feed a certain image; either that or they try to write to sound artistic or intellectual. What’s best is when you’re transparent, standing there naked and just pouring your heart out. This song is like a letter to myself, telling myself that it’s OK to be honest.
“The spoken-word part that happens at the end came about after I talked to some friends about the creative process. I was talking about writing lyrics just to sound poetic rather than speaking from your heart. My friend said that I should stop writing lyrics for the sake of poetry, and I should just write lyrics the way that I speak, because that’s what's poetic.
“At first, I was kind of offended, but he was right. I did this experiment where I had my friends come over, and we’d crack open a bottle of wine and sit down with a typewriter. I told them to just speak from their hearts, and I tell you, I felt like a therapist – they would be weeping in my living room. Those words came out of that experiment. I’d pull lines from the things that they told me, various phrases that I’d embellish. It was pretty powerful.”