Tonight’s episode of Pretty Little Liars (Season 4, Episode 17: “Bite Your Tongue”) marks the fifth — yes, fifth — time singer Chris Arena has had a song on Pretty Little Liars or Ravenswood. His indie, Elliott Smith-style tunes are popping up all over PLL. Tonight, “City Inside Me,” takes center stage.
More than once, Chris’s music has been used to illustrate Hanna (Ashley Benson) and Caleb’s (Tyler Blackburn) relationship. “Train” played during Haleb’s break up on January 7, while “Hennessey,” came as Caleb talked about Hanna during last week’s Ravenswood.
Once blissfully happy, Hanna and Caleb are now over. Both are heartbroken and in pain. It’s something Chris can relate to on a very personal level. He’s lived it.
“I’ve had that in my life: a breaking up-getting back together kind of thing,” Chris tells Wetpaint Entertainment exclusively. “How do I say this without sounding cheesy? Let me think.” He pauses.
“Hanna and Caleb are off-and-on, but kind of like, eternally bound to one another. I moved across the country with someone, a couple years ago. We were very, very close. We had dated for a long time before. We grew up together. Her family and my family were super-close.”
But the roles are reversed. Chris sees himself more in Hanna’s shoes. Just like Caleb moved to Ravenswood, Chris’s ex moved to Los Angeles. But he decided to follow her there.
Keeping with that theme, Chris’s new song in tonight’s PLL, is actually about that relationship. “I wrote ‘City Inside Me’ when we were together. It was about moving to Los Angeles, about having so many things in this city distract me from her.”
Instead of spending time with his girlfriend, Chris says he got caught up experiencing all that Los Angeles had to offer. “I felt like I was being pulled away from this person by my job, my writing, by meeting people,” he says. “I had this amazing girl that I took for granted, and she ended up leaving me for it.” (Okay, so not everything applies to Haleb. But parts of it do.)
Hearing “City Inside Me” on PLL isn’t the only big thing happening for Chris today. It’s also the release date for his new album, One’s Not Half Two. Chris chose the title because it reflects exactly what he learned from his ex: If only one person is willing to put work into a relationship, it will never last. Both people must be fully invested.
Chris’s entire album is about his ex, both the beginning and the demise of their relationship. Clearly, she’s made an impact. “Life takes people in different directions. But sometimes you meet people that kind of stick with you, regardless of who you’re with. She’s one of those people that will always stick with me.”
One’s Not Half Two comes out on iTunes today. It features “City Inside Me,” Haleb’s breakup song, “Train,” and two other tracks: “Kids” and “Not Giving Up Tonight.”