From Hiss Golden Messenger songwriter and bandleader M.C. Taylor:
I composed the songs that became Terms of Surrender with no guarantee that they would ever become a record; they felt too raw to be of interest to anyone but myself. They were my therapy and my church. But then we were there in Aaron Dessner’s studio in upstate New York, and in Sound City in L.A., and Roger Moutenot’s Haptown Studio in Nashville, and Phil Cook’s harmonica was screaming and Jenny Lewis was singing and Josh Kaufman’s guitar was etching the cosmos, and I realized that maybe these songs were good for something after all, and it wasn’t my year to die. And I was glad—appreciative, maybe—of the previous year because things on the other side now looked sweeter and brighter and not so dire. And through the songs ran a line—the most important theme of the whole record, I know now—about love, and how nothing of value that I have created would exist without it, and I better goddamn well keep my eye on it. Love is so powerful that people made religion to give a name to it, but if we don’t treat it with a sensitive touch, it disappears like smoke. I had a dream once, many years ago, where I heard a voice say “God is love,” and I felt it with my whole being. This record is a reminder of that dream.