I was recently asked during an interview for my forthcoming album, if a universal theme ran through the new project. I had to think for awhile, but right off the top of my head, I thought no … for it seemed to me that each song had its own individual identity. However, after deeper consideration, I realized that love – yes “love,” that over-used, misused and grossly misinterpreted word, in all its guises – was the one theme that threaded its way through all the songs on “IN THE TEMPLE OF THE MUSE”. From the opening track, “I Guess I Will” (about my love for being back in the studio writing again) to the last song, “Where The Sun Is Buried” (questioning the violent motives of the human heart), love – in its myriad of incarnations, be it obsessive, beautiful, addictive, healing, mythical, nurturing, altruistic, erotic, transcendent, passionate, companionate, unrequited, romantic, neurotic, spiritual, unconditional, inspiring, fleeting, eternal, nostalgic, compassionate, enigmatic and ultimately mysterious (we could go on forever here, couldn’t we) – shaped the feel and mood of the new work.
During the early years of my songwriting career, I tended to shy away from the topic of love, due mainly, I think, to my fear of being considered overly sentimental. Ah, those heady days of youth when one must be perceived to be “cool” at all costs! In the 80’s, I broke through as a songwriter in a band that I formed in London called Q-Feel. Being part of a so-called new wave, high tech, high energy dance band required (even demanded) material to be of a more esoteric, abstract or surreal subject matter. In fact, Q-Feel’s first three singles were about Doctors on the Radio, Astronauts “Dancing In Heaven (Orbital Be Bop)”, and 2nd World War fighter pilots being Heroes that Never Died. Hardly the storylines to invoke visions of one staring longingly into one’s beloved’s eyes. Alas, Q-Feel were never destined to be a ballad band.
Gradually, over the years, as I co-wrote with other artists and bands, my rebellion and prejudice regarding love songs somewhat diminished, and I could allow myself to be vulnerable to the odd romantic tune. This, to say the least, was liberating and long overdue. Moreover, as a result, I tapped into a deep, creative wellspring when I allowed my personal and intimate emotions to come to the surface. I’d like to think that all of the songs on my new CD were born of this honesty and freedom. Love, as we all know, is not a particularly unique notion when it comes to songwriting, but for me personally, it was a theme I felt compelled to follow. In C.D.C. Reeves’ illuminating book, Love’s Confusions, he writes, “Love is a drama of disclosure, of revealing what is there. It is also a drama of transformation, in which what is revealed is changed, and ourselves with it.” And so it was for me, working on “In The Temple Of The Muse”.
I consider myself fortunate — one of the lucky ones to be able to express love in my art. For, really, on reflection, that has been my goal and my ambition all along. After all, it occurs to me that man’s creative struggle – his search for wisdom and truth – is, in itself, a love story.
“Love is the subtlest force in the world”
Speak to you soon …
P.S. Check out the new album by Justin Currie (ex-Del Amitri) called “What Is Love For”. It is an exceptional work of great song craft and sublime lyric writing.