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25 November 2013

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Thunder and Lightning – song deep dive by Svein and Tom.

  • Do we at long last finally have a genuinely happy song from Stuart’s pen?
  • A man and a woman face an impending storm together, and he is trying to comfort her. “Don’t be afraid, it will be fine, we’ll be safe under this blue umbrella, it will get dark but it’s been dark before, it’s just passing our way, and look over there – a blue horizon! ” Refreshingly endearing.
  • Writing about weather is not new to Big Country, but in the past it would signal bad things happening - storms, destruction, winter, even life & death situations. This time it is different – there’s no drama, just excitement, facing it together, and comforting words. Things will definitely be fine here.
  • Musically energetic, from the drums kicking in. A lot of it played on the backbeat, which is very cool. A lot of instrumentation going on, including several layered guitar parts.
  • A song with a lot of Big Country feel to it, but also some r’n’b feel – especially the chorus.
  • The one dark line – “we should not worry about going outside when it’s dark on both sides of the door”.
  • A song that has gotten a lot of criticism from some quarters – maybe particularly when it was new. Some of that is shared by one of the hosts, even if his stance has softened over the years.

Send You – song deep dive by Tom and Svein.

  • A song with devastatingly powerful lyrics. References to absence – even death? Is he signalling something sinister here?
  • In this song, Stuart sends out several comforting messages to his children, specifically to comfort them after their parents split up.
  • Musically, the co-hosts disagree strongly – is the music overall plodding or overall refreshingly powerful? Does the music have the emotional impact that the lyrics do, or does it let the messages in the song down? Both sides of that discussion is covered.
  • Differences between the demo version and the album version. Crucially, the demo has an extra verse!

Speakpipe from Tim Eldred.

One In A Million – song deep dive by Svein and Tom.

  • A very melodic tune with imaginative and playful instrumentation, particularly that incredible bass line. Not to forget: the return of the e-bow!
  • Stuart’s vocal performance in this song is just stunning – including some incredible harmonizing with himself.
  • Lyrically, on the surface this song is an incredible tribute to a very special person. If you look closer, it seems to be more about liking an ideal of someone, or a first impression, and never looking closer to reassess this ideal or these first impressions.
  • The title “One In A Million” – the phrase is a cliché, it is over-used, and not as special as it may once have been – but it is delivered so earnestly that it works in the context of this song.
  • The guys take a look at the part of the song that is about sex and/or lust.
  • The “are you one in a million or just some baggage from my youth” line seem to raise a nagging question that ruins some of the praise given elsewhere in the song.
  • Comparisons with the demo (a.k.a. the “1st visit”).
  • How strong is the chorus? Musically just one chord and not too much going on.
  • How autobiographical is the song? Looking at the song vis-à-vis Stuart’s life and current situation.

God’s Great Mistake – song deep dive by Tom and Svein.

  • A very Celtic opening indeed! Bagpipe guitars, marching snare drums, and tin whistles played by members from The Pogues.
  • The style of lyric writing falls into the approach where a number of very different anecdotes/observations are intended to add up to a larger point, rather than combine into a singular story or theme – mankind destroying itself.
  • We have two different demos for this song – the first one much more bluesy, the second is closer to the album version. There are some interesting differences. Scrutinization follows.
  • After the powerful Celtic opening, a lot of the rest of the song feels very “traditional rock” in comparison. Was the beginning a tease which was mercilessly snatched away, or did it finally throw the fans a bone?

Speakpipe from Claus Tappert.

Wildland In My Heart – song deep dive by Svein and Tom

  • The nostalgic song on the album!
  • Stuart is recalling moments when he was a kid, watching classic adventure shows and movies on TV. These created a “wildland in his heart” – they fired his imagination, kept him enthralled, and he “would have followed them anywhere” as the song says.
  • Each verse refers to a classic title (Cathy Come Home, Lassie, the Lone Ranger, and the Magnificent Seven).
  • Even though he is looking back at these times in the song, the key message of the song is: Don’t look back!
  • As we learn, things don’t go well for these heroes in these songs. The moral seems to be that sometimes things are best left as good memories that you can build on.
  • These lyrical points are interesting in terms of how we as fans view Big Country. “Somehow I think of how they were right at the start, when they made a wildland in my heart.” Perhaps we are guilty of wanting to go back again sometimes, but at the same time, as the song says: “don’t look back.” Is it fair of us to keep expecting another “The Crossing”?
  • The main riff in the song may be relatively standard, but at the same time the song has a lot of passion and enthusiasm that carries it over. Solid agreement that the bridge section is the best part of the song.