Revolution In The Rain

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away

We better stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look, what’s going down?


© Stephen Stills, ‘For What Its Worth‘, (Buffalo Springfield) 1966


With the exception of This Time (which was a collaborative effort on a BASCA songwriting weekend a few years ago, recorded for the London Road album), I’ve never really been one for protest songs. And, to be honest, This Time was a little bit cheeky in that it was peppered deliberately with buzzwords and was slightly facetious as it wasn’t really coming from the typical protest song angle that it may have initially have seemed to… it was more taking the piss out of a certain type of middle class protester who values being seen protesting a subject for just long enough on the right channels without fully understanding what kinds of sacrifices, what kinds of impacts that the thing they’re protesting about is likely to have on the rest of the society that they’re part of – and ultimately, it will be their kids or the children of their peers who will be left to clear up the crap, to coin a phrase which is something I believe a lot of them to be ignorant of. As usual, no names, no pack drill. I think we could all call to mind a certain group of protestors, regardless of our political leanings who we may see as being less than sincere in their endeavours…

In other words, what certain people may term as virtue signallers. And to that end, it did what it needed to pretty well.

Revolution In The Rain though, is somewhat different and despite it coming to me in the same way as the other two tracks from the Mondegreen EP, is arguably very much driven by the global events of the last twelve to eighteen months. The vision was quite sixties/Beatles/Byrds/Thunderclap Newman but with a lead vocal melody that sounded for all the world like a mature Steve Hogarth, a vocalist that I have admired for many, many years and who is significantly more political, especially in his more recent years, although I see things somewhat different to he does.

So there is almost an original sixties “counter-culture” protest feel to it (very different to the modern day ‘Cancel Culture’, which I frankly despise), and it is very different to anything I’ve written before.

And, as alluded to before in the case of Hate, the only part of it that I got sent was the vocal hook; there is no chorus as such, just a repeating three or four line motif that just repeats over and over again and is broken up by a Middle 8 – so it has an A-A-B-A type format.

The lyrics themselves were not difficult to write and the vocal hook for the song came with it anyway – but a Revolution In The Rain is a quintessentially English thing, so it strikes me, that in a nation as wet and windy and rainy as the UK, if such a thing is ever to happen, it will need to happen when the weather is not exactly on their side. A little like a personification of Roger Waters’ quite brilliant ‘hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way’ line from ‘Time’, way back in 1973. The British do not have the somewhat more fiery approach of the French or indeed the Spanish and seem to have the longest fuse of pretty much any nation on earth as to how much antagonising or provocation they will endure before they snap. So, if any such thing is to happen in the UK (and for the record, because of the nature of how the English are in particular, I do not see it happening in my lifetime), it is likely to be somewhat different to other such events that we may have seen around the globe over the last 100 years.

I have tried as hard as I could to be non partisan about it, but with all protest songs there has to be something that the writer is railing against, in order to make their point and this is no exception. The last great truly musically productive era in British music, one that spawned a level of protest music that spoke to a generation was punk (and the subsequent lead up to Thatcherism) in the late 1970s/early 1980s. There hasnt really been anything since then that has truly caught the imagination in the same way not just the UK, but worldwide, despite the things that have occurred in the last 25 years, let alone 35 – things like the advance of globalism, 9/11, the Financial crisis of 2008, the Arab Spring and many other worldwide events. It is as if the music industry has largely decided to be very selective about what types of writers and performers that it espouses in terms of social commentary; Theres not much of a machine for the RATM boys to rage against any more; Mr Bragg is mostly in retirement in a very nice cliff-side Dorset des res; Mr Dylan has sold off his publishing rights to his back catalogue for multi-millions and even Mr Weller has long since ceased being a strident advocate of a particular political doctrine that he made his reputation as a writer on.

And, without being deliberately provocative: these times that we find ourselves in are probably the most polarised that I and no doubt many others have every known; this is something where I do finally for once in my life, not just as a songwriter but also as a man, have to stick a flag in the ground and say “this subject really genuinely bothers me”, which it absolutely does; but not for the same reason that it bothers other people who are close to me.

Whether this is a line that it is possible for a songwriter to attempt to straddle in this day and age of cancellation, or whether I can even get away with what the song is clearly drawing parallels with – lines like “less than a hundred years since ‘Never again'” and the references to book burning are pretty explicit about the historical events they are referring to and those lines were deliberately written to be unequivocal about that. Whether others may see it the same way or not, I do not know. My intention, as ever, is not to be preachy about it, but to say what I feel about something that bothers me a lot, as someone who has spent most of his time as a songwriter writing more about love, loss, healing and abandonment than anger. But, in the words of a certain John Lydon Esq “Anger Is An Energy” and it has its place in the spectrum of human emotions.

My collaborators before me, particularly my very good friend Robert Pearce have been able to write this type of material before and do it very effectively… for me though, its a new thing and I don’t expect to be making a habit of it. As I say, I’m not advocating openly for any particular change apart from that which people want to be for themselves, which I always have espoused; be the change you yourself wish to be, you can change no more than that. And maybe, if we all change to be all that we can be, maybe we will be less easily led by those who clearly do not practise the kind of altruism that they claim to on our behalf.

Revolution In The Rain is to be part of the Mondegreen EP and will be finished later this year.


Revolution In The Rain

{V1}
When you dont know who to believe any more
And you’re wondering just what its all for
All you see around you is your world in pain

When your faces can be held to the floor
For having the nerve to step outside your door
And your world will never be the same again
Waiting for a revolution in the rain

{V2}
When those you followed left and turned off all the lights
And left you in the dark with no end in sight
And all your streets are in drenched fear and broken glass night after night
You wonder when you’ll see your friends again.
Isolation, libation, frustration, negation,
Watching for the revolution in the rain

{Middle 8}
Take another drink
Push it all to the back of your mind
Every time you do, for all the good it could do,
It all seems just a little further behind
No one knows how long it will last
Til we’ve all been made to forget our pasts
A new take on all your childrens dreams
And you learn that Build Back Better aint all that it seems

{V3}
When all the memories of you are swept out of the door
And your body is not your own any more
Less than a hundred years since “Never Again”

You can be just another name in a book thats been burned
Or you can be one that makes your voice heard
Deny the lies that have turned the world around you insane
Be your own revolution in the rain

Never let them do this to you again

Dont let them reduce you to this again

Lead your own revolution in the rain


{Ad lib to fade}



© Words and Music, Steven McCarthy-Hunt 2021

Leave On An Outwave

We had no way to see eye to eye
Through all the walls in their mind
These were the pleasures that terrified
We left them behind

© Gary Kemp 1986, from the album ‘Through The Barricades

This song is another that is intended for the Mondegreen EP and was written in late 2020.

Unlike a lot of its kith and kin, it was a track that just walked in completely fully formed and unprompted and I have no idea where it came from – as there wasn’t really anything going on in my life at the time which would have given my subconscious any reason to come up with it. All i know is what it sounded like in my minds ear as a production; In this particular case, its vision was not so much of a music video in a vivid dream (like how a lot of songs come to me) but like watching a live performance in a rehearsal room.

With this song, the vocal melody and the structure of the song (and the words as well for that matter) were very clear, even if I didn’t really understand who/whatever sent me the song was getting at; the structure struck me as being very simple and straightforward and in a lot of ways it is very much like the song that is at the head of this page (namely Spandau Ballet’s Cross the Line, which was the opening track on the Through The Barricades album from 1986). The vocal melody was very much a Tony Hadley style “dramatic warble” as he himself has been known to describe it.

With the structure being as simple as it is, it was a very easy song to write lyrically and thematically. Those familiar with Gary Kemp’s writing from that time period will probably recognise the songs roots when they hear it – but as usual, the song no doubt reserves the right to end up sounding like something completely different to its inspiration by the time it is finally completed as a) I’m not Gary Kemp as a writer and b) as a producer, I’m definitely not Gary Langan.

The song is intended for the Mondegreen EP and I hope it will be completed later this year.

And, I’m afraid I don’t really know what an “outwave” is. I think the only way I can make sense of it in the context of the song is like a surfer heading out from the beach into the sea. Not that I’m even remotely familiar with surfing speak or whether such a thing as an outwave exists in surfer parlance. I have tried looking at a different set of words or a different lyric with the same vocal melody and that would end up ripping the entire thing to bits and it wont work like it does now.

So, if Steve Miller can get away with inventing words like pompetus, I’m sure an unknown like me I can get away with an outwave once in a while, LOL. The rest of the lyrics are essentially simple breakup word-play lines. Thats the way they were sent to me by heaven knows who or why and I’m not going to question it; it is what it is [grins]


Leave On An Outwave

V1
It seems that
You’re leaving
We aint got moments to save
We’re breaking
No mistaking
Nothing left I wanna say

{Pre Ch}
Thought we were heading for somewhere
But in the end it was nowhere, baby

v2
The memories
You owed me
Things you promised but you never gave
Just tell me
What you wished for
For love or luck or just to make this go away

{Pre Ch}
Thought we were heading for somewhere
But we ended up nowhere, baby

{Chorus}
(Our paths Crossed) but we leave on an out wave x 2

{Verse & pre ch/instrumental with guitar solo}

{Chorus}
(Our paths Crossed) but we leave on an out wave x 2

v3
I see that
You’re leaving
We’re a calendar that ran out of days
Its a shame, girl
But its your world
And I live to love in another place and another day

{Pre Ch}
What became of our somewhere?
Never thought we’d end up nowhere, darling

{Ch x 2}
(Our paths Crossed) but we leave on an out wave x 2


© Words & Music Steve McCarthy-Hunt 2020

Hate/Bond XXIX



Am I a God or am I Jesus?
Am I a man or am I a boy?
Do I feel love or just possession?
Do I feel holy or nothing at all?


© Paul Draper, 1997 from the album ‘The Attack Of The Grey Lantern’

This is a song that came along early last year around the time of the first lockdown, completely unprompted, as the best ones usually do. And, as I’ve learned from seeing interviews with other writers (namely Barry Gibb who said that the same happened to him with How Deep Is Your Love and You Win Again), the only bit that I had when this one came along, was just one section of it.

In the case of Hate, it was the Middle 8 and nothing else, which played on a short loop but was distinctive enough to be unforgettable.

But, while it was just the Middle 8, in the same way as Manhattan Lullaby, it was like hearing a fully produced record or seeing part of a fully produced music video in your minds eye. And whereas Manhattan Lullaby‘s vocal melody was a Matt Munro vocal and Let It Go was a Peter Skellern vocal, in this case the vocal was a George Michael one.

Not only that, but the feel of the track seemed to be very James Bond-ish in terms of its arrangement and orchestration; when I woke up and started writing down what I remembered of it, it struck me that George never got the chance to do a Bond theme when he was alive.

Given how big a voice he had and considering how talented a writer he was and how he understood orchestration and arranging, I was somewhat surprised that the opportunity never came his way.

So anyway, after the usual digressing, thats how this song came about.

It is, I must admit, certainly since Manhattan Lullaby anyway, the most musically and vocally ambitious thing I have ever written, certainly in terms of what it needs musically to do it justice and there is a lot for me to learn in order to bring it to life, much less get anything even close to the vision I have for the vocal melody.

I mean, how many others have had a punt at trying to write something that could viably be the intro theme for a Bond film and given it a really serious go? But, having said that, there have been a number of songs that came to me as one thing and ended up on No Expectations or London Road sounding somewhat different. So, while this one is kind of tongue-in-cheek subtitled Bond 29, by the same measure, when it comes to having it down on disk, it may well end up being entirely different. But that is the vision for it that I have right now and thats what I’ll aim for.

Lyrically, with the exception of the Middle 8 which came to me fully formed, the rest of it has been compiled from the reserve of lines that I have from other ideas and also from a couple of stream of consciousness writing sessions that I had between 2017 and 2018; mainly late 2017 when I very nearly found myself being cat-fished (whole other story, most definitely not for this blog).

As it stands at the moment, this song is intended for the Mondegreen EP and will hopefully be produced later this year.

Hate/Bond XXIX

V1
As I hear your footsteps down the dark hall
Deep down I will always wonder if it meant anything at all
When the novelty of beauty fades what becomes of it all?
Is it all too raw to say that your pride will go before your fall?

V2
Too precious to tolerate making a mistake
And being seen as the one to blame
Should learn to ride the mood and just not be afraid
What you deigned to fall for not who I was, but what I wanted to say?

(Middle 8)

Now I hate that you’re mad
And I hate that we are through and I hate the fact
That all the things I once loved about you now make you hate me too.
And all we’ve got left is hate…

V3/{Build up to coda}
And now I watch another guy who was fond of you and turned your head
Dont put anything else into my mind, I haven’t forgiven you yet.
Looking brave on the outside, living your life’s lies
But inside you’re dying with every step

Every single day I try to suppress it, second guess it, Jesus its all such a damn mess, isnt it…

And Id’ forgotten how amazing the tension can be
When someone teases out your vulnerability
Leaves you exposed, pulls you out into the light
Right out of the comfort zone and into the choice of flight over fight

But something’s not right
And you’ve given me proof
You gave away pictures of skin that made you cheaper than the truth
Where did you stay?
When you coming home
Cant help but have the feeling that you’re werent really on your own
I could sense the danger but couldnt help being drawn right in
To a web I never knew I was getting into

CODA:

As I hear your footsteps down the hall
Deep down I know it meant nothing at all
When the novelty of beauty fades nothing becomes of it all
All proof that your pride brought about your fall…

© Words & Music, Steve McCarthy-Hunt, 2021