“Grant my last request and just let me hold you
Don’t shrug your shoulders, lay down beside me
Sure I can accept that we’re going nowhere
But one last time let’s go there, lay down beside me”
© Nuitini/Duguid/Benbrook, “Last Request“, from the album “These Streets“, 2006
This is another song that I thought that I had already added to this collection; as with another one relatively recently (specifically Without You and “relatively recently” in this particular case was actually 2017, LOL), this proved not to be the case.
It was actually written during 2015, as were a lot of the others and was initially recorded by my close friend and collaborator David Barnes as a ballad… which was not necessarily how it was originally conceived. His version is a very nice interpretation and I’m honoured that he chose to take the lyrics (as that was all that I had at that point) and put his own music to it
Like a lot of my works, it is based on a dream sequence… and it is based on a relationship that never was with one of the three important women who changed my life between 2011 and 2016 and whose inspiration features very heavily on No Expectations and also to a lesser degree on London Road…
By virtue of most of these songs being written during that same period these same women also feature very heavily as inspiration for songs that are slated to feature on the Monochrome and Mondegreen EP’s. The fact that they didnt make the cut for the London Road and No Expectations albums doesnt mean they were any lesser, per se. Just that they were not thematically right to be included with those works at the time.
The big difference in this case was that the dream sequence was one that was encountered completely separate to getting the music, which came later. Much later, as a matter of fact.
The gist of the dream sequence itself was that I had travelled a long way to be close to this particular person, but unannounced (and before anyone says it, no, not in a stalk-y way, thank you very much) but to be in her proverbial orbit. Anyway (for, as usual, I digress)… in the dream, I was in what could loosely be described as a walled garden which had a bar and a lot of tables and a lot of plants and flowers growing around it. Walking around in this walled garden/bar, I see her at a table with a lot of her friends and our eyes meet, fleetingly but in that second she looked right through me as if I wasnt there. Which is never a good thing when you’re trying to play it way too cool, LOL.
Moments later in the dream sequence, she walks up to me, takes my face in both of her hands and kisses me. I’ve heard women, but never men, describe some particularly intense kisses as being that much that their knees go weak… Well, call it projection, call it wishful thinking/dreaming/whatever, thats what it was like in the dream. It was the most intense kiss I had ever had, real life or otherwise. There was nothing vulgar or overly sexualised about it. It was just that intense that I thought my knees were about to buckle from underneath me. I have no idea at all whether this person who it is about could kiss like that in the first place, but the imagination can play funny tricks on you.
And, as the lyric states, out of nowhere, she said to me, sotto voce… “if you are going to love me… then love me all out… or leave me alone” and then she walks off, back to her friends leaving me standing there wondering what the hell just happened. The message quite clearly being, if you’re going to do this then you have to be absolutely all in or theres no point.
Or to put it in a different way….in todays vernacular, “s*** or get off the pot”.
Also: an explanation of one of the lines in the Middle 8:
“I’ve broken all my addictions, every one except for you“,
This refers to the fact that in 2014, I gave up smoking after 30 years and a whole slew of other things as well after a minor health scare. Most of those things, especially smoking, remain off-limits to this day.
Well, as an aspiring lyricist, in a bit of a purple patch at the time, that was enough… that gave me something to build on, so I just wrote what I’d seen and felt in the dream sequence.
At the time of writing, I did kind of borrow a particular meter to write it around and the notes from the first draft of the lyrics say: “like an Ed Sheerin structure but with a Nutini style vocal/bluesy“… so I had a point of reference.
And in some ways, that has been kind of how it evolved; Conceptually, musically and melodically, it was thought of as Paolo Nutini sings an interpretation of Thinking Out Loud, which at the time was a huge smash around the world.
But the longer the time went on, although I didnt do anything with it, the way I was hearing it in my minds ear did evolve; From Thinking Out Loud, to also including the guitar and piano feel of Eric Clapton’s Old Love and also the three part male harmony backing vocals from Paul Young’s 1980s single, Tomb Of Memories from the follow up album to No Parlez which no one can remember the title of. Especially me, right now LOL.
Fast forward to 2023, because nothing interesting happened with this set of lyrics between those two points, of 2015 and 2023. In the meantime, while I had been working on the tracks for Mondegreen and Monochrome, I had also been reinterpreting a couple of old Silent Edges era songs and once these had got to the point where they needed vocals (more of that in another post though, I’m not going to talk about that here) something about this song forced its way into my conscience and appeared to be telling me I had to do something with it.
So, having learned to trust this instinct, it is something that I have been spending the first week or two of 2023 trying to write/develop proper music for it and have been crafting my interpretation of it and it is starting to emerge from the January fog into the light of day.
… and so far it is nothing like I conceived it to be.
Although, there are elements of the Nutini style about it, more along the lines of Iron Sky than any other of his works, there is also a very different feel brought about by use of a Rhodes piano and a 5 string bass part and a very loose drum track.
So, less of Thinking Out Loud and more Old Love meets Iron Sky. Its a lot less grandiose and much more sparse than a lot of things I’ve tried to write music for and this one I guess is going to lean very heavily on the vocal melody to sell it. Not that I’m making a rod for my own back where the vocals are concerned. Perish the thought…
It wont feature on either of the coming EP’s as it isnt thematically correct for them… but, if it reaches its full maturity, it is likely to feature on another EP some way into the future that conceptually has the title of Abcission… but that is going to be some way away yet.
Love Me Or Leave Me Alone
Maybe there really is no fool
Like me… an old fool
Every time I get back on my feet
I cant wait to fall all over again
But only for you
I seem to have spent a lifetime
A lifetime with my faith in fear
So why is it only you
Who makes my heart leap whenever you’re near?
I dreamed of you in a garden
Surrounded by all your friends… but I could feel you near
You looked at me with those big brown eyes
As if I wasnt even there
Then out of nowhere
You took my face in your hands
And kissed me like. you’d never kissed no other man
Aint nobody else, only you
Can hold my heart so tight
That I can barely stand
(and you said)
Come on and love me (all out, all out, all out, all out, all out)
Or just leave me alone
Why did you fly a thousand miles just to say that you love me
(Are you just scared of being alone?)
So if you’re going to love me, then love me love me all out, all out
Love me or just leave me alone
Now I’ve broken all my addictions
Every one that is except for you
In my mind, our time replays my heart cant erase
And I need to find a way to decide if I still love you…
Solo over Chorus
Instrumental pre-chorus hook
© Lyrics and Music, Steve McCarthy-Hunt 2023