Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Aurora Gone

While we’re on the subject of men’s stories I thought to say a few words about my favorite song and relationship narrative from last year’s Midlake album Antiphon - Aurora Gone.

To start at the beginning I first have to say that I love this album more than any other Midlake album before it and that I love how (it looks like from available sources that) it came into existence.

Antiphon is greek orator and album is named orator because Midlake main songwriter and vocalist Tim Smith has left the band in the middle of recording a new album. We do not know much about this breakup but we know that Smith told Pulido and the band that “they can have the songs” he recorded for new album, and yet, material could not be used (for reasons unknown). Furthermore, we know Pulido and guys wrote new stuff and ended up creating one of the most beautiful, coherent and melodic albums of 2013 and also best Midlake album in their career so far.

Incidentally, album opens with title song - Antiphon - with very visual lyrics that can easily be interpreted as explanation to how things “went down” between Smith and the band. Of course, this does not have to be the case (even though Pullido himself admits to a degree of connection), but it is a truly interesting food for thought. Not to go too far into all the songs and imagined meanings (isn’t it funny how the rest of the album after Antiphon is enveloped into  Provider :D) let us return to Aurora Gone.

Among this collection of songs, one better than the other, Aurora Gone stood out for me from the very start. Glistening with pure gold. Gentle but heavily inter-weaving classical instrumentation with fusion jazz sound, evocative of braid hairs and fertility rituals and at the same time of smoke-filled rooms in which bachelors die alone while escaping life through complex tunes.

Did you know that fear of failure, most commonly presented as self-handicapping or as fear that one will be “seen through” is one of the most common and paralyzing fear for men?

This song has such a wonderful storyline presenting this horrifying fear:

All of me that gave unto the fold of a wave,
I could not bear to be up under, while knowing all along,
My faith would fade away and she'd see me just as I am.

I love how they picked the title Aurora Gone as Aurora, with its smell of Greek gods, adds to credibility and word gone lends to such heartbreaking finality.

But to have such a tragic loss first you have to believe success can be achieved:

I would get home and she would greet me,
Sit by the fire 'til the morning comes,
Telling of stories, how we could move off,
Leave the others, start anew at once.

Building our own with those who join us,
Celebration, celebration!

And then your faith (in yourself) falters and you predict your own downfall:

Oh this thing will never come to us,
The world is done,
Aurora gone.

I love how there is a dose of sarcasm in this discovery that escapism is lousy life strategy:

Many before me saw the peril,
I ignored the error of my ways,
Who would defend one void of caring,
Looking beyond to start anew at once?

And yet, this clarity does not last for long and self-fulfilling prophecy easily takes over:

Building our own with those who join us,
Celebration, celebration!
Oh this thing will never come to us,
The world is unglorious,
Aurora gone

I love how this quite common (and yet rarely acknowledged) male woe is put in so few words that spell such a well presented and complete tale.

And I love how this tale already contains everything that one needs to know to find his way out of this predicament: no one can defend one void of caring. To be able to enjoy your life one has to live through bad times as well as through good. To escape life is to lose it.

It is that simple.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A stunning song, and amazing analysis. Thank you for this