Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Driven Away

As I mentioned in detail in my post referring to the song 'I Cry' by Bass is Bass, I perceive the 90s in a blue-white colour. Print media from the decade that I was exposed to probably had a big influence on that.

There was that song, and then this one by Amanda Marshall, that gives me this blue-white 90s imagery at full-blast:

I was exposed to her via my mother. Somewhere in my house is a cassette tape of that exact album of hers shown in the video above. As soon as I heard the opening piano in the car on Boom FM a few months ago, I recognized it immediately, but couldn't place it until I heard Marshall's voice.

The lyrics narrate a story of a woman defiantly leaving her abusive husband and fleeing the city in which they live (Birmingham). Marshall gives quite a valid reasoning for the woman's walking away - apparently the guy uses a gun to change channels on TV. I wonder why Marshall's writers behind the song chose to set the song in Alabama's largest city. Is/was it a likelihood domestic relationships such as this one could be more rampant there than elsewhere?

Asking that question, I wonder what a writer would write behind a song called "Ottawa." Birmingham would be the setting/title of a song about domestic abuse. What would Ottawa be about? Or Toronto? Or Calgary?

Losing faith in the Sens, stumbling upon an opportunity, and getting to the "promise land" would be my guesses. "Interstate" would be changed to "Trans Canada Highway" though.

But about the music. There are a few elements of the song that are present in other adult-contemporary 90s songs - such as the hi-hat rhythm (offbeat) for example. Or the really low bass lines, or the jazzy guitar near the end. The Soprano sax in the middle.

As for the imagery it gives me, it translates into many visuals in that colour pallet. One notable scene I get is of high-rise buildings off Fisher Ave, bordering the Experimental Farm, on a cold, late afternoon. My mother lived there before I was born, and I can picture her coming and going from there. This is during the music of the chorus. The sax during the bridge is really pleasing. It gives me nighttime Manhattan images (you get exactly that in the music video for 'Near Wild Heaven' by R.E.M., from 1991, and hey, even in blue). That, combined with the jazz guitar at the end, give me the general look of sitcoms from that time, most of which took place in grey or cream-coloured Manhattan apartments. Like Seinfeld or Friends or, well, not NewsRadio. That was a radio station.

I see settings or ideas based on my awareness of memories I have from that time. Like seeing my father downtown, seeing downtown from his truck, etc. Cloudy days with a blue hue to them. The piano consists of white shapes not too different from several musical notes on a staff glued together as a chord, but with the stems pointing downward.

It's a very good song that gives me a partly nostalgic view of my childhood in the form of seeing places I've only seen in media from that time, as well as what I see as general attitudes from that time. It sounds quite likable to me. The lyrics tell a nice story.

For a grade, I'll give it:
A - Music
A- - Lyrics.

I like the acoustic that comes in now and then as well - it also seems like something used in more than one contemporary 90s song. And Marshall is yet another Canadian (although her mother's from Trinidad & Tobago). We produced some pretty good things at the time - songs that for me, overly visualize it for me. Which makes me like it quite a bit.

Red Cloud

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