This is about how one man's dream can be another man's nightmare. It takes the example of the celtic disapora to the Americas (among other places) as how the achievement of one aim can displace another. Many Scots left these shores out of desperation and found themselves successful in the new world - the archetype of the American Dream. But that dream had a sour edge for many of the peoples already living there. For me it also carries a little poke at what America now stands for in the world - That there's a maggot in the apple which they're not prepared to face up to.
Sort of a "Welcome to My Nightmare" kind of thing, lyrically and musically. A scene-setter for the album as a whole, with a nice orchestral intro which builds into this iconoclastic "sturm and drang". The bottom line is that when you drop off to sleep you never know where your dreams will take you. And that's true of life generally.
eft; padding: 0px; margin: 0px 15px 0px 0px; border: 0px initial #e1e1e1;" src="/images/alantdom.jpg" alt="alantdom" width="50" height="75" />"I am not a number - I am a free man" was the phrase from the 60's TV show "The Prisoner", and that pretty much sums up what this is about. It's the story of an attempt at rebellion from the day-to-day grind of modern life, where it seems everyone else has power over you and freewill is increasingly limited. This is not the life you would have chosen for yourself. Why should you put up with it? This is one of those places that it seemed right and proper to use more of Graeme's voice. It's one of the unusual strengths we have as a band that we effectively have two vocalists at our disposal. The mid and end sections really leant themselves to Graeme's voice, so we went with it.
What can I say? I think this is the best track we've ever done. I love the intimacy of the opening vocal section, and I think it's the best singing I've ever done on record. Bizarrely it didn't take me too long to do. I'd been singing all day and we'd gone off to get some dinner. I was pretty knackered and I'd thought we'd just listen to it a few times so I could get a feel for it before I tried recording the next day. But it was late evening, and I thought I'd try and get a version down anyway, and before we knew it we had "THE" take in the can. The vibe was just right. The "God only knows" line still sends a shiver down my spine every time I hear it. The final section had only been roughly marked out when I put down my vocal, so imagine my surprise when I heard the final mix. Pandy's vocal is just breathtaking. Takes the band to a whole new place. Magical.
Graeme and I are very different in our political views, which can often make writing something we're both happy with a bit of a challenge. However, I immediately warmed to this idea of the control-freak political leader. It's kind of a dig at Tony Blair, but it applies to pretty much any self-satisfied political or social leader. Anything they say needs to be taken with a healthy pinch of salt. I think the soul choir's a nice touch - If we ever did a video I'd like to portray TB, GWB and OBL as gangsta rap types with loads of bling (lots of gold, girls and a huge Hummer) .. All style and no substance.
A bugger to write and sing. I put off doing this one for months. Trying to count to eleven when you're sustaining at full volume is one of the most difficult things this singer's ever had to do in the studio :-) This is another of those tracks where Graeme and I were unable to come up with a complete version of a song, but individually we came up with different ideas that meshed together. In this case Graeme had pulled together a verse/bridge section and I had a middle and an ending. In fact we both had a middle and we thought it'd be interesting to put both of them on - and it works!
Graeme originally wrote this as a take on the 9/11 attacks. I was a bit uncomfortable with being too specific about that as I felt that there was more than one way to interpret the motivations of the guys that carried it out; and also that suicide bombings are an issue in many circumstances other than that one dramatic attack in New York (the recent London attacks just go to underline this). So I've tried to make it a little less specific - although it can still be read that way. The heavy middle section screams out "classic Pallas" to me. Heavy, powerful and emotional. I'm particularly proud of the vocals in the "the girl wipes the sleep.." section. It really builds nicely from a warm, sleepy delivery to the all-out "Death comes on silver wings..". There's a power and control there I've not often managed to get on a recording.