A song should be able to stand on it’s own without any further explanation. So I’ve been a little ambivalent about this blogging-about –the-songs thing. Is it really necessary? Well in this case, I kind of think it is. Because I don’t want anyone to worry about me.
This is a dark song. One might assume that the writer would have to be in a pretty dismal place to come up with it. Upon hearing this you might think I’m mildy depressed; that I’ve fallen into some deep, Southeast-Asian, Brando-in-Apocalypse jungle funk. Not the case.
I do like some dark stuff though, and I don’t just mean coffee and chocolate. For me it depends upon the form that the dark comes in. I’m not fond of murder mysteries, but I like murder ballads. I don’t care for Anne Rice’s vampires, but I love the gothic Bran Stoker Dracula. And I absolutely loathe the apocalyptic, dystopian sci-fi futuristic stuff. I much prefer my darkness rooted in the magic of the past; the stuff of myths, fairy tales, and the like. This musical character sketch is a stab at fantasy.
I pinched the title of this song from a C. S. Lewis quote. The entire quote reads, “Where, except in the uncreated light, can the darkness be drowned?” (from Letters to Malcolm.) Lewis basically answers his own question in the middle of asking it. I was drawn to the sound of the question without the answer, so I lifted the best bits. It’s called selective thievery.
I tried to make the song more complex than pure good vs. evil. . Clearly the narrator has his own demons to contend with. They’re not just in the bag. And that gets to the heart of what this is about.
It seems like many of us are somewhat overwhelmed by the sense that we are living in a dark time. I know I feel that way. And there’s this cumulative effect going on. Things seem to get stormier by the day, and with every new tweet of destruction I wish we could just throw Sauron’s cell phone into the Crack of Doom and be done with him. Deep down inside I’m aware of the faint impulse to want to kill the evil that he represents. In other words, what I perceive as the external shadow triggers my own internal shadow. This is the kind of thing that inspires Kathy Griffin to make poor artistic choices. It’s not who I wanna be, but it is who I am.
The Dali Lama recently gave some advice on the subject. He suggested that we answer the contempt of others with “warm heartedness.” I’m not there yet, and neither is the guy in this song. He makes no apologies for his murderous impulses. He doesn’t even want any help with doing the deed. He’s just asking for simple directions. Simple indeed.
Meanwhile, I will try to follow the Dali Lama’s directions. I’m looking for some big ocean of warm-heartedness where we can put that shadow out if its misery. If you find that on Google Maps could you let me know?