Greetings blog readers 🙂
This is going to be my last blog on song explanations for a little while, as for the next couple of weeks I’m travelling around Germany and performing in different towns and cities (I’m sure there’ll be a blog post by the end of all this though!). This week I would like to talk about the opening song off the album: “I Forsake the Joneses”.
This is the oldest song on the album and so probably the one that inspired this whole concept album idea in the first place. It was written while I was still at university and was the result of a ‘happy accident’ that came about when I combined samples from two songs – U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sunday” and Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” – in my music technology class project. It was a totally new way of working for me (although the finished track didn’t sound much like either song!). Many years later when I revisited and rerecorded the song (this time without the samples), I was finally able to get the tempo right – the original being considerably slower – and add some new ideas.
The song deals with the subject of materialism and starts with a salesman’s pitch from ‘Mr Jones’ (a.k.a. me!) trying to tempt listeners into his department store, “where happiness is only a step away!”. After this intro, the first verse talks about my struggles with materialism and attempts to break free of its grip. The chorus then addresses the world at large, calling everyone to “get out of the race”. The refrain of “I forsake the joneses”, which is repeated several times throughout the song, is in reference to the phrase ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ and my love for taking well-known sayings and turning them on their head. The second verse deals with the effects of materialism on people in general (“So much to choose, what’s the use, only temporary appeal. We never really gain”) and poses a thought (“There has to be something more deeper to life than this”). The song ends on a positive note, explaining that change is already happening in the world, even if it means life will appear harder in the beginning as we try to adjust to a new reality (“Don’t look to the future for it to come. We’re making it now, yeah, we’ve just begun. I never said it was easy to live with but I forsake…”).
So what do you think? Are you one of those people who would be able to sacrifice those things that we’re told we ‘need’ in order to have, perhaps, a more meaningful life? It’s a hard balancing act – on the one hand, trying to make sure we have enough to survive; on the other, being careful that we don’t let it consume (pun intended!) our lives – but something that we have to be conscious of if we are going to keep this world healthy for future generations. Do I have it all worked out? Of course not. But I’m striving, and that’s the main thing, to have a better balance between the material and spiritual desires in my life.
Have a great week everyone! 🙂