We finish up the reviews of the digital version of All You Need Is Now with Before the Rain.
Musicality/Instrumentation: This song screams emotion to me. The first minute or so is filled with intense sadness with both keyboards and cello. It works beautifully, despite not hearing much of the other instruments like guitar, bass and drums. The keyboards beginning around 40 seconds bring me back to the beauty of the Chauffeur. This first minute also makes me think of church music–maybe organ like. It definitely makes me feel like it is about something deep, perhaps spiritual. Other instruments join in around one minute and only work to build up the emotions. It is almost like the feelings that were once buried deep are rising towards the surface as the song progresses. Something worth noting is the cascade of keyboard sounds around the two minute marker. This additional adds to the supernatural feeling, which happens right before the big push of instruments and emotions. The feelings have finally crashed to the surface and can no longer be ignored. Then, of course, the song begins to quiet down again, both musically and vocally to coincide with the ending of the emotional outburst. What is left is wonderful military sounding drums and deeper level of emotion. Less obvious but still as painful. The song ends with quiet notes.
Vocals: To me, Simon is nearly perfect here. His voice is crisp and filled with feeling. His singing perfectly matches the instrumentation. When the instruments are quieter, so is Simon. When they get loud and demanding of attention, his vocals match. They are in sync.
Lyrics: Much like Rhonda related the lyrics to Runway Runaway to her personal existence, I have been able to relate to this one. The lyrics are beautifully poetic in a way that does seem to recall early Duran. The meaning isn’t very obvious and absolutely left to interpretation. My interpretation has everything to do with the losses I have experienced lately. As you all know, my beloved kitty, Othello, died on December 17th. My grandma of 97 years followed him ten days later. For me, this song absolutely is about loss and grief. Simon sings, “In every life flash, in every car crash, I hear the silence waiting to fall.” I feel like I know exactly what he means by this. It seems to me that there is strange sort of silence that happens before death. I know that Othello was silent before he passed away, which was unusual for him. I also know that my grandma became silent a couple of days before she died. Then, of course, the rain could absolutely stand for physical grief, for crying. This idea of speaking “to the wind” makes sense to me as well. I have asked for answers to no one, “to the wind”. The song ends with this idea of people who “travel, as we unravel towards the place where all loose ends go.” In this way, the song has told me that there is closure. Peace.
Production: I can’t imagine that anything could have been done differently with either the production or the mix to make this song better. It seems to me that every element did what it needed in order to make a quality song.
Overall: This song, for reasons explained above, has been played over and over again for the last couple of weeks. It expresses how I have been feeling. For that, I suppose it is hard to truly be objective about this one. I wonder what I would have thought of this one if my circumstances would be different. Nonetheless, the song captures an “emotional punch,” as JT described it in his blog. The instrumentation, the vocals and the lyrics work together to create a beautiful piece of music.
Musicality/Instrumentation: This song begins with the most haunting chords I’ve heard in awhile. For the first verse of the song all we hear is synthesizers and Simon’s voice, and in the second, we get a very soft backbeat – similar to a heartbeat of sorts. It all seems to slowly crescendo (raise in volume) to the middle of the song, when bass and drums are added. I think that this is another song that takes more than one listen to really connect. The music is exacting and slow – I feel as though each second, each beat, is being strung out to its entire value. That effect adds to the feeling and emotion of the song. I have to admit that the song almost makes me uncomfortable, as if I’m waiting anxiously for the song to get going somewhere and it just never does, and I believe that’s really the intention behind the music. It’s not meant to be fun or comfortable, and it is definitely not. There are some bands that will take a ballad, sing it, and I’ll feel absolutely nothing. It’s not that way with Duran Duran. When they are on top of their game (and on this album, they most certainly are), they never overlood an opportunity to insist that their listeners make the extra effort to feel the music and be a part of the moment. It’s beautiful and a perfect way to end what I believe will truly feel is one of the best, if not the best album of their career….so far.