This lyric documents my personal odyssey over the last three years. Many astrologers believe we are entering The Age of Gemini, and some hold this more than a little responsible for the drastic change in my perception, and behaviour from June 2005 to the present day. Each night, as I sing the second verse (...'a dazzling creation....') on stage, I cannot escape the startling visual image of Xerxes from the film '300', but the real meat in the sandwich here (as usual) is the chorus, which is really a kind of distilled mantra for The Ten Commandments. The verse itself is upbeat and optimistic, also altruistic, but this becomes triple underlined in the chorus.
The flip side (hey, it's yin/yang again) of the God-fearing benevolence in track one is my assumption of the mantle of the Grim Reaper in this song. This is a long-discussed subject between myself and Richard Palmer-James, my long-time collaborator and old school friend. You may have noticed the same subject matter as far back as Doctor Diamond, The Great Deceiver, etc. Placing myself in Death's icy shoes, I observe, in my global travels, people going about their everyday lives, unaware that I am within touching distance. Another illustration of how fragile is our grasp upon things mortal, and a reiteration of the theme that we must enjoy our time today, for tomorrow, it may be too late.
A song of fealty, and celebration of a divine female entity (take that any way you'd like), a journey from the blue quasi-suicidal depression of the opening lines, though to the uplifted unbridled joy of the chorus and bridge, it underlines the fact that I cannot succeed at living on my own, I am not independent, and and I need the contact and love of another human being(s). It's a classic Wetton/Downes musical construction--GD's verse, my chorus, our combined bridge. I vacillated on the title for weeks. The working title was 'Hostage' (I was writing it about me being the subject of the piece--'I am your hostage'), then became 'Spirit', then finally the tribute in the second person--'Heroine'.
NO WAY BACK
In the vein of 'Sole Survivor', this is an 'against the odds', tale of triumph in the face of adversity, don't give up, never say die, don't take no for an answer, type of rock song.
As many of you will already know, this is 'Jodie' from rehearsals way back in '82. I re-titled it (in fact, 'Jodie' gets a nod toward the end of the lyric), and it re-surfaced as a lyric which is typical of the first album's misogynism, which was difficult to recreate, given the personal and cultural changes of the last 26 years. There are some strange words--duplicity, procrastination---all euphemisms for mendacity. A way of tying up the loose ends from all those years ago. The soloists get a really good work out on this one, and it's a splendid mix. The original title came from Brian Lane's wife, Elaine, who was so impressed with the actress Jodie Foster, she thought it about time someone wrote a song about her. We didn't like the idea, but the name stuck.
I WILL REMEMBER YOU
I'm allowing myself a look back over my shoulder in this one, a lament over someone who had a profound effect on me way back when. I remember explaining to GD in the studio that the lyric had refused to be written any other way, so I had to roll with it. There is a musical reference to Abba, and a lyrical one, too, for the connoisseur. I very much like the acoustic version of this song, because the vocal gets to tell you the story without too much fuss from the instruments. It's about being so in love you can't think of, or do, anything else, and the warm memory of that feeling in retrospect.
SHADOW OF A DOUBT
A natural successor to 'Don't Cry' in lyric and instrumentation, it's prog-pop that really only Asia can do. If this were played acoustically in the same way that 'Don't Cry' has been--it would have the same effect. An electrified love song in the '21st century troubadour' style.
A dreamy fantasy about an imaginary lover in another universe. Written from my hotel room overlooking Niagara Falls after our show there in 2006, this was originally working titled 'Sitting on Top of The World'. We were playing the casino, (where we are always pampered, and looked after like Kings), and I remember the nocturnal view from my room was right over the illuminated falls. I felt this had somehow to be documented, so I called Rick Nelson, who brought my acoustic guitar, and I wrote it sitting stark naked in the titanic tub of my two-acre bathroom. The next thing that happened after I wrote this part, was that I drained the bath, and Geoff's piece that follows PW is 'Vortex'.
AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE
This song, more than any other on this CD, encapsulates my experiences over particularly the last 10 months. The concept of 'carpe diem', or the willingness and ability to 'seize the moment' is key to my decision to appreciate my life today. The chorus was written, and demo-recorded at sound check at the State Theater, New Brunswick in 2007,and titled on the bus to Asti, Italy, later that summer, just before my spell in surgery. Little did I know it would be such a dramatically accurate omen. A trip to Croatia unlocked the lyric for me, when I was introduced to Kairos, who you will meet on 'Phoenix'. He's the mythical spirit/deity/dude responsible for 'carpe diem'---the time for opportunity.