Behind Beneath Beyond
Only a few times have I shed tears on stage. The first time was with me and my then band, which included girl backing singers along with 5 band members all of whom could sing. We got to the part where, while the chorus is repeated with gospel type ad-libs, one of the girls sings the last section of lyric. You will see and hear it at the end and maybe you’ll understand why it was so emotionally overwhelming. For the record, some audience members were crying, too.
Behind, Beneath, Beyond is a very idiosyncratic song in that I used words not completely referring to the song’s theme. I was, as the title may explain, trying to express how I, and I’m sure many of you, have wondered about what is there beyond what we can see or hear. What is it that runs like some vast engine beneath the surface of reality, pumping all this beauty and wonder along with all the despair and pain.
For believers, of course, God will be the answer to that question. But I am not a believer so I have had to look long, hard and deep at myself, the people around me and the world itself to try to unearth answers I can truly believe in. I did have my breakthrough while writing this very album, Mass, so it is poignant that these are the songs about which I now write.
Let’s get started. The first verse:
Untie the knot of flaming colour
Under the blanket blinding white
See the whole wave in the foam
Think of coming home
The first two lines were a poetic way of how difficult it is to make that breakthrough and see the world with a sense of wonder rather than alienation. To untie a knot of flaming colour under a blanket of blinding white light. It’s not completely clear but that’s what came forth when I started writing.
The second two lines are a different matter and their meaning will resurface in the next verse.
That, in moments of undeniable clarity when you can see the whole universe in it’s smallest parts. This theory is also discussed in physics so it’s not just poets and visionaries that talk of it.
You see the whole wave in the foam and, in that moment of stunning revelation, you suddenly feel at home in the world.
The chorus is as simple as it is beautiful; just a gospel choir ringing out the three words in the title.
Behind Beneath Beyond
The second verse may be a little easier to understand. Just a little.
Receive communion in numbers
Deliver the form within the fluid
See the whole field in the blade
Turning as you lay
For it’s opening line I was thinking of physics which, no matter how much I read about it, as soon as I put the book down thinking, “oh now I get it.”
I immediately think, “no, I ain’t got it!”
But I love that there are people who can understand the universe in numbers. We all know that Einstein’s theory of relativity has a mathematical equation; E=mc^2 but what it means in his head is something wider, vaster and more complex that what it conjures up in most of us. I compared it to communion because it must feel like a religious or mystical experience when your mathematics come up with an answer that helps explain the universe! I also like the “Deliver the form within the fluid because, all things are fluid and yet the great minds have to make at least a temporary form of their concepts and theories. It’s also a nice metaphor for the birth of a child. A Baby is delivered, fully formed from having lived in fluid during the pregnancy.
As with the first verse, seeing the whole field in the blade, says everything is connected and one small part can tell you about the whole.
The middle eight, tries to suggest some beauty that might be lying underneath something ordinary.
Behind the point behind the eyes
Beneath the loss, beneath the prize
Beyond the inner edge
Behind the chord, behind the din
Beneath the root, beneath the skin
Beyond the outer heart
Lines, 3 & 6 I put there to expand on the microcosm/macrocosm nature of all that we perceive
The chorus makes a welcome return to lift the spirits.
Behind Beneath Beyond
Now, when writing the song, I thought, at this point it was lyrically done. I could listen to that belting chorus over and over. Then an idea struck me. What If I could tell of a short journey which ends in a perfect moment, like those the songs pleads with us to look for.
So I imagined me, or you, taking this walk.
Out of the gate and through the town
Take the road that takes you down
Between the trees to the river’s edge
Follow the tide until the bridge
Cross into the open field
Sleep beneath the sun
And wake beneath the stars,
I got one of the girls to sing that part in the hope it would come across as more universal and not a personal journey that I myself had taken.
I know of one person who believes this is not only my best song but also the most beautiful song ever written.
If one person loves it that much, I’m happy and grateful for that.
Many thanks again for coming by to get the scoop on another song.
It’s a real joy writing these because I do so without pre-prepared notes or any planning. I write what the song tells me to.
My hope is that you get at least a little pleasure from them, too.
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