Only love can set you free.
The business end of the top ten songs Spotify stats suggest are my most popular. Number 5: This is a Cold War.
This song is from the second of my Cold War E.Ps ‘What Would You Die For?’
The cold war songs all have the same thing at the heart of them and that thing is a take on Samuel Johnson’s statement that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.
I seemed to have stopped writing, for want of a better term, personal songs, and was writing story songs based on espionage books. But, these books I was reading are packed with insight and had reconfirmed my inner belief that the idea of nations is a con. The powers that be believe in the State, not a nation of people. I’ll put my trust in those I know and love, thank you very glad. Would you betray a loved one or would you betray the State if it came to it? Quite a lot of heavy stuff for a pop ballad, but the political mood then and now, seemed to be demanding a fevered nationalism.
I wrote this, and all the Cold War songs, bar one, on the Rushworth’s piano I bought when we moved to Glossop. It was, and is, perfectly out of tune. I couldn’t play piano but I wanted to write songs in a different way, and because I didn’t know what I was doing, I could surprise myself, hopefully inspiring new ideas.
The changes in This is a Cold War are not necessarily one’s I’d have made on a guitar. I have a great mellotron app on the Ipad and it’s a big part of the atmosphere. I demo’d the song and Craig Edmondson took over. He found someone online to play the piano, and it’s a great piano track. It has the simple riffs I had written but fleshed out and made beautiful. Not too grand, not two elementary, just right, Goldilocks.
I should mention that Craig played the guitars and programmed the drums. Bossly. My mellotron and synth is on there, so I’m happy.
The lyric is still relevant I think. It mentions masks but this was 7 years ago, so don’t blame me. Masks as a metaphor for covering up who someone really is. The conclusion is that ‘only love can set you free’.
I’m an old fashioned but staunch Internationalist, and you can listen to this on the streaming service of your choice, in, I hope, the country of your choice, by following the link below.