02 August 2013

Music Day

It's my birthday today and you know what that means... it's White Heart Month here at the Edge Of The Dream! (Provided, of course, that the iTunes Store actually has five White Heart songs that I haven't already featured.)

The other day I was listening to White Heart's Freedom album on my iPod. It's a totally different experience on the iPod -- headphones always make the mix sound better anyway, but this specific album is heaven on earth through headphones. Plus, this album just means so, so much to me -- track two, Sing Your Freedom, has gone down in this blog's history as the first piece of choreography I ever completed, Eighth Wonder holds the distinction of being the first piece of my choreography to be publicly performed, and the phenomenal opener Bye Bye Babylon was the song that catapulted White Heart firmly into the slot of 'My Favourite Band Ever Of All Time.' I listen to my CD copy of the album that I ripped from my mother's well-loved cassette at least twice a week, probably more.

I rarely listen to it on my iPod though. Usually I listen to my iPod when choreographing a specific song, and I tend to listen to full albums on CD as I'm driving places in the rattletrap.

However, Freedom is different on the iPod not because of sound quality, but because of the tracklist. As I mentioned, my Freedom CD was originally a tape. Then, several months after I created it, I found out that the original CD release of the album had an extra track sandwiched in between The River Will Flow and Let It Go, a track which I assume was excluded from the cassette and vinyl releases due to time constraints (though don't quote me on that). iTunes had the track (for once -- pause while we give sarcastic applause), but I'd already burned the CD and didn't want a perfectly good CD to go to waste. So I still listen to the cassette version but because I'm a purist, I have the official CD tracklist on the iPod.

So the other day as I was listening to the album on my iPod, I suddenly went 'holy crap I forgot about this song!'

Title: Set The Bridge On Fire
Artist: White Heart
Album: Freedom
Year: 1989
Label: Sparrow
iTunes here; YouTube here.

This is a freaking good song. Guitar, bass, keys, drums... everyone is in top form here. The interlude is one of the best I've ever heard. It's not just a standard 'insert guitar solo here' deal, every instrument gets to play. The synth, real soft and gentle (yet it manages to be stately) and then the guitar rips through and the bass and a different guitar comes in and then...

There's even a great little acoustic guitar riff at the end of each verse. The rest of the song is hardcore rock, but somehow they make that little acoustic bit work.

Even the rhythm is great -- driving, and not quite centered.

Fans often cite this as one of Rick's best vocal performances to date (along with Desert Rose, How Many Times, Dr Jekyll And Mr Christian, Sing Your Freedom, Unchain, et cetera et cetera...), and the title is well deserved. He simply soars here. It sounds so effortless.

Lyrically, the song makes some good points. It doesn't beat the visual to death, but it explores it just enough to make you really think about it. Do you really want to live forever in that headspace of regretting the things you've done, the times you've messed up?

Great message. Phenomenal performance. If you only own one White Heart song, this should be a contender.

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