It has been 6 years since the album ‘Free’ was released. Happy (late) birthday, my favorite album! (one of them)
I decided to go through it track by track and tell you what I think of the songs, very shortly. But first, overall, this particular album is definitely one of my favorites. Competes badly with ‘Chariot Stripped’. I cannot really tell which one would win.
I wrote earlier a bit about this album, and you can see it HERE if you wish. I wrote back then that it gives space for my feelings, and it is still true. It’s the one album I rather want to listen as a whole, not songs separated from each other, though I love the individual songs as well, but, the wholeness of this album is really working for me.
At first, after finding Gavin with ‘Sweeter’, this one was way different. It was almost hard to accept it was the same Gavin DeGraw. It wasn’t that fast and furious and sexy as the other one. I’m embarrassed to even say this, but it might actually have been the case that I found it a bit boring. But I think it was just about the fact that I hadn’t yet let it go through me, you know. I hadn’t really listened it, I hadn’t found the meanings from the songs.
If you’re in the mood for dancing or just playing music background, then ‘Free’ may not be the first choise. But if you need some delicate thoughts of the world, the life, the relationships, and you’re willing to concentrate on it, willing to let go for a moment, it works like a magic. It’s a special mood to be in, when I need my ‘Free’.
UPDATE: I just read through Wikipedia article about Free and found this:
“This album reveals the honesty about my love of music,” he says. “It isn’t about the biggest, the strongest, or the loudest. It’s about simplicity in its purest form. It doesn’t sound like the big machine. It sounds like where you go to escape the big machine.”
Exactly what I was trying to explain. But even when talking, Gavin can do it so much better than me. I got tears in my eyes, for it so precisely captured the thought (feeling) behind my inadequate words. Exactly. Exactly. Oh man, Gavin, you’re doing it again!
Escaping is to be free, isn’t it? Space for my feelings, indeed. Time for myself. Gosh, just read the previous post I had written a year ago of ‘Free’. There I’m actually saying that I use this album as an escape from my daily exhausting routines, and Gavin seems to have planned it to be just that. What can I say. I love my G.
Well, let me show you now how I feel when I take you through the songs.
1. Indian Summer (written by Chris Whitley)
When at first I didn’t know this wasn’t Gavin’s song, I felt it to be very different from Gavin’s style, or words. The images I get in my head were way different from those I got from other Gavin’s songs, but as revealed it wasn’t his song it all made suddenly sense. I love Gavin’s voice in this song, it’s something… well, he said it himself, pure and real. ‘So hard to get warm where it’s so easy to get burned’ was the line that made me think more. I think you can use this thought in very universal level as well. Too much is never enough, but when having too much, you just can’t handle it -kind of thing.
Feeling: rough (in meaning of the unpolished sound of this song, not feeling bad)
Ohh. My all time favorite song. My song. Why? That’s me he’s singing about, you know. So exactly said it was like a hammer strike when I finally took some time and actually listened the lyrics through. ‘I wanna be free’, he sings, and I do, too. And within this album I think Gavin is free, and that is the reason I’m free, too, when listening to it. Love this. Please, Gavin, I need to hear this live, soon. Promise?
Feeling: longing, possibilities
‘You don’t have to be part of the problem, I just need a second chance.’ Beautiful. Beautiful. I think this was the first song I youtubed, or accidentally saw from youtube. You might remember back in the beginning of my relationship with G, I had this problems with his looks, and I refused to watch any videos of him, because I didn’t want to get confused by his looks, for I loved his voice so bad. (A terrible reason, I agree.) But I saw this, he was playing it with a keyboard in a radio studio (ahh, can I say that?), and it made me feel surprised. For some reason I had this thought that I wouldn’t be able to be touched by his songs if I saw him (umm, sorry Gav!), but this did just it. I was amazed. How beautifully he sang it, how differently than in the album. How gorgeous his voice was. It made me curious and I might have clicked another video after this.
Feeling: bittersweet love
4. Mountains to Move
Oh. I feel I have no words with this one. This leaves me feeling so heartbroken, feeling the pain, you know. It’s… Definitely my favorite (again). And the lyrics. Ingenious. ‘I guess I win’. I mean, come on. How can you, how on earth can you say that? And when you do, it’s… yeah, breaking my heart. I get the feeling that he might win, but it’s not the good thing at all. ‘Oh, and don’t forget your shoes’ -part is… As I just said. I have no words, I can’t explain it. It feels such a mean thing to say, bitter, but in a way… so many meanings in so few words. That’s a real talent. And Gavin’s voice. His voice is telling the same story, it’s not just the words. And that’s a real talent, as well.
Feeling: miserable, bitter love, and pride
I once wrote an aphorism. “What would a plastic flower know about growing.” In my mind this somehow refers to this song, but now that I try to explain it to you, it seems it has nothing to do with it. This is a very fragile song (no pun intended, ha), and very intricate one, as well. The perspective keeps on changing so that finally I’m all messed up and can’t follow who is saying what and at that point I just let go. I have planned so many times to take time and go through this song with a careful thought and maybe finding something more from it. But the point is that ‘deep down I know he’s fragile too’, and everybody is. ‘It wasn’t a lie, but it wasn’t true’ -part keeps making me think, almost every time I hear it. How many times we say things like that to others, how many times things like that have been said to us? In all of it’s paradoxicality it makes so much sense it’s getting frightening. Needless to say, I love this one, too.
6. Lover Be Strong
‘No matter what happens, I see you on the other side’. What do you think when you hear the words ‘the other side’? Other side of what? An ocean? A road? Of time? After death? For me the first immediate reaction goes with the last option. It gives a hugely different perspective to this song, though I have no idea how it is supposed to understand. I also keep thinking this might be about a celebrity going for a tour or something, having a long distance relationship. Or, as it just occurred to me, maybe it’s the character of the song that is perhaps dying and telling this for the loved one. Or, both combined, you know, you never know what happens when you leave your loved one behind. It could be the very last time you see them. Ah. The possibilities. I love singing this along, too.
Feeling: missing someone
7. Dancing Shoes
It took me a while to get this one. It’s again about the language skills of mine that are not that terrific. I really didn’t understand what it was about these shoes. Uh. Confusing. It wasn’t that long ago when I finally got it. So obvious when thought afterwards. ‘I got nothing left to lose, but I’m no pair of dancing shoes’. As it seems to me now, it gives the glimpse of a person who is willing to take a chance on someone, but warning them in the same time that they will not be their’s to command, in a way. Oh, and the part ‘don’t push but don’t hesitate’ tells very accurately how I would want to be treated, you know. So obvious truths about life, but when said out loud like this… I like this, really.
Feeling: possibilities, a new beginning
Oh. So very different. It was so very odd to me at first. I was all like, ‘what the heck is this supposed to be now’. But nowadays, I absolutely love this. Love, love, love this. Because of it’s differency. Because of it’s ‘off the wall’-ness. It’s very hard to capture. It’s flowing, just like a waterfall. I so much enjoy listening to it. Every tiny shade of tone. Gavin is so amazingly talented when handling these tiny different vibes, and even more so when seen live. I need to hear this live, too. And even though I can’t possibly say I would get the lyrics, I love them. Every single word. It’s like a deep and profound poem, that is not supposed to be understood, but rather felt. ‘Let nobody else see’, is driving me nuts. I get the feeling of in a way very possessive love or affection, but in a same time very vulnerable love, that hopes that it could be like this always. Like there would be some shared secrets that would make it even more magical. ‘You’re beautiful’, he sings. Yes, Gavin, you are.
Feeling: longing, amazement, awe (there is no word for this special feeling, really, it originates only from the poems/melodies that leave everything open, and still make me understand things I have no words for)
9. Why Do the Man Stray
This one is taking a stand, isn’t it? Saying it out loud what we all (?) are thinking but never saying. And still this one remains partly unable for me to catch. So many thoughts in so few words, again. So many truths said in such a simple way. Also ‘It was easier before I loved’ gets some points from me. Because sometimes it feels just like that. Before we care, it is so much easier. And if we care too much the heart can turn to stone when there’s nothing to be done. ‘Our needs get needier and needier’. I can agree with this statement. The current life style of ours cannot continue forever. It can’t. ‘Someday there will be nothing left to burn’.
And, don’t you just love Gavin’s voice with only one guitar? You know I do.
Feeling: undescribeable. Longing, but in the same time fullfilment, kind of.
What do you think of Free? What are your favorite songs from it?