Song Profiles

Song title: Chains of Andromeda
From the album: A Broke Machine

One of the more subtle themes of my album "A Broke Machine" is the relationship between liberty and bondage. At one point in the creation process, I wrote out what I thought the album was about and came up with this description, "the love and liberation of the moon". I imagined people asking me about the album after it was finished and I heard myself giving this answer. It only took one attempt of saying these words out loud to realize how ridiculous they sounded. Although the album is still very much about this, with the moon personifying every searching person who might relate to such a description, I decided to make the official discussions about the theme of the album much less esoteric. However, in no other song on the album is the theme of bondage and liberation more deliberate than on Chains of Andromeda.

The reason why I chose the mythology of Andromeda as a backdrop for this song, is that the original story is about the bonds of heaven and earth, with a leash to tie the two extremes. This story is a helpful illustration for me to explore the ideas of loosening the mortal tether in exchange for the pursuit of freedom.

Like most of my songs, once I knew what I was writing about, the song began to write itself. It was a lot of fun to play with celestial words and to roll around in the metaphor. In addition to the mythological inspiration, this song was also informed by the book "The People of Paper" which can be seen in the ideas I expressed about understanding and accepting our own nature. We are creatures of heartbreak, vanity, and turmoil who create these dramas only to set ourselves on a course of unknotting the tangles. For reasons we don't understand, we fill our lives with these dramas and then submit to the very power we give to them. But what if there is no real struggle for freedom? What if we are simply so engrossed in yielding to assumed limitations that we miss an effortless ability to dislodge from the bind? Would we even recognize liberty if we experienced it?

As I'm writing this, I'm trying hard not to make my effort sound too complicated or strange. What I tried to express in this song is a big idea, but the song itself is a little pop tune. It's just...when I start thinking about this idea all over again, I get sparked. It makes me want to rip out a new sheet of paper and start another attempt at writing on this subject. On one hand, I wish I was the kind of songwriter who could write clearly about a subject like love or happiness, but on the other hand, I'm just too interested in the frustrating nature of all the things we will never be able to know for sure.

July 2008