Season's End - Marillion
Rock & Pop - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: EMI - Distributor: F-Minor; EMI Operations/CEVA Logistics, Universal Music - Released: 04/09/2000 - 72...
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Review of "Season's End - Marillion"
Hi, I am the Ciaoer formerly known as 'PJE' (Ciao added a flattened penis to the end of my username against my wishes.) These days I live on goodreads where I am user no. 949843 - feel free to say hello over there, or on Twitter (phillipjedwards).
Following the departure of lead singer Fish to pursue a solo career, the rest of the band struck gold. The replacement they found - Steve Hogarth - has one of the best voices in the known universe. Yes, even better than the Stereophonics' Kelly Jones, for example.
Hogarth had previously been in a band called the Europeans, as well as doing backing vocals on Julian Cope's Saint Julian, and playing the piano on The The's "Heartland".
THE KING OF SUNSET TOWN
I have to admit, I didn't have a clue what this song was all about until I read on Marillion's website that it refers to the Tianamen Square massacre. Slowly fading in, and opening with a familiar Marillion guitar solo from Steve Rothery (to reassure the fans perhaps?) Hogarth's vocals were certainly a change. Whereas Fish was big, brash and in your face, Hogarth sounds fragile - not that he lacks vocal power, far from it, but there is vulnerability in his voice. He conveys emotional depth, and wears his heart on his sleeve.
EASTER is a lovely sway-a-long melody played on acoustic guitar, with very poignant lyrics about the troubles in Northern Ireland:♫ A tattered necklace of hedge and trees
♫ on the southern side of the hill
♫ betrays where the border runs between
♫ where Mary Dunoon's boy fell
♫ Easter, here again
♫ A time for the blind to see
♫ Easter, surely now
♫ can all of your hearts be free
♫ Sing: 'never again'
A very different approach to the one they took with Forgotten Sons - the aggressive belligerence of Fish had been replaced by the more delicate, sympathetic lyrics of Hogarth and John Helmer (formerly a member of The Piranhas, and the marvellously named Pookiesnackenburger) - they were trying to write an Irish equivalent to the Scots' Skye Boat Song! Which makes it important for me to illustrate the change by quoting extensively from the lyrics (well that's my excuse anyway.) At the time I suggested to someone that they should release this as a Christmas single ...and not just as a joke either - it has that feel.
THE UNINVITED GUEST opens with some flippant drumming but is a rousing, lively track, with some blistering axe-work to keep your ears warm on a cold day.
♫ I'm the Banquo at your banquet
♫ I'm the cuckoo in your nest
♫ I'm your fifteen stone first-footer
♫ I'm the uninvited guest
I don't think Steve Hogarth would weigh fifteen stone with a monkey on his back.
♫ Getting close to seasons end
SEASON'S END is a lament for the damage Man has done to the environment,
in particular global warming and the hole in the ozone layer.
♫ I heard somebody say
♫ that it might never snow again
♫ in England
♫ We'll tell our children's children why
♫ we grew so tall and reached so high
♫ We left our footprints in the earth
♫ and punched a hole right through the sky
♫ and how we tamed the sea
♫ And seasons they will never know
♫ in England
The highlight is another Rothery guitar solo from the 'Dave Gilmour is God' handbook, mournfully echoed by Mark Kelly on the keyboards.
HOLLOWAY GIRL was, I believe, sparked by a glimpse of a girl looking out of the window of her prison cell. It's a song that offers hope, one of those "hold on, everything will be alright one day keep your chin up" jobbies.
♫ The mascara'd blonde from the Berliner bar
This is probably the song that changed me from being someone who thought Marillion were an interesting, but inconsistent band, into a hopeless addict. Berlin has one of the most poignant lyrics I've ever read. This song has the same effect on me as peeling onions, so I'll try holding the CD booklet under water while I transcribe these verses:
♫ rises at twilight, gets dressed in a daze.
♫ Black leather crackles and cold water runs
♫ as she touches the walls of her memory maze.
♫ And the shadows of men she has known, fill her day
♫ she's held half the world in her arms, so they say.
♫ But she wakes up without them, with a hole in her heart
♫ and she puts on her clothes, lives her life behind bars.
♫ Someone got stranded in no-man's land
♫ dancing in the spotlight to the sound of clapping hands.
♫ Nobody knows whose side he was on -
♫ It's a risk that you take in no-man's land.
♫ Nobody knows what made him decide
♫ to run for freedom and to certain suicide.
♫ But when they turn off the guns and his fingers uncurl -
♫ he's clutching a photograph of a Berlin party girl.
(OK, I lied, I didn't really hold it under water, but then I didn't need the booklet -
it's one of those songs I know off by heart. By heart indeed.)
Sebastian Faulks could make a very long and painful book out of that.
Oh, and if my old English teacher, Mr. Bailey (a head teacher now I believe)
ever reads this... stick that on your curriculum next to Wilfred Owen.
♫ There's a stray dog she feeds
AFTER ME is a lovely little ballad which beautifully depicts one of those blokes
who won't be tied down into a relationship, you know the type - they need to roam free, and wherever they lay their hat, that's their home...
♫ that she found in the street
♫ and he loves her to hold him
♫ but he won't let her keep him
♫ and he claws at the door
♫ to be let out at night
♫ and she makes do without him
♫ and she worries about him
♫ she named him after me
HOOKS IN YOU is a short track quite similar to Incommunicado on their previous album. It explodes from the speakers and is driven by some insistent drumming.
♫ falling towards something out of control
THE SPACE is an appropriately elegiac finale. It deals with the feeling of being lost, overwhelmed by circumstances, struggling to cope with life's vicissitudes.
♫ unable to miss like the man in the tram
♫ crashing your car in Amsterdam.
♫ He did it without knowing
♫ he didn't feel a thing
♫ just wrecked it and kept going
♫ The space around the stars
♫ is something that you know
♫ A billion miles of darkness
♫ left you feeling low
♫ Everybody in the whole of the world
♫ is the same inside
♫ Everybody lives and loves and laughs and cries
♫ and eats and sleeps and grows and dies...
I hadn't listened to this CD for a long time until I came to do this review
So what did this album mean to me when it came out in 1989?
A hell of a lot. It was a bad time for me. I was terribly depressed
and the following year my closest friend from school committed suicide.
and I'd forgotten how powerfully it affected me.
Hearing it, I just broke down and cried all over again.
Beware: music can be an extremely potent mood altering 'substance'.
For Graham...♫ Nobody knows what made him decide
♫ to run for freedom and to certain suicide.
♫ and we wake up without you
♫ with a hole in our hearts
For more information about Marillion, or for a free download of some Real Player clips from some of the tracks on this album, or for a better way of life, visit their web-site at:
Product Information : Season's End - Marillion
Manufacturer's product descriptionRock & Pop - StudioRecording - 1 CD(s) - Label: EMI - Distributor: F-Minor; EMI Operations/CEVA Logistics, Universal Music - Released: 04/09/2000 - 724352711826
Listed on Ciao since: 28/10/2011