Truth? Let me tell you a truth. An uncomfortable truth. One hidden in plain sight for a thousand years! He never, ever, ever, answers your prayers - this God of yours!
Why? Well, sadly he’s a fiction! A fiction created time and time again, by each and every civilisation that has ever existed, a fiction that satisfies our base human desire for meaning, a fiction that we’re conditioned to accept just as soon as we can clamber out of our cradles.
Yes, I know. A lot of people still think God is real. In fact, some think he’s really great, better than sex, better than butter, better than chocolate even… But, seriously! If he is real. Where is he, and what’s he been up to all this time?
Aaah! I’m so sorry my children. I’ve been pretty busy pricking out in my potting shed. Is there a problem?
Well... err yes Mr. God. Actually, yes! Yes, there is a problem...
Stop pretending like you’re not really there.
This song is a little raid on religion, a fragile eruption of exactitude that unsettles the world around you like a well-crafted poem. Siobhan Wilson's elegant compression of language allows a few small and mundane details to take you entirely elsewhere. Somewhere huge! It’s a ladder of words, built to climb the absurdity of God’s endearing eccentricities; his absent-mindedness, his many failures. And, of course, that terrible habit of hiding away in the potting shed whenever he’s really, really needed.
The small part you occupy in the minds of the men who queue in a line outside means that you must be everywhere.
And that’s why when I scream your name I do it loudly and clearly, so you’ll hear me.
I’m sure that, lyrically, we’re being told here about people queuing outside a church, yet try as I may I just can’t shake the image of some seedy nineteenth-century garret, deep in the ninth arrondissement of Paris, where a protagonist is forced, by dint of circumstance, into prostitution; her humanity coming to terms with a godless existence, an existence without pity or horizon. Les Miserables indeed...
Mmmm, to believe or not to believe, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in a bind… And this is one of the great gambles of life, isn’t it? A gamble! A gamble on which you must stake everything! On the one hand, If you wager on God and he does not exist, then you lose little other than having lived your life based upon an error. But, to bet against him, to then find yourself cast down into the fires of hell - well that’s a bit of a worry if I’m honest.
There has to be a God though! The alternative is unbearable!
It’s the uncertainty, isn’t it? The not knowing… And there’s the rub! If you know that the answer to life, the universe, and everything is merely forty-two, then what’s the point, where’s the mystique, where’s the challenge? But an unbounded omnipotent deity, buried in a bible in a bookcase - that’s a different proposition altogether. This fear. This incomprehensibility. This is the hook!
Oh dear. I feel a bit like God now. Sitting in judgement, although I’m in no position to judge, although I sometimes hardly know what I’m talking about. Swinging violently from enthusiasm to lethargy I change my opinions far too frequently, like a flibbertigibbet on a weathercock. Avowed optimist in the morning, deadbeat defeatist by bedtime.
So you were right in saying that my prince charming would come, but you did fail to mention that he would stop loving me when I told him that I couldn’t have his baby.
And back to the song. Actually, it pains me to label this song as just a song. It’s so much more than that! More than just written words on paper, more than musical notes on a score, more than mere vocal performance. It feels like history, like philosophy, like chemistry. It feels like the truth!
Some songs are sacred; and all the more so when they force you to feel those far-away things, those things that seem so fleeting but are so real. And this is the frisson we experience when we commune with great art, when we are shown that the personal really is the universal, when we’re lifted up onto a plateau of clarity, when our eyes are opened.
Siobhan Wilson is a visionary romantic! From Elgin in Scotland, a place of endless dark skies where one can truly rail against the eternity of the cosmos. This is a song about God… sung by an Angel. Showing you how things are, telling you how things ought to be. It seems like something secret, something confidential, something between just her and me… like something between myself and my God!
You can learn more about Siobhan Wilson here:
About The Curator - Phil Shaw
The world is wrong about music…
and I want to change it’s mind
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings
Look on my playlists, ye mighty, and despair