We’re not in Kansas anymore Toto
Dorothy. Toto. Together and afraid, lives in the balance. A twister’s on the rampage. They’re both swept off to the magical land of Oz. Dorothy gets new shoes, makes new friends, and has a bit of a run-in with a wizard. But hey, it’s only a film and everything turns out fine in the end. They get home, and you know what they say, there’s no place like home!
Nope, this song’s not about Dorothy and Toto, and it’s not about no yellow brick road neither! It’s about those moments in life when we perhaps just need to escape reality, lose ourselves, do something crazy - but of course we can’t, because we’re all grown up now. So. what do we do then? Well, much like old Walter Mitty did, we find our escape in daydreams, we invent a temporary reality, and we endeavour to shake off the constrictions of our current circumstances as best we can.
In this song, Claudia Matthews offers us a simple solution that we can (and I’m sure that many of us actually do) use whenever the need arises. In her own words… ‘The song’s really a question. A question of what if? What if this could be a movie? What if I could run away, and go anywhere without thinking about what other people might say or think? What if in the end everything’s good, because this is how I want my story to end? What if I could be in this movie when I feel lost, and after it ends I could come back with more hope?’
Was this song written as a consequence of personal experience?
‘It was. I try to write about what I feel because I hope there are people out there who can relate to what I’m going through and then realise they’re not alone in feeling like that.’
Claudia’s only young. She has no access to an expensive studio, no wild collection of fantastical musical instruments, there are no gifted co-writers, producers, engineers, or session players lining up to get a name on the credits. No, in fact all she has is garageband, a keyboard, and a vision - three chords and the truth, if you like!
So why, out of the hundreds of song submissions that our ‘musicto’ label receives every week, why did we pick this song? What made it stand out? What makes it special? Where’s the beauty in a song? What is it about certain songs that keep bringing you back time after time? It’s such a difficult question, and one I struggle with every week. Songs are hard to write about. No matter how many words you throw at them, the words you’re grasping for are always just out of reach.
Claudia’s voice! It’s got character, it’s got vulnerability hinting at inner strength. Her phrasing, her delivery, her tone! I want to listen over and over. The actual melody of the vocal is catchy as hell. And that’s all before I’ve even considered what the song’s about, or registered little touches such as the movie-like intro, the wolf that’s howling harmonies…
A good film takes us to another place, lets us live in its story, lets us forget ourselves for a while. It may inspire us to do something differently. It might alter our outlook in unexpected ways. We love movies because they offer us escape. But perhaps, as Claudia is proposing, we're not escaping from our reality, so much as emerging into a clearer understanding of it.
This song takes the ordinary, the thing that you probably never give a moment’s thought, and makes it extraordinary. And music that can do something as wonderful as that is music with which to navigate your life.
Last word goes to Kermit and The Muppets
Life’s like a movie, write your own ending
Keep believing, keep pretending
We’ve done just what we set out to do
Thanks to the lovers, the dreamers, and you