While not exactly joyous, the CD I made in 2008, Sea of Love, was at least about love which is generally viewed as a positive thing. Most of the other songs I had written in the four years before that and in the three years since have been depressing. So when I set about writing a few new songs for “The Tingles,” I felt a vague urge to give a nod backwards, as it were, to the more positive love stuff before plunging, in the cuts to follow, straight into the darkness. Still the song takes a while to get to the light starting, as it does, with a plunge into darkness:
When all of a sudden the bottom it falls out
And all of your certainty turns into doubt
And all your expectations turn out to be a hoax
And all of the promises are just dirty jokes
Looming back there in my mind not too far of course when I wrote these lines was the sudden economic collapse the dust of which still settles around us, as we appear even to be sinking deeper.
The lyrics then plunge on into the darker, if not slightly more metaphysical, waters with:
When there ain’t no signal coming down from above
When all is lost in the raging flood.
Katrina too was not that far back in my mind, what with the “raging flood.” But finally a turn if not to optimism at least to the possibility of something other than utter darkness:
Keep a weather out eye
For the lighthouse of love…
There’s a good deal of watery nautical stuff in this; “weather eye”? –You ask.
I don’t know where that came from except perhaps all those Captain Hornblower books I read in junior high. But it was very important back in the day of the clipper ship to–no matter what else one might be doing or even however important that might be–nonetheless, keep a weather eye out because the weather at sea and the failure to attend to it can be a life and death matter. So the song does end with a glimmer, like the lighthouse itself, of–if not hope–at least the possibility of it.