The Great Divide Podcast Episode 29
Big Country Info Big Country Info



WHY THE LONG FACE DEEP DIVE
PART 3


1 December 2013
1:19:59




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Take You To the Moon – song deep dive by Tom and Svein.

  • A change that at least to one of the hosts feels natural, despite not having the typical “classic” Big Country sound.
  • Strong vocals! On one hand, several octaves are used, stretching up quite high at times, but primarily Stuart adds strong emotions (pain) to the performance.
  • Tom launches this song as a candidate for a (the first) single.
  • Hummable melody, hummable guitar solo, hummable!
  • Interesting lyrics – definitely post-breakup and dealing with it. Parallels are made to Stuart’s life at the time.
  • Looking at the autobiographic, relationship-themed songs on the album, a lot of them are written in the middle of things happening and going on (and maybe going wrong). This is the final one chronologically – things have happened here, it is over.
  • Is the song too “country” or too standard rock ballad? Does it stray too far from what the band should be? The hosts see this differently.

Far From Me To You – song deep dive by Svein and Tom.

  • Svein shares a very personal story about what this song represents to him, going through each line and the personal significance they have.
  • The song has an almost perfect build-up – the drums start nicely, but keep adding parts and intensity. Tony rips into it in the middle part. The guitars develop from open picking to intense power chords, and a fantastic old-school guitar solo to boot!
  • Even though the personal/relationship angle clearly work for this song, the song was likely written as a religious song. In it, Stuart is not talking to a person, but to God.
  • Solid playing, but too clean/nursery rhyme/”sing-song” before it finally kicks off?

Speakpipes from Arlin Bartels and Mark Cole.

Charlotte – song deep dive by Tom and Svein.

  • The divisive song on the album? It sure takes a lot of abuse from some quarters, and a lot of that seems to stem from the lyrics.
  • Musically, as close as this album gets to a classic Big Country sound! The dual bagpipe (!) guitar lines, e-bow, celtic influences, Mark’s drumming, etc.
  • The song tells the story of Charlotte, who is the mistress of someone she hopes will leave his wife for her. This is clearly never going to happen, and Charlotte hovers between hope, depression, stolen moments, and the icebox.  
  • The lyrics provide outlines which we need to fill out ourselves. The ending indicates Charlotte realizing that this is going nowhere – where does this leave her, and will things end good or bad? We need to fill in that blank ourselves.

Speakpipe the second from Arlin Bartels.

Post-Nuclear Talking Blues – song deep dive by Svein and Tom.

  • Huge disagreement between the hosts on whether this is in fact a fair representation of the Big Country sound.
  • Lyrically – a collection of throwaway one-liners that mean nothing, or a fun, light-hearted moments? Possibly both. The hosts disagree on how much of a pass they give Stuart for trying to put jokes in a song.
  • A song that sounds like the band just sat down, started strumming, and plays a straight, bar-room bluesy strummer.
  • The song points back to songs like “Starred and Crossed”, and contains some instrumental flourishes worth highlighting.

Blue On A Green Planet – song deep dive by Tom and Svein.

  • A song full of ferocious playing, great musicianship and virtuoso playing. However… is the spark missing?
  • Somehow the song is executed sharply, yet for all its intensity it feels a bit passionless and somehow “Big Country by numbers.”
  • The connection to – or should we say inspiration from? – the Psychedelic Furs song “Pretty In Pink.”
  • The line that the album ends on is one of the most powerful and best from this time: “Some people say you have to change to stay the same. I guess we tried so hard to stay the same we changed.” A line that transcends the song it is on, and perhaps the album, becoming part of key career-spanning lyrics from the band. Crucially, it sums up how many of us saw the band at this time.

Tom and Svein’s combined ranking for the album.

Tom reads his review of WTLF from 1996, as printed in his collage newspaper.

Final words from Tom and Svein’s alter egos Statler and Waldorf.