Today marks the multiple-delayed, much-anticipated worldwide release of Blackfield V, the fifth installment of the Aviv Geffen/Steven Wilson Blackfield collaboration. Except, that is, for the US and Canada; we have to wait until March 17, 2017.
Blackfield’s record company Kscope has provided a fourth advance video from Blackfield V to whet our appetites further, this time for the gracefully moody album closer “From 44 to 48.”
This tune is the only one in the song cycle to come from the pen of Wilson (aside from one co-write credit), but puts a perfect bow on the whole “life is an ocean” thread that runs across the LP. In sizing up the entire album last week, we commented that “From 44 to 48” was “Wilson’s semi-autobiographical look back on life” because the age ranges he reminiscences upon with each verse suggests the guy doing the reminiscing fits someone who is about his actual age (he turned 48 while V was being recorded). Wilson himself explains that this “is a song about growing older and letting go of dreams.”
But it’s not entirely self-referential because “from 24 to 25” the narrator reveals “a girl I liked became my wife” and “from 28 to 33, a new responsibility, a child”, making it “harder than I ever imagined to keep all my dreams alive,” while Wilson himself made a much different choice in his own life to sacrifice starting a family in order to fully pursue his dreams of making music.
Regardless of how close to home it hits with its composer, it’s an arc of life many of us can relate to, especially from the wizened perspective of middle age.
As for the melody, it’s a gently flowing one that’s so effortless and stays with you long after the last note fades out. In place of chorus lyrics is this anthemic sequence of chords, and Geffen’s string arrangement that furnishes a lush bed so refreshingly non-intrusive underneath a sparkling Fender Rhodes and a softly strummed guitar.
If creating such splendid rock songs like “From 44 to 48” are made possible from hanging tight to lifelong dreams, it’s a damned good fortune for the rest of us that Steven Wilson did.
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