The relentless explorer that is Alison Moyet is back with a new album that explores ageing, diversity, the internet, and love. As she herself explains: “For me, making a record at this age, lyrically, is a different proposition. Observation in most cases replaces emotion. The invisibility of middle/aged woman rather thrills me and instead I watch.”
Her electronic pop remains as fresh and incisive as ever though, with nods to her rock&roll roots and love of film soundtracks. Her daughter pops up to provide backing vocals on 'The English U', and she's inventive enough to drop in an ambient, spoken-word poem in 'April 10th'. Treading her own path as always then, yet still delivering, Moyet shows no sign of losing the star dust that made her an international star in the first place.
The first song Guy [Sigsworth] and I wrote together since the minutes. We set boundaries for our patience and then we stretch them depending on how much we want a positive outcome. We wait but we can't make the time still and we can't stop time from changing us. When something returns as it might, it finds us altered. Always is imprecise.
Older women might find the language of love tiresome. The prettiness brief and disappointing. They tire of insipid flattery. In this song 'she' slumps at the predictability, the lip service that marks her as vulnerable or susceptible, vainglorious. She is unmoved. She has boxes of doubles. Each word delivered like a revelation. A sweet handed to a child. She wants a different narrative or none at all.
The English U
My mother was in control of us and of the English language. These two things were her dominion and she made no error in the order of either. I am unable to spell or to punctuate reliably and this was a disappointment. When we were losing her and she had few words left, it was grammar that was rewarded with them, grammar that she still could remember. English variations that cut the 'u' e.g. color were met with much scorn. I find it hard to remember the 'she' before the silence so I remember her 'u'.
The Rarest Birds
In Brighton, diversity is standard so that a lack of it elsewhere seems unsightly. This song celebrates a place where a person can be who they were meant to be. It celebrates solidarity when it comes to individualism. It holds hands and calls time on silence, stillness, fear. It celebrates beautiful girls born boys. Stronger boys for being born girls. Freedom to identify where best we fit.
With all the ways we are losing compassion for one another, human rights, human liberty, the right to bear arms in some quarters is sacrosanct and everyone claiming God is on their side. Peculiar bedfellows. More babies shooting people dead than terrorists. A gun makes a bear of a small man it seems. Pro-lifers kill. Peculiar.
Possibly the most personal of lyrics here so I am not going to deconstruct it.
This is a stream of consciousness from a day of the same name. I tell you what I see and what it brought to mind. How my forward is not heading in the same direction as another's. My hope abutting the hopelessness of the next. Their bright garden behind my dark wall. Nothing is equal but the sum total.
"I don't know precisely which day coloured me other". Usually the best words we can find to explain a song are the ones we chose for it or we might have picked another in the first place. I was told I was a disaster in company. My forward step retreated. It laid me low. I wrote this.
Social media is a mixed bag. We are met with so much duplicity and falsehood. We compete with our bright lives. We protest that our lives are stark bright, cheer to hold back the darkness. To hide our nefarious souls. Emojis insist that we laugh the hardest of all. Just keep clicking. Click click click cry-laughing insistence. We love everything and more likely nothing at all. Ecstatic? Sure. So long as you're watching.
The last track was the last written. The hardest wars are the ones we fight at home with our own. Then we are truly in no mans land and without a home. When we build too high our walls we keep out our friends as well as our foe. Our loves deserve the first amnesty.
Other is out now via Cooking Vinyl. For more information, including upcoming tour dates, please visit her official website.
Photo Credit: Steve Gullick