Rider in the Blue
Joined: Dec. 2010
||Posted: Jan. 20 2011, 01:29
One doesn't need to be a philosopher to understand the lyrics, just read them as poetry; I've often thought that songwriters are poets. I think this album has an occult theme. With the exception of 'To France' (obvious and explained correctly in this thread as being about Mary Queen of Scots), I've always interpreted the lyrics like this:
Poison Arrows: Paranoia, someone (Mike?) fears that they're being hunted in some way; someone's trying to attack him/her. Poison arrows are an unlikely weapon in the Western world. Hiding in shadows, the attacker is sneaky. 'Watching every move you make / And everything you do /Evil eyes will be on you' enforces the occult theme and suggests that the person is being watched by the attacker constantly; there's no escape. And the drumming at the end suggests a hunter moving in for the kill.
Crystal Gazing: The occult theme is here again. Crystal gazing means trying to read and interpret the future. 'Reaching through the dark / Do you have to go?' suggests the narrator is trying to contact someone whose left her - 'the dark' suggests death. we also have 'Won't you talk about on the other side?'. So her sweetheart has died, she wants desperately to contact him but he's gone.
Tricks of the Light: Again there's an occult theme, suggesting a woman whose gone to a seer. 'Signs keep changing' might relate to astrological signs. Barry Palmer's character (the seer) wants to confirm something but isn't sure as the data (signs) are changing. He's searching for certainty and meaning. Maggie's 'Some tricks of the light / You never know / Make a flickering midnight light / Into a glow' means that the human eye and brain, especially in low lighting, play 'tricks'. It's known that the brain seeks to make sense of uncertain data - this is why we see faces in tree bark, rocks etc. 'It's a trick of the light' is her dismissal of whatever she's seen. 'Something tells me how / Her bright blue eyes are smiling' - he's receiving some information but isn't quite certain. Again Maggie dismisses this. Then we have Barry's 'She turns and take his hand / Breaking his concentration / She burns at his command / Makes some transfiguration' - Maggie's character has interrupted the seer and he's performing a ritual. But to her, it's just a trick of the light - or is it? You never know...
Discovery: This is about a partner whose hurt the narrator; he's hurt and he wants to hurt her back. The first verse is a question - why should anyone be surprised when she finds herself without friends if she's lied to him? He only wants the truth from her - 'Give me some truth, stop making me crawl'.
In the next verse, he's asking her how she can live with herself; 'How can you sleep / How can you turn away? etc'. In the third, he's asking for some confidence - he wants to rely on her truthfulness but he can't. 'Who's keeping secrets? / I've got my spies' - his friends tell him what she's been up to. Finally, 'Does anybody think we live in paradise?' - he wonders what others think of the couple's lifestyle; whilst they may be happy on the surface, their relationship is far from ideal. The uncertainty and plain anger in this song, with its secrets and lies, seems to underpin the occult theme too.
It's no secret that Oldfield recorded this LP whilst he was in the midst of a divorce. I'll deal with Side Two another time...
"Our hope's with you..."