So, I love 1984. The book by George Orwell, not the year. I read it every year. I don't know why I enjoy it so much, as it's not a particularly uplifting story. But I do.
So, I wrote a bunch of songs about it. The album "We Were Dead From The Start" is all about 1984. Some songs are the stories of certain characters, some are my personal take aways. And a couple are directly taken from the book itself.
The first song, "Memories," is an example of the latter. I say first song, but officially I never released it. After about a year and a half of trying to track down the copyright owners and negotiating what I could do to obtain a license to release the song, I was met with a brick wall. Officially, there were (still are, who knows) movie negotiations. Boiled down simply, because of these contract negotiations, the George Orwell Estate can't give me permission to release the song, as they're not sure they'll have the permission to if the movie gets made. But Sony (who I was told was the other side of these negotiations) can't give me permission to release the song, as they don't officially have the rights yet. Back and forth. I was advised by some people that I could probably go ahead and release it anyways, but it only takes one lawsuit to ruin a man. So, officially, it was never released. Although I did put it up for free download on this website as well as bandcamp.
Now to explain the story. "Memories" as I said, is composed of lyrics taken straight from the book. In the book, there's a random side character, a prole woman. Essentially this is one of the impoverished masses. The Party, of which the main character Winston Smith belongs to, doesn't partake in the enjoyment of music. In fact, the songs that proles listen to are composed entirely by a machine, and therefore are considered the lowest form of art, although, art itself is considered low, but this isn't an essay on the themes present in 1984. In one chapter, though, Winston overhears this poor woman singing this trashy song, and for a moment, he finds it to be almost pleasing. This becomes an instance where the power of Big Brother is broken, if briefly.
The first verse is practically a word for word transcription from the book. I thought it was a very poetic lyric. I wanted to compose a hauntingly beautiful folk ballad. The second verse I did change a little. The verse in the book was a little dated, and I didn't feel it translated as well to a modern song, so I tried my best to take the themes and compose my own lyrics. This song was written to be a short introduction to the album. I wanted to capture one of the broader themes present in the book, and start the album with a song that represented that. I don't have the lyrics printed anywhere else, so here they are;
It was only a hopeless fancy. It passed like an April Day. But with a look and a word, and the dreams that they stirred, they've stolen my heart away. Those feelings are all but memories. And time helps to ease the pain. But with the smiles and the tears across all the years, they've stolen my heart away. Oh, you've stolen my heart away.
I also wanted to give it a nostalgic feel, so I ran it through a vinylizer plugin and eq'd it to sound old. An awful lot of work for a song that doesn't officially exist. But I was too proud of it to not put it somewhere.