Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Bonnie "Prince" Billy>I See a Darkness

I heard a song yesterday that simply blew me away. It just came out of the blue. I was doing the domestic chores - clearing away the dishes, washing up - and for once I decided to put some music on in the background instead of Euro 2008 football. At first I thought about putting on Coldplay's latest album that I recently bought, but was so disapointed with the first listen that I've not put it on again since. So I hit the random play button! And then the song just started, by the second line I was gripped and by the end, I'm not afraid to admit it, I was in tears.

'I See a Darkness' is written by Will Oldham - AKA Bonnie "Prince" Billy. I'd never heard of him before yesterday, but the version I heard was Johnny Cash's (with Oldham doing backing vocals) on his American III album that I've had tucked away in my collection for a while but not really got around to listening to properly. And the entire song was sublime - voice, guitar, piano, lyrics. I've downloaded Oldham's original version since and it's just as good (I See a Darkness, 1999).

My interpretation of the song (and the lyrics do seem pretty straightforward) is that it's a guy talking to his best mate and admitting that his inner life is dark. And his hope is that his friend will help to 'save' him from the darkness within. It struck me that this one of the roles of church. That our brothers and sisters in Christ can in some way journey with us and help us to confront our inner 'demons' and sin. But of course the honesty of admitting our failings before someone else is a prerequisite. Generally we don't do that very well!

You've just got to hear this song - here it is.


RJ said...

I LOVE your blog and what you are writing about. I've been in the same Spirit for about 10 years as I look for tunes that speak of the sacred beyond the traditional words. Thanks for doing what you do. Here's my stuff:

Nick Coke said...

Thanks for the kind comments rj. Always good to hear from a fellow pilgrim. I've checked out your blog, and it's great - keep up the good work. And as you say 'in the same spirit'.