WATCH: Boy George LP Films
, November 4th, 2013 18:37
Contributions spoken and written from Boy George on his new LP, This Is What I Do
We're big fans of Boy George's new LP This Is What I Do here at tQHQ, with Simon Price praising it thus in his recent review: "An alternate title for This Is What I Do might be This Is Who I Am, because it's the most 'him' album he's made for some time." Now, ahead of Boy George's appearance on Jools Holland tomorrow night, we've got a track-by-track run-through of the record featuring contributions from the man himself, as well as four short films featuring music and spoken guides to the songs.
'King of Everything'
A filmic tale of a gorgeous boxer and his disappointed wife, so the story is not about George, though the O'Dowd family does have strong links with the gentleman's sport. However, as the underlying theme is about a battle with addictions and overcoming them this of course mirrors George's own struggle.
'Bigger Than War'
George calls it "Sesame Street meets the musical Hair." It's his favourite track, a dubby, melancholy tale with a low Lou Reed vocal. Its lyrical inspiration was John Lennon's statement that The Beatles were bigger than Jesus though it's actually about Yoko Ono, how she was once reviled and is now an icon. "I've always been a big Yoko fan and she's stood the test of time. If you stick around long enough you get respect. I kind of feel that about myself."
'Live Your Life'
Written with producer Richie Stevens in a Studio One style. "It's much more authentic than the reggae Culture Club did back in the day and it's got a nice message. I don't use the word gay, it's just about anyone who's different."
Its origins lay in a New York bar seven or eight years ago, in a 'godless' period of George's life. He took offence when someone handed him a Jesus pamphlet. "I was in a bar having a merry old time and this man walked up to me and said 'You need this'. I ran after him and said 'How dare you', I was infuriated. I wasn't in a particularly good place. I don't know whether he picked up on that or I was the only famous person he recognised." It set George thinking and reflecting on faith. "Often people who claim to have the most faith are the ones that really need to find some."
'It's Easy (When You're The One Who Stops Loving First)'
George in country music mode with a title resonant of 'D.I.V.O.R.C.E' and 'Stand By Your Man'. It's the story of his late father leaving his mother after 43 years of marriage. "I had a difficult relationship with him towards the end but now I'm a bit more sane I have a lot of affection for him and think about him in a much more positive way."
'Death Of Samantha'
A Yoko Ono song, the only cover on the album, it was his late friend make-up artist Paul Starr's favourite song. 'He had a really beautiful voice and always wanted to sing but ended up doing make-up. I always said to him I was going to record the song and when he died I thought when I do the next album I'll dedicate it to him.'
Inspired by a passage in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, it's about George making choices, abandoning the patterns of the past and choosing recovery in all its forms. "I used to think love was about hysteria and drama. Recently I've had the opportunity to look back at my relationships and I thought, actually I had no clue what love was and I say that in the song. Part of the reason I attracted people who didn't love me back was because I didn't love myself. It's amazing how a bit of self worth can attract a very different kind of person into your life."
A T. Rex tribute with a touch of reggae. It's that lesson we all have to learn, you can never change someone, they can only change themselves. George used to like to ‘Georgify’ his lovers. "I used to dye their hair, put them in a nice T-shirt, so it's about accepting people as they are and celebrating the thrill of falling in love."
'Love And Danger'
A story of a complicated relationship where a secret male lover competes for a man's affections with his girlfriend. "It's about getting involved in the drama of a love affair and forgiving them for letting you down. It's not about anyone in particular, but it's not something I want in the future."
'Nice And Slow'
"We were having a writing session in the studio, the TV was on and Patsy Kensit's Weightwatchers ad came on and she says 'I've got my sparkle back' and I thought what a great line, I've actually got my sparkle back again." George sings of thinking more, talking less, and being more respectful of lovers. "It's nice and slow, it's got a lovely vibe, like people opening the window on a sunny day."
A song written and recorded 10 years ago. George tried to re-record the vocals but couldn't better the original. "The song is really about focusing on the music rather than the bullshit because with this record I've come back to a healthy situation with my music and a renewed respect for it."
'Feel The Vibration'
Inspired by the Arab spring. George wanted a male Arabic singer and found Palestinian Nizar Al Issa through the Musicians Union. "I wanted to write something to honour the people in Tahrir Square and Damascus, Tunisia and Libya. It's about the power of human nature, of people willing to fight for freedom and die for it. I don't know whether I would be."