Saturday, June 20, 2020

Open/Close: More Open Eyes

purchase [Steve Hackett's Darktown]

I memorized the lyrics to Selling England and still have them in my head to this day. I loved Genesis in the early 70s. Gabriel, Collins and Hackett foremost. As Collins moved from progressive to pop, I kind of lost interest. But not respect. Or awe. More for some than for others.

As I listen again to Darktown, the 1999 album that includes Dreaming With Eyes Open, I have to say that I prefer the Hackett of Genesis days. Something about the mix of talents combining to make the whole of the Genesis sound. It's good, but I like Genesis better.

One term that gets batted around about Hackett's musical style is "world music". Another is "classical". Both are in evidence on this album (and in this song), but the overall mood comes across to me as a bit dark. It's progressive and the guitar work and song composing are excellent. "Dreaming" is emblematic of the album as a whole.

Then there's this whole  notion of dreaming with eyes open. T.E. Lawrence wrote “All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreams of the day are dangerous mean, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.” That's from his autobiography <Seven Pillars of Wisdom>. T.E. Lawrence is, of course, better know as Lawrence of Arabia.

Hackett's lyrics include these lines:
You drift away on the night ride
With eyes that dream as much as they see
The wind in the willows winding through the grass
The drawbridge of consciousness is lifted at last
Where are you going?

This isn't daydreaming, and there are dream interpretations of what it all means. Julie R Klein examines Spinoza's critique of Descartes in which she says that dreaming with eyes open is to be deluded ... unable to descriminate true, false and fiction. The line, however, does make for some colorfull lyric  imagery.

Steve himself comments: There are some subjects which I have avoided in songs over the years because some of them were too painful to talk about but I got to the point where I felt ready to confront those demons in song.

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