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  • Writer's pictureChloë March

'All Things Good'

Some listeners may have realised that this song is a version of 'Calypso Wants' which appears on my previous album 'Blood-Red Spark' with 'All Things Good' having quite a different arrangement and expanded lyrics.

Re-working songs has become something I’ve done more and more over the years and is a method of working I’ve come to really enjoy and be inspired by. Sometimes it’s because the subject is so creatively rich to me that I want to just go on exploring it. Other times (as with the track 'Starlings & Crows') it’s because I’m not quite happy with the version/s I already have.

'All Things Good' is definitely in the former category. It is actually the song that came before 'Calypso Wants' – the arrangement was based around the piano and in a quicker tempo. I liked it but the atmosphere wasn’t quite right for 'Blood-Red Spark' which was feeling to me like a more velvety, sensual kind of album than 'Starlings & Crows'. So I left finishing the vocals of 'All Things Good' and took a diversion down the more image-painting kind of arrangement of 'Calypso Wants' which still has a piano element, but it’s much more textural. That track is more dominated by the synths and bass and the layers of vocals that I wanted to build up towards the end. It also has one of my favourite song shapes which is to slowly build up to one 'chorus' at the end.

'All Things Good' does start quietly and atmospherically too but it has a much tighter, more conventional verse/chorus structure with a more expanded and less melancholy chorus. I was going to say 'upbeat' but I’m not quite sure! The piano is still giving texture but I’m playing rhythmic chords during the chorus, something that I consciously stayed away from doing in 'Blood-Red Spark'. It’s the way I often play when I’m improvising on the piano and I sometimes deliberately stop myself from using this in my songs as I know it’s my instinctive way of writing and I don’t want to rely on it too much.

Both songs are inspired by Calypso, an immortal nymph who appears in 'The Odyssey', charming Odysseus and keeping him prisoner on her hidden island until she is ordered by the gods to release him. For 'Calypso Wants' I drew more on the resonance for me of this story around Calypso being an embodiment of powerful desire. I felt that lush vocal harmonies would really fit and also I wanted a song structure that would build to just one chorus but then end with some tension. For me in this song, she’s an older Calypso expressing a timeless longing.

The focus of 'All Things Good' is a little different and less on yearning and desire. For me, it feels like a kind of spell, or a wish-fulfilment, an affirmation of love, loving and wanting to hold that love safely, of wanting to see the good in life from perhaps quite a dark place. There is still the sensuality, but it comes more from the natural world in the lyrics; the honey, the clinging vines, the juniper and cedarwood smoke, the dark and the clear water – and this all fits much more with the connection to the natural world that is at the heart of 'Starlings & Crows'.

All Things Good

You’ve tasted the rough sea

Now taste the soft and the green

You’ve tasted defeat

Now taste the fruit from the arching tree

Feel your way through the hanging vine

Find your way through the cedarwood smoke


With me

All things that I know love

All things that I do love

All things that I am love

Hold you here

Hold you near

Bind you to me with all things good

You’ve tasted the dark sea

Now feel the clear waters on your feet

You’ve tasted the sharp salt

Now taste the sweet honey of the wild bees

Feel your way through the clinging vines

Find your way through the juniper smoke


With me

All things that I know love

All things that I do love

All things that I am love

Hold you to me here

Hold you to me near

Bind you to me with all things good

Chloë March © 2020

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