Count Floyd meets Socrates: Leah on All Hallow’s Eve

It is All Hallow’s Eve.

Socrates walks into the SCTV studio and sees Count Floyd listening to a new CD.

Socrates: Count Floyd! We meet again…

Count Floyd: Socrates! Ow-ow-owooooo! How are you this scaaaaary evening?

Socrates: I was outside the the Second City Television studios and then I heard some very loud music playing. I thought I would investigate.

Count Floyd: Brrr… that was me, listening to Leah sing with Eric Peterson on “Dreamland“… it’s a very scaaaary song!

Socrates: It doesn’t sound very scary right now. It’s just a pleasant female vocalist singing over top of some piano, with some atmospheric sounds of rainy weather.

Count Floyd: That’s because it is another song right now. The one you heard outside was “Dreamland” — the track with Eric Peterson’s scaaaary vocals. That one was the fifth and final track on this new EP from Leah, called Otherworld. But now I have started to listen to the EP all over again. This EP is so good, it’s scaaaary how good it is! Ow-ow-ow-owoooooooo!

Socrates: So this is the first song?

Count Floyd: Yes, and it’s called… “Shores of Your Lies.” Brrrr!

Socrates: This Leah has a remarkable voice. It is so pure and enchanting.

Count Floyd: Yes, it gives me chills. Brrrr! Do you hear how scaaaaary this song is?

Socrates: The piano accompaniment is highly effective. What a beautiful melodic sense this songstress has.

Count Floyd: Yes, but scaaaary too. Don’t you hear? She is singing about a “whispering ghost”…. brrr!

Socrates: But she is singing how life goes by and accordingly how the mind erodes… it is a metaphor, Floyd: “like a whispering ghost” is what she sings.

Count Floyd: I don’t know what that means… but it sure sounds scaaaaary. But, I see that you want to dialogue with me. Well, OK, Socrates: if you say it is a metaphor, then what is the thing that is likened by her to a “whispering ghost”?

Socrates: I believe it is the vicissitudes of life.

Count Floyd: Ow-ow-ow-owooooo!

Socrates: Floyd, why are you howling?

Count Floyd: I don’t know what “vicissitudes” are.

Socrates: She is singing about a life full of troubles. All the various disasters of her life are “haunting” her, but in a very quiet and relentless way—”like a whispering ghost”.

Count Floyd: It is such a beautiful song that enfolds such scaaaary subject matter.

Socrates: Yes, it is just the sort irony that I can really appreciate.

Count Floyd: Hmmmmm. She is singing about how her life is a train-wreck.

Socrates: No, Floyd, I believe she says it is like a “shipwreck.”

Count Floyd: Yes! She is “shipwrecked,” she sings, “on the shores of your lies”! Well, who is this that she is singing about?

Socrates: She doesn’t say, but whoever it is, she loyally sings that she will “still hold on to you for dear life.”

Count Floyd: So, apparently she is bringing forth something beautiful, bringing it forth even from a disastrous situation.

Socrates: Yes, and the beauty of the music itself formally mirrors that idea.

Count Floyd: I don’t know. Sounds to me like a scaaaary situation that she is in.

Socrates: It reminds me of my own experience with the Athenian democracy. I myself was shipwrecked on “the shores of their lies.” But, I refused to abandon Athens. I would not abandon my post and leave town.

Count Floyd: Brrr. Scaaaary.

Socrates: Well, I think something good and beautiful came out of it. In any case, I know that it is far worse to do wrong than to suffer wrong. And now, by the song, I am reminded of the “shipwreck” of  Alcibiades’ Sicilian expedition. Say, what’s this new song that’s now begun playing?

Count Floyd: It’s the second track: “Northern Edge.”

Socrates: Her ethereal vocals are floating about the chugging metallic guitar sounds… with a dancing keyboard melody! What astonishing contrasts! But it all fits together somehow. This is tremendously masterful musical artistry! Why do more people not know of this incredibly talented songwriter and musician?

Count Floyd: It gives me chills when she sings that line about “this labyrinth of the dead”…. she sings it with such a “Northern edge” to her voice!

Socrates: Like you, she is from Canada—the Great White North?

Count Floyd: Yes, and it is chilling—brrrr!—chilling how good the vocal line sounds, when she switches into her rock goddess voice and howls, “we befall and we ascend”! Ow-ow-ow-owooooo!

Socrates: Yes, I agree. It is like each song keeps getting better and better. And now… this third track is also yet more astonishing!

Count Floyd: Yes, “Surrounded.” I think it is perhaps the best track on this EP. Her intricate vocal performance on this track is so good it’s scaaaary.

Socrates: Yes, Floyd, I hear what you mean. She goes through so many variations. What a remarkable singer she is!

Count Floyd: And the music is very scaaaaary on this one. Just when you feel safe in the verses with the atmospheric synths—ow-ow-ow-owoooo!—the heavy metal guitars come in on the choruses…. this is so scaaaary every time….. and then when the shredding guitars shift into double-time, brrrr, I cannot tell you how scaaaary that is.

Socrates: It is very exciting musically, Floyd. But I don’t think the guitars are all that scary. They sound too mechanical, like a sort of chugging, not so much a shredding. There is no hot edge to them. So, I think it is safe for children to listen to this very artistic, Celtic metal music.

Count Floyd: You have a point there, Socrates, about the guitar sound. But I think you have been listening to too much Dream Theater these days, so you are spoiled. Only someone used to drinking hemlock, like you, can stand such face-melting guitar sounds on a regular basis. Leah has the right mix of gentle and scaaaary overall, I would say.

Socrates: Speaking of gentle, what is this fourth track? It is so stunningly beautiful! There are no guitars here, but what a sublime melody.

Count Floyd: “Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep”…. what a scaaaaaary title for a song!

Socrates: But it is a beautifully poetic meditation… listen to those lyrics!

Count Floyd: I get chills—brrr!—when she sings the line: “I am the sunlight on ripened grain.”

Socrates: Her voice is very powerful and achieves a kaleidoscope of emotional effects. In addition, there are some interesting vocal effects on the multi-tracked vocals here. Wow, I think I have just become her newest fan. I wonder if Plato has heard about her? This is the sort of thing he would like… it would give his soul wings…

Count Floyd: Wait, Socrates, don’t leave… there is still one more track… “Dreamland”!

Socrates: Oh, yes, it has that demonic voice that I heard from outside the building. How bizarre that this Celtic songstress—who is an ambassador of the heavenly realm—would end this EP of hers with such an ugly voice!

Count Floyd: It’s so scaaaary—oh, how can you stand it! Brrr! I have chills again! Ow-ow-owooooo!

Socrates: Actually, Floyd, I don’t find these “death metal” vocals scary at all. They are just silly. So, I wonder. Why would this fine artist take such a bizarre turn in her songwriting and collaborate with such a fellow?

Count Floyd: Well, next you will be telling Count Floyd that he is not scaaaary himself! That it is silly for a grown man to dress up every day of the year and act scaaaary! Ow-ow-owooooo!

Socrates: You said it, Floyd. Your words, not mine. But why does the EP end with this “scary” sort of thing, as you call it?

Count Floyd: Well, Socrates, I am sure that the fans of Leah like you—people who simply love every song you have ever heard her sing—will be surprised and shocked by this song. But, it may also win over some new fans who will then come and listen to her other songs. These new people might be won over to her superior Celtic enchantments.

Socrates: I see what you mean, Floyd. And as I listen more carefully to this song, I understand now what is going on. I think I really like this!

Count Floyd: Yes! Oh, yes! Now you hear it! It is the power of scaaaaaary! Ow-ow-owoooo! Socrates likes the scaaaary!

Socrates: Well, to be more precise, Floyd, what I like here is the alternation between Leah’s heavenly vocals and the hellish Eric Peterson character in the song—”the king of this Underworld.” What we have here is a remarkable depiction of the twofold destination of the dead—much like in The Myth of Er, at the end of Plato’s Republic.

Count Floyd: Is that a scaaaary story too, like this scaaaary song?

Socrates: Yes. And notice how this song mentions the “shores of your lies” phrase again… which makes me think again about the soul of Alcibiades… what do you think his destination was in the afterlife?

Count Floyd: I never knew this Alcibiades fellow… but his name sure sounds scaaaary!

Socrates: Well, in any case, thank you for playing your music so loud, Floyd. I am glad that it attracted me inside to your studio, so that I could learn about this amazing Canadian songstress. This EP is one that I will recommend to Plato, and to all my other young friends who enjoy beautiful poetry and inspired artistic craft. I really do love how this EP tells a musical story by moving through five stages, in five tracks. Remarkable!

Count Floyd: What story is that, Socrates? Is it scaaaary?

Socrates: The story of Otherworld, as I understand it, is this: [1] Being challenged by the difficulties of life (“Shores of Your Lies”); [2] trying to fight back (“Northern Edge”); [3] then, after the battle is done, surrendering spiritually to a Higher Power (“Surrounded”), thereby turning the physical defeat into a spiritual victory (hence, the title has a lovely twofold meaning); [4] then, from this higher vantage point, singing from beyond the grave—to those still alive—about the “Otherworld”—the hope of the resurrection of the dead (“Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep”); and, finally, [5] a “saving tale” of the sort that Plato tells—a myth that just might shock your soul into taking your life seriously (“Dreamland”).

Count Floyd: A very scaaaary myth!

Socrates: Yes, and sometimes that is the only way we can hope to communicate the higher truths to most souls. Plato does this very well.

Count Floyd: Well, I really like Leah.

Socrates: I do too, Floyd. Happy All Saints Day, and good luck with your own salutary tales.

Count Floyd: Ow-ow-ow-owoooo! Socrates, I always knew you rocked. Ow-ow-ow-owoooooo!

Translated from the lost ancient Greek manuscript by C.S. Morrissey

2 thoughts on “Count Floyd meets Socrates: Leah on All Hallow’s Eve

  1. Chris or should I say Socrates – you are too clever by far !….fantastic review..i’m not going to post my thoughts now as you ‘nailed it’ as they say. I still don’t think Dreamland fits into the mood but if there was anyway at all to justify the inclusion then you did it
    thanks
    Ian (Count Floyd or hopefully Plato!)

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