Soundtrack of my Life: “The Whole Of The Moon” by the Waterboys


Sheer exhaustion, work, life, and a totally broken down computer have taken me from my goal, but I am back several weeks later with more songs and records to discuss. It’s good to be back.

I decided to come back and discuss one of my all-time favourite songs, the glorious and bold swaths of synths and melody topped with trumpets and exquisite visuals, all because Mike Scott’s girlfriend asked him if it was hard to write a song. He said in Scotland’s Greatest Album that he got the hook line “I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the moon” pretty quickly, but that the rest of the song was months of work.

The song itself seems both timeless and very 1985 in equal measures.  The tinny synth lines date the song. But under the squeaky electronic noises is a strong melody, and the lyrics, a list of comparisons Scott has created about himself and his love, never get old. There is a poetic quality to song lacking in so much pop music, from the evocations of Brigadoon and unicorns to the exclamation of swooning (such a great word, swoon).

The song end with a whirl of noise, as horns, voices, keyboards, guitars and sound effect all pummel the song at high volume. It’s all sonic release, a pure moment of music. An astonishing and beautiful song, it was a minor hit in 1985. A 1991 re-release, though, went nuclear, winning an Ivor Novello award and becoming an anthem for swoony romantics everywhere. The song continues to make me smile, and yes, swoon.

I saw the rain dirty valley. You saw Brigadoon.

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