Monday, July 5, 2010

True by Spandau Ballet

“True” by Spandau Ballet entered my life when I was in middle school and my brother became obsessed with this song. I’m not really sure why my brother thought this song was so cool. This ballad laced with synthesizers that perfecting exemplifies the cleaned-up new wave image of the early 1980s seems kind of lame on first listen. It sounds adult contemporary, has an almost “soap opera-level” of emotions in the sings. Check when the sing looks straight into the cameras and sings “but now I come again.” (3:40).

Well, actually the entire video is kind of hilarious. I would say that I love video in an ironic “wow, this is so unintentionally, hilariously awful” kind of way but that’s not how I feel about this song. Let’s look beyond the surface here, strip away the dated the musical landscape and you’ll be surprised at what you find.

In this 2009, performance, Spandau Ballet strips this song down to its core with minimal instrumentation to show us all what is at the heart of “True.”

Tony Hadley sings with less bravado and more intimacy reminiscent of George Michael as tries to emote how he feels. This man has traveled the world and still can’t quite put into words what is special. The line “this is the sound of my soul” is referring to the way that the music is describing something that he can’t say put into words “why’d I find it hard to write the next line.” What is truly “true” is the feeling that in the simple contour of the refrain lacking words but full of emotion.

It is never made clear what Spandau knows is true.  Is he confessing his love or is he telling someone that he trusts her despite rumors of infidelity or is it something about himself? You don’t know and that’s one things that’s cool about this song. The music creates an emotion we all share and relate to without tying it down to a situation.  We place that feeling into the an event or person in our own lives and it because personal, meaningful and true.

“True” is everything I love about music. It’s optimistic, life-affirming and embraces the mystery and magic that is music. You can tell that Spandau Ballet loves understands music when Tony sings “listening to Marvin all night long,” reffering to Marvin Gaye. I don’t think I could listen to Spandau Ballet all night long, but every so often I listen to “True” and I can’t help but love every moment of this song.

I know this much is true.

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