Happy People song by song 6: Fire Flower Heart

Part 1: Happy People
Part 2: Name in a File
Part 3: Satellites
Part 4: Flow my tears, the policeman said
Part 5: Even then we’re Scared
Part 6: Fire Flower Heart
Part 7: Tracking Signals

Fire Flower Heart takes us back to the main story of Happy People. The protagonist has fled the clutches of the oppressive government, found the woman he loves and escaped. But now she is dead, killed by government and the frightened public we heard from in Even then we’re scared.

What do you do if your one true love, the centre of your universe, your compass and guide is killed? Well our protagonist is of the opinion that with her gone, there’s nothing to lose and the gloves are off.

But now I’m here with this button beneath my hands
And none of you seem red
None of you seem real

My Fire Flower Heart
Would still my hand
If only she was here

Composition and recording

This was another FAWM song, written as a solo acoustic ballad. I was trying, as I have with several other songs, to get a balance between sweet, ballady chords and melody and dark subject matter. It even has a key change at the end, cos what says ‘pop’ more than a key change? I love the idea of a listener thinking ‘oh that’s a nice song,’ and then listening closer and thinking ‘hang on, what is he singing about?’.

Here’s the original demo, which has quite a different arrangement:

The email conversation about this track went something like this:

Jordan: Love each and every second of this track! Just needs more mellotron πŸ™‚

Tom: Mellotron is banned from this album. Sorry, did I not say? Other pad sounds are allowed, mellotron is not.

Dan: I can understand the mellotron – it can be polarising – but flutey mellotron would actually sound nice on this. Pull back the guitar and some sort of organic, paddy, keyboardy sound. Maybe vox organ. Not sure about the bells. Might be a bit festive? Glock may work better. Not convinced about the choir falsettos during the latter stages either. Unless we can get an actual gothic-sounding choir to do it!

There are three things I’d like to point out about the final track that came about in the recording stage:

  • The slidey gutiar parts, particularly at the end. Dan’s contribution, and one of my favourite bits of the track
  • The piano. That’s all Jordan. Good innit?
  • My voice hitting the high notes. Never would have happened without Dan’s coaching and encouragement in the studio.

This is the ballad, the quiet moment before the storm of the final three tracks.
The title, which I thought I’d come up with is actually the name of a thing in some novels by Tad Williams which I had read years before and forgotten about until I reread them more recently. There’s not much connection between the two except the name is similar. Weird how the subconscious works, eh?

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