Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Some argue that the best songs emerge from anxiety, emotional dislocation and melancholy -- but more mature songwriters know that not to be true. As Lucinda Williams noted in this interview, it is possible for an artist to conjure up states of mind from experiences.
People like Williams -- and Tim Finn -- have a wealth of life experiences to draw on.
Finn's albums often sound best when he is coming from a settled place and this gently understated, reflective and sometimes domestic album sounds like it simply emerged from him as he put pen to paper declaring his happiness at being with a loved one (the gentle Going Going Gone which also has a kernel of fear about losing that person) and desire (the delightfully dreamy Pacific sound of All This and More).
Such songs sound as comforting as a cup of tea in front of the fire and that's hard to do without sounding twee. These songs aren't like that. Lyrically they are crafted to the point of not having a spare word, and with a supportive band (which includes Mara TK, Brett Adams and some American friends) which also knows the value of economy, they come off as fresh and almost instantly familiar.
And it isn't all sweetness because life isn't like that either: Everybody's Wrong is about that weary point when the arguing is exhausted and exhausting, and Finn delivers it with that tired melancholy such times bring.
Can't Be Found is about a yearning for a flight from pressures to a skimming-stones place where it's possible to consider what has been going wrong: "The city lights are blinding us and we've put each other on trial, you don't have to lose anything to give in with a smile."
So behind the comforts are always discomforts lurking and the dark menace of Opposite Sign brings both together in music which is disconcerting and lyrics which offer "we are different . . . we were drawn to our opposite signs".
At this stage of his long career Tim Finn -- with a punctuation point retrospective behind him -- might have quietly packed his bags into a semi-retirement. But at 59 he has proven he not only has something to say and a fine vehicle for doing it, but also that there is quiet wisdom in reflection.
And that the view from his vantage point is certainly worth the climb, and worth sharing.
Tim Finn answers the Famous Elsewhere Questionnaire.