The Joe Jackson Archive Joe Jackson
Fast Forward
Overview
Releases
Credits
Lyrics
Joe's comments
Reviews
Artwork
 
 
Back to
albums index
Joe’s comments

Fast Forward
Kings Of The City
A Little Smile
Far Away
Junkie Diva
If I Could See Your Face
The Blue Time
Good Bye Jonny
Satellite
Ode To Joy


Fast Forward

‘Fast Forward’ has more words than anything else I’ve written. It just kept growing and growing. I imagined having a time machine, and hitting ‘fast forward’ until I’m far enough in the future to look back at the present and make sense of it. We’ve got the past all figured out (or think we do) – and we can imagine the future as anything we want. So it’s only the present that’s baffling and maddening. And I think we’re living in a confused and anxious time. The commentary out there is extremely divided, either ‘we’re living in a golden age’ or ‘we’re all screwed’.
    I actually started with the chord changes, which constantly cycle through different keys until they end up where they started, only to start again. That triggered thoughts about how things are always changing, yet in some ways stay the same, or go backwards. The lyrics are full of ironies and contradictions. The musicians: Bill Frisell guitar, Brian Blade drums, Graham Maby bass, and the gorgeous violin is Regina Carter. In my mind she represents the Moon looking down on the Earth, both saddened and amused by us humans. And it’s just our attention that fades out at the end; the song goes on forever.

— quoted on stereogum.com, 11 Aug. 2015


Kings Of The City

‘Kings Of The City’ is a bittersweet song about people who grew up in the middle of nowhere moving to the big city. They’ve gained some things and lost others: as the chorus says, they have the bright lights, but they can’t see the stars any more.

— interview with Classic Pop (UK), April/May 2016


A Little Smile

(Asked what inspired the song...)
I’ve learned that the best way to tackle a daunting task – like making an album! – is just one little step at a time. In this song, I apply that to a relationship, having a fight and then making up.

— interview with Classic Pop (UK), April/May 2016


Far Away

‘Far Away’ started its life as a song for Stoker [i.e. Joe's musical theatre project]. In the piece, it’s sung by Stoker as a young boy. And the music is substantially the same, but since I thought that song may never see the light of day, I rewrote it and then changed the lyrics and took it in a different direction, and it becomes a song about... Well, I like the idea of how in a movie sometimes you’ll see the character as a child, and then time passes and you see the same character as an adult. And I thought it’d be cool to do that in a song.

— interview with salon.com, 29 Sep. 2015

I’m often an actor in a song... they’re not autobiographical, they’re mostly fiction, based on experience and observation. In this case, I needed an actor to play me as a child. He’s scared of the dark and wants to escape. In the second half of the song I’m an adult, and I have escaped, but sometimes I still feel as scared as a child, because I’m human. This is one of my favourite songs I’ve ever written.

— interview with Classic Pop (UK), April/May 2016


Junkie Diva

Everybody thinks it’s about Amy Winehouse! Well, OK. Firstly, it’s not about a specific person, it’s more about the obsessive fan than about the diva. It’s more about the way that people project what they want to see on certain figures, and the way that they live things vicariously through their heroes or idols, and they want to go places where they can’t go themselves, literally or figuratively. But that’s really what the song is about, and as far as who the diva is, when I was writing it, I was thinking about Billie Holiday.

— interview with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (US), 22 Oct. 2015


If I Could See Your Face

‘If I Could See Your Face’ is quite an angry song, but it’s the anger of feeling helpless and not being able to understand things. How can radically different cultures exist side by side? I think we have to be more realistic about this as a society. This song came partly out of my observations of the Turkish community in Berlin, and partly a real-life Berlin story, the young Turkish girl who was murdered by her brothers, for ‘dishonouring the family’. I’m not saying Turks are all going round killing their sisters, it’s just an extreme example of a real problem.

— interview with Classic Pop (UK), April/May 2016


The Blue Time

I wanted to capture the feeling of not wanting to wake up, trying to hold onto a nice, romantic dream, but it’s slipping away, night is giving way to day. Everything is blue. It’s all about the mood, the atmosphere.

— interview with Classic Pop (UK), April/May 2016


Good Bye Jonny

'Good Bye Jonny’ is my English version of a German song from the Thirties – it's amazing, it has everything: love, sex, friendship, betrayal, murder and war. They don’t write ’em like that any more!

— interview with Classic Pop (UK), April/May 2016


Satellite

‘Satellite’ is about nothing in particular. It’s fiction.

— interview with Classic Pop (UK), April/May 2016


Ode To Joy

A lot of the songs on this album are bittersweet, but ‘Ode To Joy’ is unambiguous. It says, don’t forget, there really is such a thing as Joy, even if it’s not always there when you want it. It was recorded in New Orleans with some great local musicians, like Stanton Moore on drums and Donald Harrison on saxophone. I wanted to get some New Orleans flavour in the context of something that really isn’t New Orleans music. There’s also a little altered quote in there from Beethoven’s ‘Ode To Joy’ from the 9th Symphony. Everyone steals; I reckon you may as well steal from the best.

— interview with relix.com, 18 Sep. 2015

Believe it or not, the rhythm and the basic chord sequence came to me in a dream. I got up and tried to write it down but I struggled because I wasn’t sure if it was in 5/4 time or 6/4. Some bits sounded right in 6 and some in 5. Then it hit me – the verse is in 6 and the chorus is in 5. It feels completely logical, though it’s not something I would ever have planned.

— interview with Classic Pop (UK), April/May 2016



This page was last updated 22 April 2016. To send additions/corrections go to the contact page.

Copyright © 1995-2016 The Joe Jackson Archive