By MARIA KOSMA
This is a more in-depth analysis of the concept album ‘Night’, let’s get right into it. First of all, there are two characters in ‘Night’:
- the protagonist (Ivan Fanning) who is a man constantly feeling there’s something missing from his life, despite having a good life with nothing particularly wrong in it
- the Night (Georgia Kalatha) who, in the eyes of the protagonist, is the personification of the night, an ethereal companion who is there to guide him. In reality, she is a creation of his subconscious and every encounter he has with her is fabricated by his own mind
The music in the whole album has been laid out so that the Night comes out, well, at night and this is indicated by the piano – every time Georgia has lead vocals, there’s always piano with them. She is also harmonising quite a few lines to reinforce the protagonist’s thoughts.
This instrumental opening starts with one thought, those three notes on the guitar as more thoughts are gradually introduced, bass, drum fade in, guitar noises, first in the background and then becoming more prominent when proper distortion guitar comes in, covering everything else and building up to the next song.
2. The Calling
This is the introduction to the story, where we learn about the protagonist and what is troubling him. Despite nothing in particular being wrong in his life, he feels like there’s something missing but he doesn’t know what it is (in pursuit of something more). Worrying about it doesn’t allow him to enjoy the present (failure to live in the present) and this has been an on-going situation (the seasons change).
He has been daydreaming about escaping (reveries of letting go) but the time he has invested in his current life ties him to where he is now, making him unwilling to leave everything behind (dutifully I bow to time’s past).
The Night is there in the back of his mind, emphasising some of the lines in the verses (move on) and joining in the choruses (how do I find…) and the quiet section (in the wake…), with the latter being another indication of days passing by where the protagonist is apathetic, staying up all night until the sunrise (I keep watch of the rising sun).
This is a calm, relaxing song showing how the protagonist feels when he meets the Night. It follows the course of an entire night and can be divided into three sections, the beginning while drifting off to sleep (come with me), dreaming in the middle of it (you must journey) and the start of the new day (as the rays of dawn saunter).
The Night tells him all the things he wants to hear, that there is a solution to his problem (there is a place where you belong), he was mistaken in thinking living life content is not possible (lives mistaken for gone) and he has to stop being afraid of what he will leave behind (disregard your past). She reminds him that there is nothing holding him back (there is no one to miss) and urges him to journey to this new place. Consequently, he bonds with her and promises to not forget everything she told him.
There is a nice instrumental intro to this song, with a 12-string acoustic guitar and violin, to show that the pleasant emotions from the encounter with the Night lingered the following day. But the mood darkens at the end of it and remembering what the Night told him, the protagonist now has to make a decision.
He looks back at his life, feeling hopeless and distressed (walk the path of lost hopes), but thinking he will regret it if he doesn’t go for it (an entire lifetime buried deep in regret). His confusion is also reflected in the verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, jumping from a slow, clean verse to a heavy, growly chorus. The Night is there with him, faintly harmonising some of his words in the background.
The guitar solo section then kicks in with a kind of unsettling rhythm pattern, depicting his struggle with this decision which resolves into a more straightforward groove, when he finally makes up his mind. He repeats the Night’s words (I must journey) and he is ready, with her by his side, to face the unknown (into the void I leap).
In this last section with the clean vocals, as his determination strengthens, the music gradually gives way to a more soothing feel and goes back to the 12-string and violin of the intro.
5. The Journey
And it’s time for the journey. The protagonist feels peaceful during his travels accompanied by the Night, knowing he will soon reach the place he can call home (not far too long, I’ll find my home).
The twist to the story is revealed during the piano section when the Night comes out while he is sleeping and tries to make him see the truth, that she is a formation of his subconscious and everything she has said to him comes from his own mind (my words were yours all along). She is part of him and she knows that his pursuit of happiness is something that will trouble him forever (your journey has no end).
She deeply cares about him, wants to help him but he is in deep sleep, unaware of the situation and all she can do at this point is drift away in mournful wailing, knowing what is to come.
It is a new beginning for the protagonist at the place where he just moved and stunned by its beauty, he’s elated, feeling he finally got what he deserved (reward fates have seen fit). He slowly begins to notice though that things are a little familiar, awakening all the troublesome notions of his past (affliction behind strange emotion).
As he struggles to comprehend the antithesis between the excitement and gloominess he experiences (if only authorised words could even describe), he becomes overwhelmed by the same emotions of incompleteness he had before (heading to familiar ground).
After the melancholy of the clean section, he tries to grab on to the positive aspects of the circumstances and just enjoy being alive (in the mere fact of existence…), but he is very quickly overtaken by despair, convinced now that he is led to where he started in the very beginning (tension of the same beginning), to the same uncertainty and unease, and inevitably regretting his decision (in the midst of remorse).
And he blames the Night.
Furious at the Night, he feels betrayed and accuses her of maliciously taking advantage of his vulnerability (deceiver of the broken). Enraged, he cannot control himself (will no longer obeys) and calls out to her, demanding an explanation (face me, I come undone). His mind is racing, unable to understand why she plotted against him so spitefully (a race of reasons).
Fast paced riffs, odd time signatures, intense growling and a chaotic guitar solo demonstrate his anger and instability, which gradually start to subside in the instrumental section until he surrenders to his sorrow (oh Night…).
8. Washed by the Waves
Utterly desolate, he speaks to the Night, asking her to open her arms yet again and comfort him (drape me when I feel so weak). He finally sees the truth, a truth he is not accustomed to and it is looking back at him with contempt, having been in front of him all along (unused truth lies disdainfully). His dreams of finding true contentment were crushed (abandoned flickers of a wish) and he feels that the progress he made, achieved nothing (washed away by the waves).
The Night has not made an appearance since the Journey; perhaps the protagonist didn’t feel the need to seek her out when his life took a positive turn. But he knows she can hear him now as he realises she was the voice in his head all along (I now understand).
And she shows herself once more, repeating the words she said in the Journey and this time, he listens and he’s eventually left with the same perplexing thoughts he had at the beginning (how do I find…).
There is a connection with the Calling here, not just lyrically, but musically as well with the outro being a slightly different arrangement of the same chords as the chorus in the Calling. But much, much darker, as he is caught in a whirlpool of devastation.
This was an in-depth analysis of the concept album ‘Night’. I love reading lyrics and trying to understand the meaning behind them, especially when it comes to concept albums and sometimes, something just clicks and I’m hooked. A good example of such a case is ‘Vessels’ by Be’lakor – the way the story makes a full cycle and concludes to the last song ‘The Smoke of Many Fires’ is just mind-blowing – pure poetry, accompanied by music perfectly arranged to tell it. You can read a very good analysis of Vessels by Dominik Jarco here.
That’s why I thought it would be useful to explain the story behind ‘Night’. Listening to music is such a subjective experience and everyone interprets lyrics in different ways so I’m hoping this have added to the experience and helped people understand a little bit more about the meaning of this concept album.