Two Weeks with Jahméne Douglas’ U.P – Day Three



Here we are at day three already! Already my own mindset is beginning to change in relation to this blog.  I have made a commitment to blog every day for the next two weeks and the more I listen to Jahméne’s opus Unfathomable Phantasmagoria the more my take on it changes, the more I find myself needing to maintain the discipline of writing, the more my experience of the songs themselves shift and interestingly the more I look forward to blogging about this work.  There are some songs I really look forward to writing about.

Yesterday I blogged about Love.  In the blog I expressed how Love is a really interesting song.  For me the message of this song is simply that you can’t choose who you fall in love with.  To that I would add that if this is the case (as I would argue it is) then it means each of us is to have a greater respect and love for each other as we are all on the same journey.  This promotes a greater sense of tolerance and acceptance in our society.  This is beautifully expressed in Love.  The subject of yesterday was therefore Exploring – navigating unchartered waters.  Today’s entry is Catch the Rhythm.  This has been given the subject heading Dancing.

Third Day: Catch the Rhythm – Dancing

The first thing I should point out about Catch the Rhythm is that this is the first track on U.P to have a writing credit from Jahméne himself.  Now I don’t know about the immense work that goes into writing an album from scratch however I am aware that this album was some three years in the making.  I can appreciate this as my own work was some two years in the writing.  To achieve this is absolutely immense and if the work is to be successful it will be necessary for the artist to pour their entire heart and soul into the project.  I think Jahméne has achieved this admirably.  Catch the Rhythm therefore is an incredibly important piece of music as it really sets the tone for what Jahméne’s writings are going to contain.

I have already said that I do not think it is fair to compare Jahméne with other artists as he is an artist in his own right and really quite honestly transcends comparison.  I believe it will be very interesting to chart his progress.  We know his vocal ability is absolutely unbelievable…unfathomable nearly!  However this album is our first opportunity to see what he is really capable of as a writer (although Love Never Fails included a beautiful poem of his in the sleeve notes) and this is first laid down with Catch the Rhythm.

Much like yesterday’s entry the song has my attention from the very beginning.  If we chart the relationship contained in the album we have established that the artist has become Aware of love, they then begin to Explore whether or not what they feel is in fact love.  They have given in to this love and now see that they, “(You) dove into doubtful depths, you swam and made your ripple.  Struggling to make it back, watch them start to triple.”

As I said, when we engage with this our whole life is irrevocably changed and nothing is the same.  As Jahméne continues, “You’ve disturbed the natural flow, disrupt the drips of rhythm.  Now the sun has bounced it’s glow, you’re creeping in the shadow.”  What a beautiful way to express this experience: disturbing the natural flow.

This is an immensely positive song which speaks of picking up things which have gone before and to live your life to the full.  We also see that we do not need to do this on our own and that there will be those around who will help us in this resolve.  These are the people we really need to stay close to.  At this point I am reminded of the great relationship shared by Jahméne and his mother Mandy Thomas.  This is an incredibly life affirming song which reminds us that in those times of uncertainty and worry there is something we can hold on to; faith, hope, love, family, friends…the challenge the song poses to the listener is to find what it is in their life they can hold on.

“I’ll build from faith a floating hope you’d possibly hold on to.  When you reach the edge of choice which one will you run to?”  This is magnificent poetry.  The song reflected in these words is incredibly upbeat and has some wonderful elements of rhythm and blues.  When you consider the incredible production which has gone into this song alone you see bass guitars, keyboards, drums, percussion instruments, an absolutely stellar brass ensemble and string performance.  This is a very full song which is complemented beautifully by Jahméne’s unparalleled voice.

When you hear a song as affirming and uplifting as this how can you not help but dance!  I’ve nearly lost focus while driving a few times while listening to this song already!

As we journey through life, as we experience the immediacy of love in our lives we have so many opportunities to catch the rhythm and dance.  Love is established and the power of this love will be portrayed in tomorrow’s blog on the next track of the album; Tornado which I have given the subject heading of Possibility.

Happy Friday everyone.  It’s the weekend, go catch the rhythm!

Dom x


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