Two Weeks With Jahméne Douglas’ U.P – Day Seven



Last night as Hallowe’en drew to a close I found time to make the latest posting for the blog.  In it I looked at Get it Right which was given the theme of Hope.  In the blog I expressed how I find this to be a truly remarkable song.  It gives the appearance of being upbeat and fun and yet when we scratch the surface we see an altogether different reality based on the lyrics of the song.  They speak of someone who is suffering in some way or another.  It tells the story of someone who has reached a low point in their life and finds hope through another.  The one who was suffering makes a cry that this time they will in fact, get it right.

This song is one I found remarkably poignant as I know all too well how it can feel to put up a front as though everything is going well and is fine.  Yet when the surface is scratched an altogether different reality appears.  Therefore in the blog yesterday I told of my own experience of suffering in the past with depression.  Depression is a terribly cruel malady which twists and distorts the one who suffer’s perspective of the world to the point where they feel it is their fault.  Ultimately though, depression is remarkably limited.  Ideals such as hope, faith, love, strength and all the good things we have been discussing over the course of this week are limitless.  They will always trump depression.  For this to be achieved however we must be Honest with ourselves.  For this reason, Honesty will be the theme of today’s posting which looks at the next track; Is This The Time?

Is This The Time? – Honesty

As I said at the very beginning it is at this stage where I feel Unfathomable Phantasmagoria really comes into it’s own and moves into a totally different class altogether.  I have also maintained and continue to do so, that after listening to this album it is clear that Jahméne transcends comparison to other artists.  So what is so special about this stage of the album?

Do not fret dear reader I have not missed out on something! I know I have not yet dealt with the reading from Saint Paul’s letter to the Galatians which is delivered masterfully by Samuel L Jackson once more.  The beginning of this track is one of my absolute favourite moments on U.P as we are quite frankly treated to one of the most evocative vocal arrangements on display.  For some thirty seconds Jahméne provides a tremendously haunting backing vocal which moves so gracefully and effortlessly through the spirit, almost as though the artist is allowing the Spirit to move gracefully and effortlessly through them.  It is powerful stuff and something I just find remarkably moving.  The reading as given on the album goes as follows:

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.  Against such things there is no law.”

Everything is fine thus far.  However when I go to a different translation of the Bible (namely the New Jerusalem translation) the reading goes as follows:

“On the other hand the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control; no law can touch such things as these.”

I am not saying one translation is better than another.  The interesting thing for me here are the four words at the beginning; “On the other hand…” These words suggest that before now something altogether different had been discussed, namely the desires and passions of self indulgence.  Not of the Spirit.  I see that while Jahméne has been singing about positive expressions of Love thus far the moments he will sing of for the remainder of the album will be more focussed on those that come from the Spirit.

It reminds me of one of my favourite songs, The Streets of Derry as performed by the remarkable Cara Dillon and Paul Brady which begins with the following lyrics: “After the morning there comes an evening and after the evening another day.  And after a false love there comes a true love, I’d have you listen now to what I say…”  The next part of the album will, as I read anyway, be concerned with love of the truest nature.

Once the beautiful reading has concluded we move into Is This The Time? with Jahméne continuing the remarkable backing vocal  which frankly I really can’t get enough of it!  Were I to hear this song live I should like to think the backing vocal would continue for some minutes alone! We can but dream…  Truly this song is one which speaks of the artist needing to honest with themselves.  It is a song which speaks of the need to be true to yourself and true to those around you.  I think this is a particularly apt way for this album to stand out and for Jahméne to stand alone.  In a world such as the one we live in we are constantly being assailed with advertisements as to how we can best conform to the world around us.  We see it everywhere.  Now more than ever is the need to be yourself in a world that tries to make you like everyone else.  This is something Jahméne will know better than anyone.

There are so many expressions of love that this track can be singing about.  It could be about being honest in relation to our art, in relation to our faith, or in relation to our relationships with others.  One of my own roles in my life involves going into post primary schools and speaking with students about issues of faith.  One of my talks involves speaking about Relationships of JOY.  These are all to do with our relationship with Jesus, Others and Yourself.  Jesus first, others second, yourself last.  In authentic relationships we will find true joy.

When we have found an authentic relationship and are completely honest with ourselves we will begin to experience “How love should really feel” and we are able to be “The best that we (I) can be.”

Jahméne really hits the nail on the head with this song and is a remarkable statement which says “Here I am”.  As he beautifully expresses in this song we can truly rise up.  This will also require Humility.  Therefore in tomorrow’s blog we move on to the song Just Look Up which will be given the theme of Humility.  At this stage I would like to express my sincerest thanks to all those who have been following this blog and supporting it.  Please continue to do so as I believe the remaining postings are looking really rather interesting.  Let’s keep sharing the word of Unfathomable Phantasmagoria and touch more hearts and minds.

Love to everyone

Dom x




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