With the prevalence of information in the modern age, it’s easier now more than ever to discover you aren’t in agreement with how things are run. Whether it’s something small and local or large and global, thanks to the internet, we are able to see things from different perspectives all around the world. While this could be seen as a positive, as it can ultimately help people better themselves and become more educated, it could also be seen as a negative. While this abundance of information might cause you to strive for change, it can also show how little change is happening, and discourage many people from getting involved in the first place. This song, “English Morning” by Kowloon, shows us someone craving change while simultaneously putting themselves down for not getting involved enough.
Out of the gate, we are hit with a groove reminiscent of something by Wings. A four-on-the-floor drumbeat sets the base for a piano, which is drenched in various effects, as well as an interesting bass line. On top of this, a guitar, which is low in the mix, accents the chord changes and helps add some space to the track. Without wasting any time after the intro, Kowloon begins singing in a laid-back style, almost falling straight into the groove of the song. With lyrics such as, “This English morning / This English dawning / That I’m up against,” as well as, “This constant burning / Yet I’m on the fence / I’m always changing / Rearranging to another man,” the theme of the song becomes apparent.
Kowloon describes himself as someone who is going through changes on a personal level while still being held up to a standard he doesn’t agree with due to where he is from. Despite this, he recognizes his flaws in saying, “But do I take a stand? / No.” Realizing that this is an uphill battle, he continues this sentiment into the chorus, “And when your back’s against the wall / Well, endless screaming’s the only thing that makes sense at all.” At times it can be incredibly easy to become overwhelmed with everything going on around you, especially when you feel like no matter what you say or do, nothing is going to change. This internal back and forth struggle is given a persona, “My madman’s raving his stark mad wailings / At my brand new man.” Perhaps it would be easier to listen to his “madman,” but he knows that he has to stay true to this new man he has become.
After another chorus, we enter the bridge which introduces a new sound to the song for a moment before returning to the groove we are used to. With added synthesizers and various noises, Kowloon continues the lyrics of the chorus with a few added lines, “And when your back’s against the wall / I couldn’t save anything / Is there anything above? / Is there anything but love?” He wonders if, despite his inability to save what he believes in, there might be more to everything around him. Perhaps this realization is what can help anchor him through his disorienting world and continue him on his path to changing. Before the final chorus, we are treated to a short yet delightful instrumental section which includes a haunting solo.
Ending the song, Kowloon shows how despite his progress, he still feels lost. Right before an abrupt ending, he asks, “Is there a pattern to understand? / Is there a lantern to hold in hand? / Is there a ladder to climb above?” Asking these questions demonstrates that, despite being lost, he is still willing to push forward and ask questions. Hopefully, by seeking out the answers to these questions, he will be able to achieve what he set out to.
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