There really is nothing like the sounds of Africa… particularly African rhythm: that lilted 4/4 which most of us wit ous know through the likes of Johnny Clegg.
Yes, he was a big musical influence on this song… rhythmically it was Spirit of the Great Heart and musically it was also Scatterlings of Africa. I thought we only just started to tap into the sound that I wanted, but in the end I still like how this song sounds on the album.
I had written a number of slow songs, and was starting to panic, thinking I was bordering on morbidity. So the reflex was to write something stupidly happy, something different to everything else but in line with the atmosphere of the Better Days album.
For those stalwart supporters of the RCB who are familiar with our previous album, the riff in the bridge is the same as the one in the chorus of Better Days. This wasn’t initially planned, but when we got into the studio and Jon was recording his keyboard parts I suggested he try put it in. It sounded good, fitted and I liked how the deeper meaning of the lyrics of this song complimented the lyrics of Better Days:
“Tomorrow will bring with it the sun’s rays and I know we’re headed for better days” – Better Days
“There’s a burning in my soul and a fire in my veins, hope for the horizon and freedom from the chains” – Alive
This is a style I would like to engage in further, because some of the guitar riffs were completely new to me, thanks to our recording engineer Marlon Hemmero, who introduced me to some of the styles of maskande and afro-jazz.
Given the song’s African feel, it intuitively felt like a good one to release as the download freebie, and the response and feedback was greatest amongst the SA expats. Two of them said the song made them want to jump on a plane and come back home to SA immediately… which, in my mind, meant that lyrically and musically, this song was a case of mission accomplished.