I’m pretty sure that if you divided all the lyrics in the world of pop music up into two groups, one being sad songs about heartbreak and loss and the other being songs about feeling content and happy, the sad would be in the majority - artists being (or at least liking to think they are) tortured and tormented souls. There’s nothing better than a good song of anguish, hopelessness or grief to show just how deep you are as a person and to connect to the world. On the flip side, in the same way that it’s very rare for comedies to be nominated for an Oscar, singing about happiness is unlikely to get you taken seriously, especially by the critics.
However, on The Doldrums, the first song to be taken from Georgia Ruth’s forthcoming second album Fossil Scale, the follow up to the beautiful Week of Pines, (one of my favourite records of 2013), Georgia manages to take the idea of contentment and turns it into something of serious merit. The concept of the song came about from Georgia viewing a calm stretch of water, that despite its beauty possessed a stillness that felt ominous. She related it to her own life – the sometimes disconcerting placidity of being happy. The doldrums, from which the song takes its name is a sea-state of mild inactivity and stagnation caused by low pressure and this feature of non-movement is also reported to also feel unnerving.
There’s a sense of composure and beautiful romantic calm not only in Georgia’s ideas and thoughts but the music as well, and despite the absence of her previous instrument of choice, the harp, her voice remains as wonderfully hypnotic as ever. If The Doldrums is representative of the quality of her forthcoming second album (due in October) then that will surely be a collection to be treasured.
Georgia Ruth - The Doldrums