Connected By Dots
After releasing Last Train to Wonderland, I reflected on what I'd written. It seemed like a collection of songs providing new beginnings and yet, there was something stark about it, something relating to a slight hint of dispair dressed as real necessity of change. There was nothing in my own life leading to that feeling, no bitter resentment or harder edge providing fuel for whatever seemed to be slow burning inside the album. All of the sudden, it struck me that it wasn't something inside me but outside: my friends were experiencing unemployment lines, my family was feeding me with stories of petty theft, and the sensationalist newscasts were playing the same stories as serious providers. Something was slow burning within our society, yet I couldn't see nothing good coming out on the other end. When I started writing a new album, I did what I always do - which is travelling the old notebooks for songs that may be used or lines that I can build on. I had two ideas I wanted to develop. One was the concept for the song Connected by Dots, the other was the concept for New Year's Resolution #9. I knew there was a link between them, but only later realised that what connects them tightly is hope despite of doubt. Elected president Barack Obama provided a fresh perspective, and the rebirth of the American Dream after a grim period of doubt. Answers to the cloudy social outcry will determine the success of Mr. Obama's presidency, but nevertheless, we are living strange times marked by the blurry line of hope tied to bewilderment of a seriously ill financial model. In Portugal the problems raise a notch to dangerous levels as long running structural problems must be met with the caution that an uncontrolled unemployment rate may deflect resolutions to a deeper shade of instability. Adoption of a complete liberalized workforce marketplace before streamlining the piramidal structure of small companies providing for larger ones, made the political situation a mess that even majority political stability cannot endure. The structural problems are bound to be left unresolved as elections approach, leaving the country in a state of lateness to act as compared to leading countries in the EU and the USA. Violent outbursts are yet to find mainstream recognition as real harm in an increasing unhappy and unrealized society, but police actions are promptly recognized and deemed as unfit. The engrossing divide between people, and governing and order agents is becoming increasingly dangerous. The gunpowder is pilling up and what happens next is yet to be determined. Truth or not, the collective perception is that people with the money are getting richer, working classes are getting poorer. For the first time in Portuguese history, a common perception of public investment versus structural development is cementing. The current government started in office by promoting the latter but it's gradually moving towards the first motivated by a rapid yet fast-food-type answer to raising unemployment. In the end, the tendency is for everyone to feel hungry, reckoning unsolved structural problems while immersed in higher public debt. I am not a supporter of the current government nor am I a bloodthirsty detractor either. I reckon there are things to be done being left aside for electoral reasons in a tricky and fast moving social climate. Either we do it now at risk of being already too late, or we are bound, as a country, to endure a very long and painful era of problems too complex to be predicted. Connected by Dots, the album, is my attempt at making sense of what matters in our own lives and how we can bring our own personal experiences to a collective aura of change. It's more than a followup of Last Train to Wonderland, it's the endpoint of my concerns about the future by looking at the past, and a starting point for further considerations I'm expecting to put on record later this year. The last song, Dead Hand of the Past, speaks specifically about "the carnation solution for your revolution", a reference to my home country. It ends, I believe, appropriately with the last line sung on the record questioning: "oh, when will you protest".