The Charlatans' "Us and Us Only"

Released October 18, 1999

As potentially posited in her mind, “forever” had been commonly accessed in terms of a transcendent reality because of what had transmitted, it seemed, in terms of the common awareness of having been born again being somehow commonly experienced, beyond the confines of how it was even considered possible for a common perception to transmit at all. “Oh! I wonder what you people do with your lives! Once more, this will be forever!” – The invocation of repeating (that this had been resumed) implied restoration, resurrection, and resurrection in this form (past common tangible perception) invoked the potential of forever. This album was scarce on any tangible signifiers she could point to, and a holistic sum of its parts not readily plied or discussed. But significantly it invoked the affirmation and discovery of “I know my son we’ve made it, it can’t escape my mind” with the finding of a star, “I know my star is the brightest star, the brightest star, forever be in my arms”, obvious personification. I can help you realise, it's us and us only” -for her this was affirmation that the defining stage the rebirth had precipitated and allowed her to enter had indeed become the beginning of a collective definition of “us and us only”, i.e., the parameters were being defined by those who were expressing the transformation collectively, the rebirth expressed in common in their own respective terms had defined it in terms of holiness. “Now I know why you listen, I can help you anytime, love is all there is, I wonder what you people do with your lives” – it was by listening she facilitated the feedback loop, what enabled it to grow. Listening informed her perception; literally in a way that would shift and make it grow, refracted by the same self-perception forming in those who were part: My mind is multiplying, I have so much to give, I wouldn't underestimate you for the way you want to live, Forever!

As she’d felt stepping off the edge was the expression of an absolute faith, the collective reborn and defined by the act of belief, which had led to its being universally expressed, the transformation multiplying through many individuals she could observe, this from her perspective was literally true, an expression of the fundamental necessity of belief as validation in itself, and affirmation in the sense that once more, this advent in the awareness was not her sole experience, but one that was multiplying in the sense of being his own individual perception and experience as well. With affirmation on such a level in terms of the redemption and the universality defining itself, it will become plainly apparent how the advent of this album impacted her thinking in the present. A simplicity like “Good Witch, Bad Witch” expressed the basic background previously expressed of having arisen in the black and being from the wrong side of the tracks, but shifting into the positive as she’d expected.

“Impossible” possessed only this triad which caught the fundamental act that had transformed and in the same motion founded everything, while making her think and look further, dealing in the same brand of self-sufficiency she was being forced to arrive at by having no tangible personal response, while acknowledging what had been her over-arching purpose in coming in the first place: “I don't need you to need me to need my freedom, My freedom is a vision you seek, And the place you disappear to, is the place I wish to be”.

My Beautiful Friend” shifted the context to a feminine object who was being related to in a spiritual sense “forever live inside of me”, hailed as an angel, having arrived at this mutual companionship only through harrow and miraculous survival “I don’t know how we made it this far, dear, without losing at least an ear”, and who paradoxically was responded to as still needing to be saved, the method being the frieze the singer had the ability to create.

Senses (Angel on My Shoulder)” furthered the analogy of the connection being a spiritual one by expressing that she was an “angel on [his] shoulder” that had engendered a world in common between them (“Your world is my saviour, It's all that I live for, And it's your world”), defined by what she had chosen to see, which was precisely how the awareness had recently evolved, by beginning definition and by choice.

And there was well expressed the paradox of how she’d defined the common awareness (“You're all I need, You and my philosophy”), and yet he was self-defining in it, completely a product of his own perception, and additionally aware of his position in this context as a messenger. “The Blind Stagger” was a veiled allusion to Christ’s parable of the blind leading the blind, which put the song in the context of demanding spiritual leadership and the insistence to be strong, as suffering individually was not unique. Interestingly it was this song (that invoked the sum repository of her spiritual leadership) that happened to depict exactly how he was appealing to her in the moment “Don’t you think your daddy needs you home right away?”, as her father was still sending letters demanding her return in the same vein as he’d exhorted before she’d even left. Also a line that seemed like utter nonsense (“you’ve been bitten by eleven hungry kittens”) happened to tie into this dream, which had happened on the same night as one of her dreams of strongest force and frightening import, that of the parabolic hive. If there was any signification in that linking taking place, what might be invoked in the query “who will go the whole distance” could prove strong indeed. And this context had the cap stone that the individual the singer was appealing to in this context was “invisible”, and again the future was being embraced positively, invoking the growth of the light, and rainbows.

Watching You” broadened the invocation of “us” to “all our friends” (who needed help too in their solitary struggles), asked for the declaration of the word, acknowledging the need for a mutual faith (on his part too), along with awareness of arriving at the beginning, and offered genuine comfort for the tears shed, past and present, in the present dearly needed. In closing was the acknowledgment of finally finding the person who’d been long sought, greeted with the final rejoinder “I don’t care where you live”, which easily conveyed not caring about her existing circumstances. She considered her existing circumstance the greatest obstacle extant, putting her beyond any possibility of ever being accepted, acknowledged or believed, something so steep and so shameful she’d autonomously vowed to never reveal anything at all. Besides which it had never been in starker extremity socio-economically than when she accepted working low end service jobs for miniscule pay in Ireland, capped off by the degradation of becoming a maid at The Clarence Hotel, so it couldn’t have been a much more comforting closure in the moment.

Her past, her condemnation on spiritual levels, was too much to even contemplate, for her capped off in this song by what could only come off as the steepest irony in invoking, directly, the connection to the secret by invoking whom it had all transpired with. Despite the past and his existing condemnation, there was insistence that “Daddy” still cared (this practically invoked eternity, as there was no way his perception of her would be reconciled in this lifetime unless it was superficial, a form of denial, nor would she be particularly inclined, but at the time this came out she’d not achieved enough distance, and found it to be a comfort to think he still cared). That had caused the void left by total social ostracism (doubled as her father had deliberately cultivated her to be ostracized in terms of “the world”, and then she’d been ostracized completely within his confines as well, and additionally bequeathed with a shameful past and uniqueness that made any reintegration back into ‘the world” nigh impossible). To become totally ostracized was the risk she’d deliberately took with no requisite return from the quarter she’d risked everything to affirm actually existed, and the void this left, her existing sense of isolation, the singer insisted was something he could help fill.

Paradoxically it was true, because this album could not have been more uplifting, at precisely the moment when the pain of having no response from where she’d sought it hurt her the very most. But it only did so precisely within the context she was trying so desperately to break out of; she didn’t want to be rendered isolated by existing entirely alone in the perception that it was in fact a reciprocity intended for her, a perception it was far too dangerous to share with anyone, and might disappear in a puff of smoke if she even addressed it to the artist himself, and had already been treated as a heresy by those she’d been closest to the entire sum of her life. She’d been branded a heretic within the confines of her own family, a risk she’d accepted in the effort to reach what she perceived as “the other side”, her deepest felt connection, only to have that side grant her nothing at all, nothing that permitted her to affirm the existence of a connection that in her context, was one she’d literally been threatened with the damnation of her soul for attempting to affirm at all.

But even steeper isolation lay in the risk of self-belief, retention on the inside. For without concrete proof the connection existed from “the other side” at some tangible point; if it did not exist somewhere in common with another person who was willing to state it, she would be shunted into the realm of personal delusion, whether she existed there deservedly or no. Just her own self-belief would put her worlds away from anyone, so steeply that even her own family would be bound to assume she was crazy. It carried the potential sentence, unconfirmed, of becoming the most profound isolation, one that if she embraced it delusively, would be entirely self-inflicted, a prospect she could never accept.

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