A Song a Day: Before I Sleep – Crawling on Hands and Knees Through the Fire

On a purely personal note, ‘Before I Sleep’ is my most treasured track from VENUS’, Joy Williams’ new release. It is the only song I have found myself singing in those quiet and solitary moments, which we all experience during our day. This particular line;

“I carry my body across the frozen ground/ While the moon burns bright and the fire fades out.”

I have been carrying with me since I first the heard the album all those months ago, and it has never quite left me. That in itself gives credence to Joy’s gift with words and storytelling.

Credit: Chuck D Willis

‘Before I Sleep’ is the rougher and wilder musical twin to ‘Until the Levee’; think messy hair, wild eyes, and dirt and blood under the fingernails. Like it’s twin, this track is rich in imagery, lyrics, style and story; and conveys the same mood. There are infinite layers to this song, that you find yourself twisting and turning it over in your mind; breaking bits apart and finding new meaning where there wasn’t any before.

In terms of genre, the song is a mix of Americana and gothic folk but also heavily steeped in electronic dance music. The style, imagery and mood share the sensibilities of The Civil Wars second offering but the production is heavier, with acoustic guitar being replaced with thumping beats, grinding synths and atmospheric backing vocals. Giving the listener the sensation of swift but desperate movement akin to crawling on hands and knees to the other side. All of which builds towards the lyrical and musical crescendo of strength and freedom, albeit messy and imperfect.

“Till the dark gives way to dawn/ Till the winter can’t hold on/ I will crawl till I can walk, till I run.”

‘Before I Sleep’ – written by Joy Williams, Paul Moak & Tom Douglas

produced by Matt Morris, Daniel James & Charlie Peacock

mixed by Mike “Spike” Stent & mastered by Ted Jensen

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