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Stereo Embers’ TRACK OF THE DAY: Del Amitri’s “It’s Feelings”

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The poet E.E. Cummings told us back in 1926 that feeling is first. The conceit of his poem is pretty straightforward: the heart should pay very little attention to the brain because what you feel is far more comprehensive than what you think.

That said, our hearts will almost always lead us into some fairly wild waters and very often those waters will threaten to hold us down so long we’re certain we won’t make it out alive.

Del Amitri’s new single “It’s Feelings” updates Cummings’ message by adding that almost drowning is always worth it.

The second single from the band’s upcoming long player Fatal Mistakes—their first in nearly 20 years—finds the Scottish outfit in top form. Singer Justin Currie’s smooth delivery rolls with wisdom and grace as he grapples with the concept that feelings lead us to both our failures and our rewards and to avoid them would be tempting but probably foolish. After all, what’s a life without its suckerpunches and its riches? As we all know, that would be no life at all because without the contrast of highs and lows, darkness and light, it would all be one steady blur of big nothing.

Currie opens the number by declaring: All the raindrops in the air/Come make a river through my hair/Come down and drown me/I don’t care/’Cause it’s feelings/That cut you/It’s feelings
I can’t bear…”

Of course Currie knows that feeling is first—he’s not wrestling with that; in  “…trying to make some sense of why you can’t see straight,” he’s addressing what comes next. In other words, what comes after.  Feeling gets top billing, sure, but what are we supposed to do with all that stuff once we feel it? You climb to the mountain and then you climb back down. You paddle out into the surf and then you paddle back in to the shore. But feeling comes with no instructive linear loop—you feel things and they bring you to your knees and there’s no timeline for when you get to stand back up.

So what do we do?

Well, you know the answer to that. Either you’re in or you’re out. And a word of caution: if you’re out, you’re WAY out. Like The Beast in the Jungle out. As Henry James wrote: “It wouldn’t have been a failure to be bankrupt, dishonoured, pilloried, hanged; it was failure not to be anything.”

An equal failure is to feel nothing.

As Currie says: “It’s feelings/That put you there/All the sickness, all the bruises/All the shit that no one chooses/Bring it on in its disguises/I’ll take the knockouts with the prizes…”

Speaking of knockouts, this song is one of them. A sonorous, breezy and decidedly catchy number, Del Amitri are not only back, they’re heavy contenders for the #1 slot when Fatal Mistakes hits in May.

And trust me: it’s going to hit hard.

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