‘Down Here‘ by John Grant, from Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, kicks in with a rolling paced drum beat and guitars reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac, but the effect when combined with Grant’s distinctive rich beautiful masculine vocals is something else entirely. There’s also his jazzy electro synths and saxophone riffing away throughout including a sax solo.
The video, depicting a man who dreams of being a synchronised swimmer is released within a week of New Scientist declaring that there is no such thing as male or female in terms of brains and it’s all just socialisation. I’m sure scientific studies will come up with new theories in time, but right now, this week this is where the science is up to. So it’s rather fitting that the man in the video is on a quest to defy gender restrictions, making us question their legitimacy in restricting people to prescribed roles and destinies in the first place.
Lyrically it’s a song about achieving or trying to achieve a longed for dream. It’s existential. It’s reminding us to question our tendency to care so much about what others think. It’s about mortality. It’s urging us to stop caring what others will say and live our lives because our time here is limited. I wonder if this is a theme that plays on Grant’s mind a lot given his HIV diagnosis. It’s a reflection of his bravery that he can be philosophical in the face
of his own mortality.