23 Jul 2024

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Torn Chorus - Single/Video Review: Time I Wasn't Here

22 May 2023 // A review by Nicholas Clark
Torn Chorus’ latest single Time I Wasn't Here is a mid-tempo rocker that is a pleasant, country tinged song with a not so hidden meaning. The act is a one man band, Franklin Davis, who plays all the instruments and performs all the vocals capably in a no-nonsense approach. The mix here is sensible, balanced and professional, displaying all the instruments in an ordered concoction ready for radio consumption. The song begins with cowbell followed by the kind of rhythm track The Shadows would have approved while a tasteful Joe Walsh style lead plays atop to introduce the verse.

Neatly performed dual vocals start the verse with Davis’ gravely but clearly delivered baritone. He begins with: “I’m shaking, never felt this way before, I’m sinking, my knee is on the floor” which makes the listener think of love songs where such sentiments could be interpreted as an expression of longing or unrequited love. But the frustration is absent; the voice sounds resigned and accepting of its fate.

“Please don’t shed a tear, ‘Cause it's time I wasn’t here, See me disappear...”

It’s clear to me this song is about Davis’ coming to terms with his own mortality, or if not this exactly, then the brevity of all life. The melody is minor, but not too dramatic. It appears to be a song of acceptance. However, according to the bio accompanying the song, it is written about the frustrations of the pandemic lockdowns so I could be interpreting this totally incorrectly. However, the song continues: “It’s clear now, the writings on the wall... I know that, I did the best I could, So please don’t let me be misunderstood...”, which leads me to think it really could be a personal rather than a universal experience.

The lyrics are a little repetitive and predictive, but it all makes for a dulcet ride across the song structure. The tones of the leads fit nicely over the rhythm tracks, leaving room for a small bass solo of sorts towards the end.

Altogether, the song at face level may not be all that profound but when considering the weight of the subject (if I am correct), the song takes on a quiet and dignified intensity.

Davis’ here performs with polished control throughout, ensuring the listener early on that they will be cared for on this journey. It's a nice song, clearly sung. What more could you want?

The video is comprised of vintage films and shows, interspersed with stock footage to give greater clarity to the lyrics. These clips are interrupted by Davis’ performing with a Fender bass, a Rickenbacker and a Les Paul (used for leads) in front of a green screen, or singing at the beach. There’s a few effects used that are perhaps unnecessary, but it keeps things moving and interesting for the viewer.

The most notable clip, apart from perhaps animated Superman, is the infamous scene from Dr. Strangelove by Stanley Kubrick where Kong the Cowboy rides a nuclear warhead from a plane. This shot ends the video and becomes a still frame, which if anything solidifies my first concept that the song really is about Davis not being here in the near future.

It’s a striking visual reference perhaps emoting reserved, latent fears into a joyful abandonment.

Rating: ( 3 / 5 )

About Torn Chorus

Torn Chorus is the performing name of Franklin Davis, a songwriter, musician and photographer, based in the suburb of Mt Albert in Auckland, New Zealand.

Franklin plays acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar and keyboards and he writes, records and engineers his own music.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Torn Chorus


The Meaning of Light
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Wake Up Call
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Lockdown Trilogy
Year: 2020
Type: EP

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