Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

Album: Near To The Wild Heart Of Life (2017)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is the opening track from the Japandroids third album, Near To The Wild Heart Of Life. The title comes from a passage in James Joyce's novel A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man:

    "He was alone. He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life."

    Vocalist Brian King explained to HMV.com: "This passage was the inspiration for the first song on the record, which had the working title 'Near To The Wild Heart Of Life' for many months. While I always intended to rename the song, maybe based on something from lyrics, we just got so used to the title that we ended up keeping it."

    "Partly that was as a nod to a source of inspiration, but also because it seemed to summarize the spirit of the song better than any particular phrase from the actual lyrics."
  • James Joyce's novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was originally serialized in The Egoist from 1914 to 1915, before being published by American publishing house B. W. Huebschis on December 29, 1916. This semi-autobiographical work established Joyce's reputation as a writer of genius. The book was a very strong influence on Irish singer-songwriter Hozier when writing the songs for his self-titled debut album, particularly the song "Angel Of Small Death And The Codeine Scene."
  • The song also acts as the album's title track. King explained: "Over time, we began to realize that Near To The Wild Heart Of Life also seemed to summarize the spirit of the whole record. Our only hang-up in naming the album the same thing was that we had planned for the song Near To The Wild Heart Of Life to be the first song on the record, and we questioned the optics of naming a record after its first song. But in the end, we just said f--k it!"
  • The album forms a loose narrative. Brian King explained to Uncut:

    "We put a lot of time and a lot of care picking the songs and the order they went in, and trying to tell a story. The songs and the sequencing kind of wrote themselves. (The title track) was always going to be #1. You've got this song about being at home, and chasing your dreams and leaving, then 'North East South West' is second, about what happens when you actually do that, and being in the world. It just makes f---ing sense!

    There's a sense of two very different lifestyles and ideas of how to live clashing on this record; the romantic life of being in a band and travelling, against being with someone you love and building a home, and being old enough to appreciate how important the little things are. There are a lot of different interpretations about what a really wild and romantic life actually means. The record is like being pushed and pulled back and forth, trying to pull the best out of both of those things."

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