Tranquility

Album: Fresh Blood (2015)

Songfacts®:

  • This orchestral track is a serene, emotional homage to the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and his tragic death from a drug overdose. White told NME: "I don't think there's been a celebrity death that's affected me more in my lifetime than his. I took it to heart. I don't remember being sad like that for a celebrity or public figure dying in my life."
  • White released the song on February 2, 2015, marking the first anniversary of Hoffman's death. He said: "A year ago today we lost Phillip Seymour Hoffman. I didn't know Phillip, but I had watched everything he did for 15 years. To me, he was everything one could ever want to be in an artist, and although I am no actor I was much more of a student than a fan."

    "Very soon after his death it became crystal clear to me that I wanted to try very hard and write a song for him. He deserved something from me, something that honored him, and showed how grateful I was for all he had given. His death was immensely sad and as deaths such as these go, leaves us crushed that a life so bright has been dimmed. There is a duality in these circumstances, it's a place where we find darkness in the light, but more powerfully, we find light in the darkness. I tried to find music that felt the same. It's my best shot, and it's called 'Tranquility.'"
  • American actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (July 23, 1967 – February 2, 2014) was best known for his supporting and character roles, particularly his portrayal of the author Truman Capote in the 2005 movie Capote, for which he won multiple accolades including the Academy Award for Best Actor.

    As this is a music website we should note Hoffman's roles in the film Almost Famous, when he played the Rolling Stone journalist Lester Bangs and the 2009 British flick Pirate Radio where he portrayed a brash American DJ, "The Count", who was supposedly based on Radio Caroline's Emperor Rosko.
  • White told The Sun that he was drawn to the "eternal nature of making art versus the really human fallibility of not being able to keep a needle out of your arm. It such a weird fight between those two things."

    Duality is a key point of this song, White added. "What is tranquillity?" he said. "It could be the effect of the drug. The production is so hazy and spaced out that it could be someone saying,'I need to do this addiction. It's the only time I feel. Or it could be an outside narrator saying, 'I don't want any part of drugs. Rid my life of them.'"

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Julian Lennon

Julian LennonSongwriter Interviews

Julian tells the stories behind his hits "Valotte" and "Too Late for Goodbyes," and fills us in on his many non-musical pursuits. Also: what MTV meant to his career.

Mike Love of The Beach Boys

Mike Love of The Beach BoysSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer/lyricist of The Beach Boys talks about coming up with the words for "Good Vibrations," "Fun, Fun, Fun," "Kokomo" and other classic songs.

Roger McGuinn of The Byrds

Roger McGuinn of The ByrdsSongwriter Interviews

Roger reveals the songwriting formula Clive Davis told him, and if "Eight Miles High" is really about drugs.

Charlie Daniels

Charlie DanielsSongwriter Interviews

Charlie discusses the songs that made him a Southern Rock icon, and settles the Devil vs. Johnny argument once and for all.

Martin Page

Martin PageSongwriter Interviews

With Bernie Taupin, Martin co-wrote the #1 hits "We Built This City" and "These Dreams." After writing the Pretty Woman song for Go West, he had his own hit with "In the House of Stone and Light."

Alice Cooper

Alice CooperFact or Fiction

How well do you know this shock-rock harbinger who's been publicly executed hundreds of times?