Routine

Album: Hand. Cannot. Erase. (2015)

Songfacts®:

  • Running 8:58, this song tells the heart-rending story of a woman who has lost her family. With the house now empty, she finds solace in the routine chores that keep her occupied - she even cooks meals for the people who are no longer there. In our interview with Steven Wilson, he explained: "We don't all suffer that kind of loss in our lives, but I think we all have to an extent where we use routine - the daily grind, the Groundhog Day thing, if you'd like - to sometimes ignore the bigger questions. 'What am I doing in my life? Am I happy? Am I happy at my job? Am I happy in my relationship? Is my life going where I want it to go?'"

    The Porcupine Tree frontman added: "I'm no exception to that, so I have times where I also question, and I need to force myself to question those things, rather than just going through the everyday motions. So I suspect the idea came from a personal perspective. But at some point, it developed into this story of this very tragic figure - this housewife using her routine to ignore something that was almost too difficult for her to confront and to bear."
  • The Israeli singer Ninet Tayeb did the female vocals on this one.
  • The video was directed by Jess Cope and made using stop-action animation. In the visual, we learn that the woman lost her husband and two sons in a school shooting. Wilson played the video on his Hand. Cannot. Erase. tour before releasing it online. Cope also did videos for Wilson's songs "Drive Home" and "The Raven that Refused to Sing."
  • The Hand. Cannot. Erase. album is based on a concept Wilson developed after seeing a news story about Joyce Carol Vincent, a British woman who was dead for two years before anyone noticed. This song fits the theme of a person living on the periphery.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Billy Gould of Faith No MoreSongwriter Interviews

Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, chats to us about his two new experimental projects, The Talking Book and House of Hayduk, and also shares some stories from the FNM days.

Hawksley WorkmanSongwriter Interviews

One of Canada's most popular and eclectic performers, Hawksley tells stories about his oldest songs, his plentiful side projects, and the ways that he keeps his songwriting fresh.

Janis Ian: Married in London, but not in New YorkSong Writing

Can you be married in one country but not another? Only if you're part of a gay couple. One of the first famous singers to come out as a lesbian, Janis wrote a song about it.

Glen Phillips of Toad the Wet SprocketSongwriter Interviews

The "All I Want" singer went through a long depression, playing some shows when he didn't want to be alive.

Michael FrantiSongwriter Interviews

Franti tells the story behind his hit "Say Hey (I Love You)" and explains why yoga is an integral part of his lifestyle and his Soulshine tour.

Pam TillisSongwriter Interviews

The country sweetheart opines about the demands of touring and talks about writing songs with her famous father.