When I wrote 'Oh my love', it was a solo piano song. The song was very loaded, lyricwise (more about that later) and it needed some more melodies other than the piano and lead vocal to ‘clear the air’.
On the first demo I recorded of it, I kind of set the tone (oooh, I love how that metaphore fits here…).
I added an acoustic guitar and the backing vocal tracks. For the bridge I chose a keyboard sound that sparkled a little more, but the weary chords kind of balanced the sparkles and the heavy mood. Yes, Dminor (the ground chord in the bridge) is by far one of the weariest chords in the book, in my opinion at least.
As the song builds up towards the last verse and chorus, I knew it would need the backup of drums and bass. So that’s what we did in the studio. We recorded the song as an acoustic 'powerballad' in which there would and could not be a single electric guitar. Because I felt that would have been too much. It’s a thin line between a powerballad and a Scorpions song, so I decided to stay far far away from that thin line…
(Don't get me wrong, there is a time and a place for 'The wind of change' but it wasn't on my record...)
The only real power in the outro comes mostly from the vocal parts anyway. And that’s just fine, as far as I’m concerned.
Now, the lyric.
It is in fact a very melancholic song. Not the most cheerful on the record. Actually one of the saddest songs I’ve ever written. I’ve doubted if I should tell you the true story behind this song, because it might take away the mystery. Many people might think this is a song based on a true story, something that happened in my own life maybe, or to someone I knew. It couldn’t be further from the truth.
As a songwriter, I get inspired by stories. Mostly things happening in my own life or in the lives of those close to me. But every so often I get inspired by things I read in newspapers or in books, or by things I hear on the radio or see on tv. This song is very heavily inspired by something I saw on television. In a fictional tvshow actually.
Yes, it’s true. I’m television lover. I love television series. I love criminal shows, I love science fiction, I love political series, I love medical shows. And though it may not be considered ‘cool’ by some musicians to openly admit to my love for popular tv culture, I really don’t care. I love it! (in an Icona Pop kind of way :-))
This song in particular was inspired by a story line in the ever so popular ‘Grey’s Anatomy’, the medical drama that the world (including me) cannot seem to get enough of. You can give me some McDreamy, McSteamy (may their perfect haircuts rest in peace in tv-heaven), Twisted Sisters, Calzona, Jolex or Japril any day of the week.
For all you Grey’s lovers out there, the Calzona-aircrash-aftermath was the direct inspiration for this song. For the 'I don't know what you're referring to' - people out there. Two lovers are almost literally ripped apart by the devastating greatness of what they have experienced, an air crash. Of course I kind of went my own way with it whilst writing the words. I didn’t want to be too exact. I never am in songs, I take a story and then I run away with it and make it my own. Sometimes that also creates some distance when lyrics are a bit more personal. And remaining vague also takes away some banality.
As you read the lyric, you may get the impression that it is a dialogue. And it kind of is, in a way. Both sides of the story are told, although maybe not completely or exhaustively. I deliberately did not specify who says what nor did I use any punctuation because you would get a duet-feeling, and I didn’t want that.
It’s also not important which words are said out loud by which character in the story and which ones are only in the mind. It’s only in the outro that the two voices come together.
'Oh my Love' is a song about something so big, so traumatising, so heavy on the heart that it’s almost impossible to keep the love alive, to survive as a couple. Towards the end, one of the characters still has hope, and almost begs for the other to not leave yet. To keep trying. To not give up the fight.
And that’s where the song ends. The answer of the other character is not revealed. In the tv show it is, but by the end of the song, I do feel like it’s not about those specific characters anymore. They became someone else. Who’s to say how or when the songcharacters’ story end? Nobody knows where they might end up... (;-)
Marjan Debaene: Lead and backing vocals, piano and keyboards, percussion
Alex Brackx: Acoustic guitar
Bert Embrechts: Fretless bass guitar
Eric Bosteels: Drums