“This is How it Feels to Be Alone”, recorded in Los Angeles’ Sunset Sound with top session musicians including Kenny Aronoff (drums), Warren Huart (guitar), Grant Fitzpatrick (bass) and Jason Keene (harmonica, gob iron), is a ‘mood song’ anchored by raw emotion and truth, rather than cute hooks or sleek production tricks. The opening scene illustrates a journey by train taking place amidst a setting sun in stark black and white animation, accompanied by a sparse electric guitar playing minor chords. Soon a soulful, chromatic harmonica is added, evoking a lonely Parisian-laced dreamscape as the listener is drawn to witness — or participate — in Loughman’s masterpiece of a journey.
Watch the video here [runtime 5:34]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TuRV6Z6uNyo
A wailing harmonica helps set the mood, sounding much like something you would hear on a solitary walk along the Seine: “This song always sounded Parisian to me,” says Loughman, who has lived in France. Various scenes in the video include iconic French cafes and even the Eiffel Tower, by which the subject drifts aimlessly amidst a romantic, would-be delightful backdrop. “Even in a paradise, loneliness can have the effect of tearing everything apart,” he says.
Train carriages and an hourglass are among the visual metaphors used in the video to connote the human journey and the inevitable passage of time. Towards the end of the video, the protagonist is awakened from his sleep by a train conductor just as Warren Huart launches into an emotionally searing Spanish guitar solo — begging the question “Was any of this real?” In one particularly moving seen, the protagonist is seen trapped inside an hourglass, slowly and helplessly succumbing to the sands of time.
Despite the song’s grappling with difficult themes of desolation, Loughman tends to have a more optimistic view on life — perhaps not unlike Candide himself: “The song just about an individual meandering through a journey, trying to make sense of everything,” he says. “Sometimes music can actually help you in this journey so you don’t feel alone anymore. Loneliness can be shared through music, and by doing that you’re not as alone anymore.”
Bleedin' Aura is out now on Spitfire Music and available at markloughman.com.
Mark Loughman This Is How It Feels To Be Alone