Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Tea Party - Release

On March 25th I will attend my tenth Tea Party concert. The Tea Party are more than just a band for me, they are like old friends, and while I have never met any of them personally, I have seen them so many times and I know their music so thorough and so well, I have created a stronger connection to them than any other band, probably ever. Everyone has their local flavour of music that they love and most of the world does not nearly appreciate as much as they do; and for me it is The Tea Party. The Tragically Hip may be Canada’s best kept secret but The Tea Party are my dudes, they are the band I constantly go to see, they are the band I love uppermost.

The twenty-fifth of March will be significant for me for the reasons already mentioned, but this concert tour itself is significant. This is the twenty-year anniversary tour of their third studio album “Transmission.” I was a too young to see the original tour for “Transmission” but still I have been going to Tea Party concerts for nearly two decades now and finally I will get to hear all the songs from “Transmission” I have yet to hear live. I have read in interviews how difficult it was to perform songs like “Transmission” and “Babylon” live, and I do not believe I have ever heard less well known tracks that I love like “Emerald,” so this will be a great experience for me. It is all very exciting.

One of the first albums I ever purchased on CD was Tea Party’s “Transmission” and it was the first album that was not released prior to my birth that I purchased on CD. You could probably surmise from the consistency of my Tea Party concert attendance that the “Triptych” tour when it came to Calgary was my first ever live show. Lastly the song that made me buy that “Transmission” CD was “Release.”

I had really enjoyed songs on the radio, because Tea Party used to get played on the radio here in Canada, like “Fire in The Head” and “Temptation.” I had also heard and thoroughly enjoyed their first two albums, but there was something about “Release” that got its hooks into me and made me really want to own that album, plus “Temptation” was on the same album so it seemed like a good purchase.

I was not disappointed; obviously.

“Release” was written in support of the White Ribbon Campaign, a Canadian born global movement to end violence against women, and with even a cursory glance at the lyrics it is clear there is a concern for women and fear of what a man might do. I have always known this, not so much the White Ribbon Campaign connection but I always knew this song was about a man wanting the woman he loves to be safe and free, from him.

It was dark, and it brooding, and contain a self loathing and sadness that I really connected with when I was young. I loved a great many things, but very little loved me back. There was a darkness in my heart comfortable with combat and violence, but there was also a temperament of compassion and devote desire to help. The narrative of a man relinquishing his emotional hold on a woman for her betterment, for her safety and freedom was a story that was swarming around in my head and Tea Party brought it to life in musical form.

While “Release” is clearly a song that is pro women’s’ rights, and that is great, but the focus for me was always on requited love, because of course it was. It would be equally easy to interpret “Release” as a man letting go of the love he desires but will never obtain. All the hurt and ugliness inside this man’s hurt that consumes him will not be allowed to contaminate another, certainly not the one he loves, and;

“I want you to be free,
I want you to be free, from me.”

It is really rather sweet when you look at it from that angle. In this way “Release” contrasts the last review HIM’s “For You” very nicely. One is the stubborn refusal to dismiss a deep deadly love, and the other is salvation from it. Both are unrequited, one is an emotional prison, the other, a release.

Sometimes there is a continuity to these reviews.

The Tea Party’s “Release” is, as have as far as I know, the best song ever written to promote an end to violence against women, but also, in my opinion, one of the best songs in Tea Party fantastic playlist. It is a song so rich in conflicted emotion how could it be anything less?

- King of Braves

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