Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The last unicorn. . .

America is well known for their classic hits in a career that spans from the early 70s to the mid 2000s with a release of their greatest hits.  I don't want to mention those hits as I will most likely write some more blog posts about those songs over the coming months.

Today's blog post focuses on a track called The Last Unicorn, the title song of the fantasy film of the same name released in 1982.  I have always remembered this song and never thought to look it up to see who the band was behind the song and I'm pleasantly surprised to find out it is America.  

The movie was based on a novel by Peter S. Beagle who also wrote the screenplay.  It follows the story of the last unicorn who lives in a forest, who embarks on a quest to find the other unicorns after she is told where they might be.  Like all fantasy stories, nothing comes easy and she must endure a perilous journey to be reunited with her own kind.

The YouTube clip below is the opening of the movie but the song itself doesn't actually start until 2:29.  The wistful introduction helps to set the scene of the delicate nature of the magical unicorn.

When the last eagle flies over the last crumbling mountain
And the last lion roars at the last dusty fountain
In the shadow of the forest though she may be old and worn
They will stare unbelieving at the last unicorn

Isn't it always the way, that beautiful creatures are either wanted badly by people, to exploit for their own purposes, to possess and have power over, or to hide away so that they cannot be shared with others.  I wondered as a child what it might be like to be the last unicorn - to be admired and sought after.  The thought of it scared me because I knew that being the last unicorn meant that you were suddenly in more demand, that no matter how hard you would try to escape, people would always be after you, peace would never be yours, and you would need to come across someone or something that would help you to find safety and security.

When the first breath of winter through the flowers is icing
And you look to the north and a pale moon is rising
And it seems like all is dying and would leave the world to mourn
In the distance hear the laughter of the last unicorn

I'm alive, I'm alive. . . 

The bass guitar kicks in during this verse as with the drums.  The harmonies join in during the third line as it did in the first verse.  The oboe that plays in the interlude before the next verse helps to add to the instrumentation and the overall texture.  In the next verse, the strings build together with the harmonies in the third line when reference is made to the sky.  The words create some beautiful imagery that even though the world around us may be cold and sad, that the magical laughter of the last unicorn can be heard.  Should we take this to mean that even though we may experience some desperate times, heartache, loneliness and sadness, that we must never lose hope or lose sight of the potential for magic to exist in our world?  We just need to find it, just as the last unicorn seeks to be reunited with her kind.

When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning
And the future has passed without even a last desperate warning
Then look into the sky where through the clouds a path is torn
Look and see her how she sparkles, it's the last unicorn

I'm alive, I'm alive. . . 

That oboe melody does remind me of the TV theme for Beauty and the Beast starring Linda Hamilton (of Terminator fame) and Ron Perlman (of Sons of Anarchy fame) where there is an oboe melody there too.

This verse is a reminder for me to not be so involved in the mundane daily grind, but remember to look up and see the bigger picture.  I must remember not to enjoy each moment in all of its glory (even the sad, bad or mad ones) because each moment makes us feel alive.

I hope that when I look up to the sky sometime, that I will see the sparkles that you leave behind . . .