Behind the Song
I was listening to a Fairhazel song called “Joyce” when I felt inspired to play around with the melody I was hearing. This happens to me sometimes: I’m grooving with a song and feel the urge to make music.
So I strapped my capo on the fifth fret and began picking out notes in the C- and F-chord shapes. I came up with a picking/strumming pattern I liked.
Then the words “Pressure and Time” occurred to me. I don’t know why … maybe something about the repetitive nature of the riff I played.
Anyway, those two words called out to me. Why? They are uttered with gravelly significance by Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption, one of cinema’s finest achievements.
Freeman’s character Red is describing the nature of his new friend Andy Dufresne, who likes to find and polish rocks.
As I recollect (with a little help from the internet) Red saying …
“I expect it appealed to Andy’s methodical nature … Geology is the study of pressure and time. That’s all it takes, really. Pressure and time.”
From there, I applied this idea of pressure and time as an almost evolutionary force, shaping us, raising us up, and ultimately clearing us away.
There’s a hint of fatalism in the song that I don’t necessarily agree with, that bothers me a bit, as heard in the bridge: “You can call it chaos / a curse of fate / but it ends every evil / you just have to wait”
At one point I tried to rewrite this to include a more hopeful presence of human agency, but I decided it derailed the song. So I left as is.
NOTE: The lyrics below contain a difference to the recorded version in the third line (“crushing coal into diamonds”). I originally had written “turning” instead of “crushing” and recorded it that way. But later I changed it because “crushing” is a more vivid verb and it alliterates with “coal.”
As Red spoke of Andy and the ages speak to us crushing coal into diamonds and diamonds into dust The world turns Life learns My love burns from pressure and time pressure and time You don't have to force it you couldn't if you tried if you're lucky you can ride that wave only a fool leaves unsatisfied The world turns Life learns My love burns from pressure and time pressure and time you can call it chaos a curse of fate but it ends every evil you just have to wait The hands of God are on me they squeeze me in a ball ignite a fire in my belly so I bounce back when I fall The world turns Life learns My love burns from pressure and time pressure and time