"My Heart Is Not A Machine," Whitley #MusicMonday

Monday, October 07, 2013

source: Whitley's Facebook page
Another Monday, another Australian artist to talk about. The thing is, I'm not sure Whitley is still Whitley. Sometime in 2010, the artist formerly (or currently) known as Whitley, of Melbourne, Australia, decided to make a move to London and start going by his given name, Lawrence Greenwood. Except an internet search doesn't seem to favor, chronologically, either Whitley or Lawrence Greenwood, and both Facebook pages have been updated with a similar frequency.

Regardless, the song I'm posting today is by Whitley (featuring Esther Holt), which is the name Lawrence Greenwood is said to have used to release music between 2007 and 2009. And yet, the song "My Heart Is Not A Machine" was released this year.

"My Heart Is Not A Machine" is more of a mood song for me than an unprecedented work of genius. (I mean, my general stance on music and writing and art is that it's all been said and done before, and better ... but that doesn't mean it can't be good, or enjoyable.) It's an excellent transitional autumn-winter song, with its acoustic-meets-psychedelic beat and hollow, lonely vocals and a moody yet monotonous tone. If this were less acoustic, more upbeat and a little more angry, I'd probably write it off as "emo rock" (something I stay quite far away from, so I might even be mislabeling).

But it's not, which is what makes it so "good." My favorite line? A very fitting "my heart is not anything / that you haven't seen before" ... yet Whitley goes on to sing that "my heart is not a machine / it beats alone in all the darkness of the night / my heart is all I have / and I pledge it all to you."

It ends suddenly, like life often does, following a mini song breakdown featuring a beat that resembles a heartbeat. The song is so fully formed around this metaphor, like a concentrated vial of matter left to thrive and feed upon itself, only to be uncapped and set free into the atmosphere. I find that's it extraordinarily difficult as a writer to keep a piece of writing so focused on one theme, and one thought, unless you are in just the right place at the right time with the right tools. But Whitley does this with flying colors, and in 3 minutes and 38 seconds.

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