"Slipping Away" by Ollie Bond


"Slipping Away" by Ollie Bond

Review

I'd like if I may to share with you news of "Slipping Away", (madstered at Abbey Road no less) the first new Ollie Bond release since his "In The Darkness" in March 2021: though given his "day job" as a doctor, I think we can understand what else he has been up to during those months.

As it happens, the song itself seems to be addressing a health issue: of a mental variety.

Like its predecessor, it's more sombre than not: serious yet compassionate, sung from the perspective of one who has suffered from mental ill health, trying both to evoke the experience (as best anyone possibly might) to another while also expressing gratitude for  support & understanding given during that time. Nevertheless, despite all this, the narrator feels that his lover ultimately cannot understand the depths of his illness truly and that its impact upon her will over time prove so great that she will be unable to cope any longer, despite her best intentions.

Thus the song comes across as a desperate last attempt to explain the unexplainable & make a plea for continued support, while acknowledging that he understands why in the end a breaking point may be reached.

Consequently you get an accumulating succession of powerful & imaginative imagery as he desperately tries to nail the one analogy which will best capture his plight (and this makes the point implicitly that mental ill health has nothing to do with cognitive attributes such as intelligence nor poetic skill as both are displayed in abundance) yet ultimately the sense of   helplessness and anticipated failure imbue the song. I think ultimately he'd rather suffer alone than hurt another.

This terribly sad & terribly poignant song is a testament to Ollie's values as well as writing skills & despite the story, is a beautiful listen (although it's hard to ignore the message to be honest).

In true Ollie style, the song starts sparsely (and that is completely appropriate) and builds up to create different dynamics throughout its duration: this time with a piano base which accentuates the pathos. The other parts & harmonies which enter later do not, on this occasion take the song elsewhere: they are handled with much discretion & sensitivity and add interesting new textures without for example increasing the volume much: and again I am sure that's the right touch.

This is excellent music but it goes beyond that as it touches to the deeper parts of listeners and demonstrates understanding of others. It struck a chord with me & think it will with many others.

Where it sits with its own composer, I'll leave to Ollie himself: "Slipping Away is a song about the hesitancy in current society about opening up about mental illness. It takes the position of someone in a long term relationship worrying about pushing their partner away by opening up about their health, and in the process letting their thoughts run wild and worrying that the relationship is over. This is definitely the song that means the most to me, and it made it even more special for it to be mastered at Abbey Road....."

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