Sometimes a new song has a theme which really captures my imagination. Liverpool based Milan Reid uses the idea that a person’s soul allegedly weighs 21 Grams to illustrate the negative impact of a relationship. The delicious implication in the song is that the person stole his 21 Grams while they were kissing, and it was stolen because they don’t have a soul of their own. I call that a most eloquent and elegant put down. Read these lyrics and eat your heart out Swifty; you have your work cut out to compete with this.
I had previously heard of the 21 gram soul thing and ever trying to be the complete reviewer, I did a bit of research just for you, dear reader. The physical experiment dates back to the early 1900’s, when folk were more interested in the spiritual world, and where things like seances, tarot readings and the like were in the popular mainstream. In 1901, an American chap measured the weight of 6 dying people by popping their hospital death beds onto an industrial weighing machine, sat back to eagerly wait for the patient to pass, while keeping an eye on the scales hoping they didn’t move around too much to upset the measurements.
It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall of his conversation with the family to get their permission and to explain the plan. Today’s research students have it far too easy. To check, he also allegedly poisoned 15 dogs and weighed them as they died too. He concluded dogs have no soul. If that was not bizarre enough, he suggested the experiment should ideally be carried out many more times so as to check his results. Well, I knew you were going to ask.
To accompany the lyrics, the tune has a nice understated late-night shuffle to it and Milan’s vocals are suitably deep and fractured sad. This is perfect listening in bed with the headphones on, or downstairs finishing off the last glass of wine material.
Milan Reid has already released a debut album ‘Closeness Over Time’, which contained a series of melancholy full acoustic based tracks. Here with 21 Grams the first released track from Milan’s planned forthcoming album there is a wider more electronic dreamy soundscape. The beauty is in the detail, and what helps make 21 Grams complete, is the sound of those sad guitars, and as they develop a lovely gentle touch of distortion and fuzz as the tune progresses. It is almost as if this song is slowly losing itself to emotion.
I admit Milan Reid is someone who has before this tune passed me by. As I am a sucker for a sad song from a sad boy with a clever way with words and imagery (witness my love of Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen), I’ll be looking out for more tracks with interest. There’s certainly something in Milan Reid’s music that fans of Elliott Smith and Radiohead would get into. Check out this guy; it’s never boring.