This week marks the release of St. Louis-based singer-songwriter Pokey LaFarge’s seventh album “Manic Revelations,” which has a decidedly different feel and hits close to home.
On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, LaFarge shared with contributor Steve Potter some of the inspirations for three of the songs on the album and the meaning of the title.
“I can’t speak for other artists, but I’ve certainly read and I know for myself that the creative state, the ideas for songs come, it can come slowly or in a wave,” LaFarge said. “It is sort of frantic, like electricity in your veins. It is manic, a little all over the place. There are some insecurities that come out, some OCD, it is all in there. Everything you are as a person is going to come out in your music; it gets filtered through that manic state.”
On the program, LaFarge shared three cuts from the album: “Riot in the Streets,” “Better Man than Me,” and “Silent Movie.”
“Riot in the Streets,” is inspired by events in St. Louis following the police shooting death of Michael Brown in 2014.
“The song started getting written about Ferguson, but it is overall touching on a national issue,” LaFarge said. “It was written two years ago; is what it is of that time. I’m a songwriter, I write songs. Having to explain them can sometimes take the song out of context, people like to take it out of context. I reserve the right to let people interpret it as they will.”
Some people have not taken too kindly to the subject matter of racial justice, but LaFarge says he isn’t phased by it, staying away from social media as much as he can.
“I don’t read anything about myself, especially on social media,” LaFarge said. “I’m too busy just hanging with my people, such a supportive, positive, loving community down around Cherokee Street. It is better to focus on the positives.”
Another song, “Better Man Than Me,” enters into more romantic territory.
“Everyone is working real hard trying to make a living for themselves, trying to make money to put food on the table and pay the rent,” LaFarge said. “Sometimes being a musician is difficult when you’re up and coming. Maybe you’re in your 30s, everyone else is buying houses and having kids and you don’t have a whole lot of money or a girlfriend. Maybe this song is about that.”
The final song LaFarge discussed was “Silent Movie,” which he said reflected the album as a whole.
“In ‘Silent Movie,’ you have the sentiment of escapism, putting headphones on, putting your head under the pillows,” LaFarge said. “Others may be not so subtle, encouraging people to fight. You do need to fight sometimes. But you can’t fight all the time. Sometimes you do need to take a break.”
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