Music is made for many reasons, sometimes for commercial gain, sometimes as a rallying cry, maybe merely for fun or for theatrical or cinematic reasons. Possible the purest and most honourable reason is as a dedication, a tribute to a lost loved one, a commemoration and remembrance, and that is exactly what Lewis Papier has done here.
A memorial to his late cousin, Natalie Papier, her saying “save my seat,” is immortalised in the song, a saying which would be heard when there was a gathering, particularly if that gathering was to listen to her Uncle Leo play his guitar for family and friends. And even if you are not as connected to the heart of the song as its author, it is a beautiful and emotive piece of music. Capturing a slight musical theatre atmosphere, a haunting and reflective piece from a slightly different time, it is a wonderful biographic narrative blending cherished memories with heartfelt regrets into the perfect elegy.
Whilst it is driven by the lyrics, which are gorgeously rendered by Jon Statham, there are some wonderful musical motifs running around the edge, chiming acoustics, distant choral washes and a meandering, old world electric guitar riff which seems to act as a counter harmony, wandering and echoing through the main delivery. In a culture driven by reckless immediacy and emotional disposability, it takes a rare talent to come up with something as touching and personal whilst also as delicate and universally resonant as this.
Even when dealing with such a difficult and touching subject the song is nothing but celebratory, rather than dwelling on the heartbreak it highlights how she touched their lives, how the world was a better place for her passing through. It is a positivity underlined by the line “We whisper in the dark, How you left your mark, Natalie is your name!” …present tense, alluding to the idea that in our memories people never really move on, that to bring them back all we have to do is remember.
As the song flips through the everyday memories of photographs and colouring books, the food and music of those family gatherings, the tears are as much of joy as of regret, a song which allows people to celebrate together rather than grieve alone. More than anything it reminds us that the price of love is loss, but who would have it any other way?