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Inflamed (set me free)

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

This song has been a joyful experience from the first moment I started writing it, despite addressing some serious issues.

When Inflamed started to be born, like many other babies it chose a very inconvenient time for it! It had been gestating for several months, and I had a couple of lines written down and a few melodic ideas. But suddenly one day as I was driving into work, the song started to come together in my mind as I drove. I was in complete agony at the thought that this perfect song would form, and then vanish before I had the time to capture it! At a red light I reached for my phone, only to find that it was out of charge. So during that drive I desperately repeated the lines over and over, and as soon as I got to work, I recorded a rough vocal line on my computer.

However, then I had a guest arriving for the weekend. We had a wonderful time together, but every time I had a spare moment, I kept on working on the song. By the end of the weekend, the lyrics and melody were pretty much in their final form.

When it came time to record the vocals, I was recording (as usual) with the help and support of my dear friend Bonnie. She loves Inflamed, and was soon encouraging me to belt it out in a bit of a departure from my usual style. It felt so foreign to me at first that at the end of each line I would break down into laughter, and then the sound engineer would crop off the laughter and get me to sing the next line! I’ve never laughed so hard while recording.

Recording at Everland Studios.

Inflamed did, however, present a few difficulties when it came to the production side of things. I had a hard time expressing to my producer exactly what style I wanted, so I am very grateful for his patience as we tried style after style! We even have a reggae version… could be a future release idea?

Another source of great fun and delight was the filming of the music video (link below). I always wanted it to be light-hearted, to match the sense of joy that I found in the song (despite some of its more serious themes), and it was great fun to plan it out – and a shout-out to Bonnie and Greg for some fantastic input into the storyboard, to my band for rolling with all the crazy ideas, and my wonderful friend Dr Sandy Jusuf for playing the doctor. It was the icing on the cake to be able to film at our local GP and pharmacy, and to have a skeleton to play with – so a big thanks to North Turramurra GP, North Turramurra Pharmacy and Dr Alex Raffles.

However, despite the light-heartedness, I don’t want to shy away from the darker side of the song. I’ve written before about a period of anxiety and a bad flare-up of chronic pain that I experienced during the first covid lockdown. This is another of the songs that had its origins in this period. I was regularly visiting a physiotherapist and a psychologist, and it occurred to me that in some ways, both types of therapists had a lot in common. Think of how a physiotherapist can always put their finger unerringly on the most painful spot, and how they agonisingly work at that spot – and how much better it feels afterwards. I feel that psychologists do much the same thing with emotions – they are experts at finding the thing that is troubling you and that you perhaps don’t want to talk about, and focusing on that thing, and helping to resolve it.

I had been toying with ways of writing a song about this for some time – perhaps a song about pain in its different forms and its resolution (sounds pretty dire to me now!). And I also had the very bare bones of a love song that played on the theme of inflammation. The brainwave I had in the car on the day this song was born was to marry the two together. So Inflamed has a verse about physical pain and a verse about mental pain. It doesn’t have anything in it about therapy, but the original idea probably influenced my plan for the music video – playing up the medical theme.

So that’s the story behind Inflamed! There are links to the song on Spotify and the music video on YouTube below – I’d love it if you would listen, watch, share, like, subscribe!

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