Atwood Magazine offers a track-by-track breakdown of Portuguese multidisciplinary artist Cristóvam’s new album ‘Songs on a Wire,’ a record brimming with emotive catharsis, rich chronicles, and an ever-evolving narrative.
Stream: “Ferris Wheel” – Cristóvam
In a realm of blissful musicality and inspirational narratives, Portuguese multidisciplinary Cristóvam has returned with his new twelve-track offering Songs on a Wire (released October 2022 via Universal Music Portugal). His kaleidoscope of musical capability and anecdotal fables set him apart, as he narrates devotional themes like no other.
Stream: ‘Songs on a Wire’ – Cristóvam
:: Inside Songs on a Wire ::
This euphoric offering kicks off with “The Spin.” In an ode to its tender, acoustic beginnings, this track soars with Cristóvam’s ability to bring an experimental edge and likening suspense to his compelling discourses. He explains, “The lyrics talk about this couple who one day decided to quit their regular jobs simultaneously and search for a new life doing what they really loved. It’s about the adventure of their rough path, the ups and downs and the unshakable and contagious belief that everything would work out well in the end.” Escalating with reverberating choruses and echoic vocal energy, “The Spin” comes to life.
Next up is one of Cristóvam’s personal favourites from the record, “Golden Days”. Enveloping with nostalgic undercurrents and sweeping melodies, this next offering explores a reignition for a life once lived and the liberations of those younger years. He confides, “The whole thing came together pretty fast. The lyrics speak about this feeling of being caught in an adult life routine and wanting to reignite your life with the sort of spontaneity you had when you were 18 or 19. It’s about the search for a way to light that spark once again.”
Me Oh My
“Me Oh My” is a single that not only stood the test of time, but also came to fruition in a completely incredible way. Cristóvam explains, “I was listening a lot to “Harlequin Dream”, a record by Boy & Bear. Little did I know that Tim Hart from Boy & Bear would actually be producing this album and that he would call his mates from the band to also be a part of it!” As the mellow melodies climb into a tune that offers the perfect backing for his musicality, there’s no doubt that “Me Oh My” finds its home amongst the sun stroked melodies of Songs on a Wire.
Away We Go
Exploring his compelling ambition to meet the world and travel, “Away We Go” explores the thrill and excitement of the memories that await. He confides, “One time I performed it at a show and there was this older couple dancing a lot. At the end of the concert they both came to me and asked what I had written it about, because to them, it felt a lot like their life story. To me, after that day this song became their story and I think that is the magic of songs. They can reshape, adapt and become someone else’s story every time that they are heard by someone new.” Yet again, Cristóvam brings his unique artistry into a soundscape and chronicle of his own- one which uniquely inspires.
The fifth offering from Songs on a Wire explores intensity and infatuation like no other. Morphing from its rock and roll roots into a tune that develops with progressive chord structures and simply addictive melodies, “The Smoke” comes to life with the tender, cathartic spirit that Cristóvam possesses. As he explains, “The lyrics talk about this intense and destructive relationship that is also an addiction to some extent. Two people with two very distinctive personalities and different life goals who seem to be chained together, erasing one another”, we’re reminded that he’s an exceptional storyteller at his core.
“Luna” is a song about love and its distance. What may feel inevitable, and in some cases, obvious, occasionally turns out to be unreachable. In “Luna”, a story of two best friends who love each other more than they may care to admit, comes to life. Cristóvam continues, “I was fascinated with the idea of having a parallelism between this story and the idea of planet earth and the moon being attracted to each other but always keeping the same distance over the years.” As the song developed, as did the chronicle that are now encased in the harmonic tones and mellow warmth of “Luna.”
Next up is “Broken Arrows”, a song soaked in the tender tones of a baritone electric guitar. As one of the last songs written for this record, Cristóvam’s discourses surrounding love’s trials and tribulations are brought full circle. As the lyrics explore the idea of feeling distant from someone you are actually very close to, “Broken Arrows” navigates the search for an older version of a person, who is unfortunately no longer there. As ripening rhythms ascend above echoing vocality, “Broken Arrows” soars with a melancholy like no other.
This next offering makes for an incredible listening experience. As Cristóvam confesses, “This is probably the darkest song I’ve ever written”, we’re reminded of the impactfulness of his lyricism, and likening ability to provoke emotion into every second of Songs on a Wire. He explains, “It’s about this character that is on a losing streak. This person that really cares for someone they’ve hurt and is on an endless cycle of trying to fix wrongs with wrongs. I think the line ‘I’m sorry, I tried, but I ended up twisting the knife’ is by far the darkest thing I’ve written, yet, it pretty much sums up the story of so many damaged relationships.” As we reach the penultimate stretch of this album, “Crooked Lines” consolidates his fables into lasting melodies and impactful metaphors.
In an ode to anticipation, “Chin Up” explores the feeling in which one envisions the very best and worst that can happen in a given situation. Cristóvam confides, “I’ve always been blessed with having people around me who help push me out of those insecurities. People who never lose sight of the importance of the simple things and are always very good at removing drama out of my brain, so I wanted to write a song that could reflect the positive energy that they send and above all, the message that regardless of what goes right or wrong with achieving your goals, you still have everything if you have people that love you in your life.” As positive progressions flow sublimely through echoing melodies and uplifting rhythms, “Chin Up” becomes the perfect mood-booster.
Thick and Thin
This has to be one of the most powerful and personal tunes from Songs on a Wire. Cristóvam explains, “I got married last year and this is a song I wrote to my wife. We started dating at a very young age and went through pretty much everything together. When we got engaged I really wanted to perform something for her at our ceremony and so I wrote this song about our story and how time can fly when you are spending it with someone you care so much for.” Emotion-fueled melodies escalate into a track that soars with euphony, commitment and a simply enthralling musicality. “Thick and Thin” is a remarkable tune.
Cristóvam explains that “Lifeline” was originally written for a film. Bridging the gaps between powerful cinematics and chronicles alike, this penultimate explores the idea that when we are young, we have the capacity to dream and believe we can be whoever we want to be. However, as time moves on, the impulsivity and inquisitivity tend to fade. He continues, “When I wrote this I was going through a period in my life where I could see a lot of people that were my age settling for less, which was something that bugged me a bit and so I could understand and feel that script very well because I was living it and this is the song that came out.” As Cristóvam continues to explore life’s momentum, “Lifeline” offers a gentle reminder of the fleeting moments and possibilities that come our way.
As Songs on a Wire comes to a close, we reach “Ferris Wheel”, one of the focal tracks from the record. Confiding in his confidence and desire to play this tune forever, he explains, “I feel like the subject of these lyrics is a fragile one. This is a song that speaks about loving someone with bipolar disorder, about the almost transparent and thin line that determines how far you can go in trying to help someone without ending up with a burden that wasn’t your own.”
With the resonance of his lyricism, and the delicacy of his instrumentals, Cristóvam’s tales ignite a passion for catharsis and contentment. He continues, “This is a song about sometimes having to choose your own mental health and letting go of battles that aren’t your own.” Needless to say, Songs on a Wire offers a deepened exploration into love, life, loss and everything in between. Cristóvam’s resonance and passion for storytelling set him apart.
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? © Timothy Lima
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