THE BEST OF ASH TRACK 18: ARCADIA – A FANS REVIEW

Having topped last year's poll of the fan's favourite A-Z Series single, this may seem to be a slightly unneccessary - and not to mention late - piece. However, although it is clearly a popular song, on the forum I've rarely read people describing exactly why they like it in much detail. I can't speak for everyone, but I'll chip in with my two pennies.

The core quality of the song for me is the underlying sense of joy. A kind of joy I find very similar in feel to that of A Life Less Ordinary - both are uptempo for most part with a slower, quieter middle section that builds to the song's climax. They share driving bass lines and life-affirming lyrics, key elements to both songs.

I'll start with those lyrics, and the title. Arcadia is a region of Greece and apparently an oft-used poetic term to describe a state of paradise and of harmony with nature [/wikipediacopypaste]. In the context of the song, I interpret this as the place to which the song's protagonist dreams to return and be reunited with a loved one

And also on the theme of Greek mythology (which we all know Mr. Wheeler loves - Orpheus... Dionysian Urge... Aphrodite...), the song also brings to my mind the story of Homer's "The Odyssey", the classic tale of an epic journey home, in which Odysseus battles all sorts of obstacles and challenges for 10 years (following a 10-year war) to return home to his wife and son with unwavering determination.

These strike a chord with me personally, living far away from my other half and indeed across a sea, which I can only traverse much less often than I'd like.

To me the song represents the excitement and anticipation of the journeys back to see eachother, both real/literal ("Light up, spark the detonator, now I'm homeward bound"), and imaginary ("I return in my dreams".."Ever close in my mind"). The lyrics and feel of the song perfectly capture this sense of homecoming, a universal joy.

I'm conscious that these are such vague words... "feel"..."joy". I don't think I've described it very well! But no matter how many times I listen to it - which has been a lot on the last two years - every time I hear the intro start up I can't help but break into a smile that lasts the whole song.

So, to avoid rambling too much or getting too mushy, I'll return to the title of of this article - why do I love Arcadia? It's because it's got a great melody (all together now, ohhh-oh-oh-oh...). It's because it's upbeat in both tempo and tone. It's because it's about dreaming about someone you love, and makes me do just that. And among their considerable catalogue of love songs, I think it's one of their finest, and really does represent the best of Ash. (Hellooo, tie-in!)

Ahem. So that's what it means to me. What makes you love Arcadia, or indeed any of the other 18 killer tracks on The Best Of Ash? Get reviewing!

MC

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Added on 14/10/2011 by jedisteve