Friday, 29 November 2013

Ian Watkins: Signs In The Songs?

On November 26th 2013, Ian Watkins, former lead-singer of the popular rock band Lostprophets, pleaded guilty to thirteen sexual offences.

Fame and fiasco tend to concoct a curdling mix that the general public find unpalatable and difficult to comprehend. For one reason or another, we accept the crimes of an ordinary civilian as an unfortunate feature of society; but when the culprit is famous, complete and utter uproar ensues. 

The Ian Watkins case is enough to bring sweat to the forehead of any experienced professional, and in this article, the grimy details will be spared. Customarily, questions will be asked of the police regarding their failure to prevent Watkins from engaging in his most aphotic fantasies. Concerns were raised and ignored, and the officers that neglected their duty will be duly punished.

That, however, changes nothing. Watkins utitlised his sparkling reputation and rock-star ruggedness to target obsessed fans and to ensure that he would be remembered as one of the UK's most twisted paedophiles in history. 

Despite the deceptiveness of the Welsh singer, clues were there to be clutched and many of them could be found in his actual song lyrics. Of course, there exists the prickly problem of ambiguity, but in one song in particular, I believe the dark mind of Ian Watkins was projected onto paper...

Lostprophets - Still Laughing (2001).

Released in 2001 and included on the Lostprophet's first album 'The Fake Sound of Progress', 'Still Laughing' is one of the band's less popular songs. Its sinister introduction and slow pace develops an eerie aura in any situation, but it is when we look at the lyrics that things become unsettling.

Contributors to the website submit their thoughts on underlying messages within songs and had this to say about 'Still Laughing':

  • 'I think he's confused on what to do, which direction to follow in life... and that others just follow the crowd'
  • 'He leaves his past behind and forgets the people he knew'
  • 'I think the song is about someone that has lost all that he holds close'
As we know, Watkin's certainly did not 'follow the crowd' and was indubitably 'confused'. In hindsight, it is easy to attribute lyrics to some deeper meaning, but in my opinion, the lyrics in 'Still Laughing' are too blatant to ignore. 

Come take a look
Because all this could mean, that I
Don't really care
Who ends up gettin' hurt

Please take a look
If it's judgment versus instinct
How do I feel
When my feelings don't even work?

You know that I'll believe
'Cause I can see it in your smile
Time stood still for me
When you called

Said I, answer me this
Yes, all I have is questions
You can't slip away
And hide behind a false truth

Time takes too long
Just seems like
I'm still standin' here now
And I can't even feel
The rain that hits my shoes

You know that I'll believe
'Cause I can see it in your eyes
Time stood still for me
When you called

I'm still waitin', I still bleed
That's a sign that I'm still me
I'm still breathin', I can see
So I must be alive for real

When will I get there?
I should be here by now
Got it all worked out
Did I see you laughin'?
Yeah, funny, it's not me

In time
All I want is in away
Gone too long
And now it's gone, it's gone

I'm still waitin', I still bleed
That's a sign that I'm still me
I'm still breathin', I can see
So I must be alive for real
So I must be alive for real
Yeah, I must be alive for real
I must be alive for real
  • 'Come take a look, because all this could mean that I, don't really care who ends up getting hurt'
Is Watkins asking for help? Is he inviting people to investigate him and stop him from hurting the people that have made his career so successful (fans etc.)? 
  • 'How do I feel when my feelings don't even work?'
Is Watkins acknowledging that he is different to everybody else? Is he admitting that he has an illness and does not care who he causes harm to? When linked to the line above, connotations of inflicting pain and mental instability arise. 
  • 'You can't slip away and hide behind a false truth'
Although he knows that his thoughts are wrong, they are too intense and too appealing to ignore. His life as a lead singer of a rock band hides his dark inner thoughts, but it is becoming too much for him and he cannot continue to let these thoughts rest in his mind without acting upon them.
  • 'I'm still waiting, I still breathe, that's a sign that I'm still me'
He had not yet acted upon his darkest thoughts and the little sanity within him is preventing him from doing this. The monster inside of is still waiting to commit these horrific crimes, but the morality he knows he possesses will continue to stop him from carrying them out.

Again, the problem lies with ambiguity and any old meaning could be attributed to the lyrics in 'Still Laughing'. The crimes have been linked to 2008 when Watkins was engaging in heavy drug use, however, a burning desire to rape a child does not spontaneously emerge in a normal human's mind. Watkins is, and was, ill and personally, I believe these sick ideas and fantasies plagued his mind from a young age and these thoughts are reflected in this very song. 

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