Third Impressions: A Full Song From ‘Whoosh!’

Folks, we finally have it: a song from Deep Purple’s forthcoming Whoosh!

Yesterday, Deep Purple’s publisher, EarMusic, released “Throw My Bones” in music video form, giving us the first taste of what the album will actually sound like. Prior to this, we’d only gotten thirty-second clips from iTunes and other digital music previews, as well as a quick preview of a song even earlier from a portion of Roger Glover’s interview with Bob Ezrin.

I had previously suggested that the song titles which were being reported couldn’t possibly be the real song titles due to some of their rather silly-sounding nature. Well, on that, it turns out I was wrong and those are indeed the real titles, if this song is any indication!

Now, I’d like to quickly provide an analysis both of the newest released song from Deep Purple and the music video which it accompanies.

The Song

I don’t know what lies ahead…

Ian Gillan, “Throw My Bones”

Mark VIII are a set of stellar songwriters accompanied by a stellar producer, and let me say that this one does not disappoint. From the opening fanfare to the keyboard fade, this is a catchy song that serves as a great first impression of the album.

The song has a relatively slow tempo and is mostly in 4-4 with some syncopations. It seems to be in minor key, which one I’m not sure. The guitar and possibly bass dominating line seem to focus on a “G – F sharp – G” progression. The keyboard flourishes in the main body of the song, which begin with “c-c-d-e flat-c-d-c-b flat”, then repeated three half-steps down. The vocal verses begin on long form “D – C – B flat – A”, while the chorus begins on a G. I suppose this all means that the song is in G minor, but I could be wrong.

The song also features a single instrumental solo contributed by Steve Morse, which begins on an E natural. Given that Don Airey’s flourishes leading into the solo had begun on an E flat, it is quite a jarring change, but not unpleasant. The solo itself features Morse’s typical ascending arpeggiations as the main compositional element, seemingly built upon a three-chord repetition played underneath in different keyboard settings by Airey. It’s altogether good and fits in with the song, showing that Morse still has his magic touch.

The lyrics are also really interesting here. On the surface, they’re very simple, lacking any sort of wordplay or wry humor that Ian Gillan often includes. That doesn’t mean that they are filler, however! Gillan and co-lyricist Roger Glover’s lyrics from the Mark VIII era have gotten philosophical and contemplative as the two have gotten older, focusing on the big picture in the world with themes like time, isolation, money, environmental destruction, and acceptance. These songs feel bluntly honest that the world a scary place at times, but never dip into cynicism or fear-mongering. It’s tough, there are bad or uncontrollable forces out there and there isn’t always much we can do, but that’s just what being human is.

This is another one of those big-picture songs, focusing on the inherent uncertainty yet plodding inevitability of the future. However, it’s couched in an extremely unusual way: the future, they seem to argue, is probably going to be good; it’s even called divine at one point! The other focus of the song, meanwhile is that the present isn’t so bad either. There’s no need to rush into the next day, year, or overall phase of life, as the current one is pretty good.

All I’ve got is what I need

And that’s enough as far as I can see

Why should I walk into the great unknown

When I can sit here, and throw my bones?

Ian Gillan, “Throw My Bones”

In 2020, which is less than a quarter through and has already been incredibly chaotic with no end in sight, this is not something that’s usually argued.

One last thought before I move on. The first thing that jumped to my mind when listening to the song was the 2005 album Rapture of the Deep. The production is a little crisper on this one (though I have nothing against Rapture’s production), but other than that this sounds more like that album than either Now What?! or Infinite. Would anyone reading this agree?

The Video

Deep Purple’s design team held out for a long time before showing us anything about the album’s design. The wait, as it turns out, was well worth it.

From around 1:55.

This music video is just what I think a video should be: stylish and memorable. Just look at that screenshot above and tell me you’re not at least a little bit impressed.

On the general feel of the video, it actually captures the style of the cover, in my opinion. There are moments that look like paintings and moments that look real. All throughout, though, something doesn’t quite add up visually. The colors are too bright, the lines too crisp…overall it’s a beautiful effect, but perhaps a bit disconcerting.

This video also has a surprising depth to it as it follows the spaceman from the cover of the album on a journey across the planet, touching both upon the natural world and upon the human world. The spaceman’s exact nature is unknown—are they human coming back down to earth after an extended adventure? An alien exploring a strange land? It’s left deliberately ambiguous as the spaceman travels the globe, simply taking in the sights. The natural world, the human world, people engaged in all sorts of activities…all come under the spaceman’s nondescript gaze, and ours on this side of the screen.

The spaceman even sees a bit of football!

What he passes is equally interesting: mostly, he views people in motion of some sort; fellow walkers, drivers, cyclists, and so on. Cars zip past, planes land, and the video even shows a rocket launch.

The first feeling one might get is of sadness and incredible isolation. The strange protagonist of our journey never even takes off their space suit. We never see their face except for the barest suggestions of it from faraway. By the end, the figure begins fading away, a process continued on the album cover, with not a soul in sight.

There’s another way to look at it, however. As the figure journeys along, they witness life in full swing and in constant motion, not frantic, simply normal. It was probably sheer coincidence that this video was released as a worldwide pandemic that is shaking our very way of life has become very serious. At the time of the video’s release, an increasing amount of the world’s population finds itself under lockdown of varying degrees of strictness. Cars are in garages, businesses are closed, beaches are closing, and people are at home.

In this context, this video showing life on the move and making it beautiful is incredibly poignant. It’s almost as if, in this three-and-a-half minute experience, in a song that quietly asks what’s wrong with simply enjoying the present and in a video that shows the simple beauty of every day life, we are all reminded that things are going to be okay.

In conclusion, this song and video are just what we all need right now as the world is topsy-turvy. With a full song unleashed on the world, we can definitively say goodbye to the era of Infinite and say hello to a new era of music for Deep Purple. I, for one, think it’s going to be a good one.

One last glimpse at Infinite in the rear-view mirror!

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2 thoughts on “Third Impressions: A Full Song From ‘Whoosh!’

  1. Really enjoyed this in-depth analysis! Many interesting points.
    Throw My Bones is my favorite so far, probably because of the catchy, strong riffs. I don’t know if it sounds like the Rapture album… but maybe because it’s been a while I listened to that album. The solo part reminded me of Yes’ Oh Würm but then when I listened to find how exactly they sound alike, I couldn’t, strangely.
    The video and the artwork is beautiful and pretty much the best for recent Purple albums in my opinion. I’ve never associated the video and the message with the pandemic situation before but now that you mentioned, I think that’s a good way of thinking about it.

  2. Thank you so much for this analysis. You have made me appreciate the videoclip a lot more (honestly I never paid much attention to it); it amazes me how many details and hidden emotions are to be found in there. The Whoosh! man is a total mystery indeed. One of the reasons Mark VIII is my favourite is also how deep and interesting the writing has become; there is a lot of narrative in their newer works.

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