Patience – George Michael (2004)


“Patience” was the 5th album released by North London Singer Songwriter George Michael.

This was his first album of new material for 8 years as he continued to only release albums at his leisure rather than continuing to make an assault on the charts which usually followed with anything he released.

A simple piano ballad and title track kicks off the album. This is a beautiful way to open the album as it is very contemplative as Michael sets the tone of where he is at currently in his life.

The lead single from this album was “Amazing”. It’s a subdued number for a lead single. It’s not got the drama of a big ballad yet it’s such a clever song in its subtle yet basic message. It is a song about love but with a little more depth as this isn’t a song about the easy love that we hear about so often in songs but it tells a very real story even it’s first lyrics:

“I was mixed up when you came to me
Too broke to fix
Said ‘daddy get you gone, I’m missing my baby’
Still missing my baby…”

It would seem that he is talking about a failed relationship but the person he is pouring his heart out to ends up being someone he could love:

I was going down for the third time
My heart was broken, I was not open to your suggestions
I had so many questions
That you just kissed away

Tell me, I guess that cupid was in disguise
The day you walked in and changed my life
I think it’s amazing,
The way that love can set you free

When Michael reviews this situation he comments that he thinks this is amazing. He says this twice and then says my favourite line in the song which is simply:

“I think you’re amazing”

I love the word amazing. I find it a powerful word full of happiness and utter adulation for something. I find it unusual to hear someone being described as amazing especially in song.

“John & Elvis Are Dead” is a horrible title for a song. It’s not the most interesting song in terms of it’s compostion and the initial interested due to the title soon wanes. It refers to John Lennon and Elvis Presley and later Marvin Gaye. This is an ode to these artists and essentially a tribute from Michael.

“Cars and Trains” is my favourite song on “Patience”. It’s not just a fresh sounding modern track but it’s Michael at his songwriting best. The song is about reckless behavior with drugs and unprotected sex. Michael is suggesting that doing these things is the equivalent to jumping in front of cars and trains.

“Johnny’s gone and got himself a new man
He gets laid, every day
Johnny please please, stop pretending
This time, may just end in tears
Take care of yourself
Because you won’t find ‘daddy’
When you’re popping those pills
Oh Johnny, is the danger just part of the thrill?”

There is a break down in the song where the music stops and Michael simply sings the next example in the bridge:

“Pretty girl, little girl, what were you thinking
Just 18 at the time
You were a mother and child, at the same time
You were a mother and child
So young and fucked up baby
Always higher than a child should see…
Forgive me”

The track then hits back hard with it’s beat and it left to just simmer for the final minute and a half. It’s such a cool song and so very creative.

“Round Here” is something he could have put in an autobiography. He is giving us a brilliant insight to his younger years, where he lived, his parents and what was important to him.

“So come with me, let me show you where I’ve lived
I want to put my hands in this earth again
Music fell like rain to the streets
The Specials and The Jam, to The Beat
Even though I think I’ve seen everything there is to see of this world
I gotta be thankful that this crowded space
Is the place of my birth”

This song is about London. It’s about George Michael’s love for London. No matter where he goes it is London he always wants to be in.

“This place I call home
These streets of London
It’s everything I know (everything and everybody)
On the streets of London
I want to thank you”

“Shoot The Dog” is the most political song George Michael has ever done. It is a piece of satire regarding the war in Iraq, President George Bush and Prime minister Tony Blair. The press stated that this would be the song to end Michael’s career with the animated video pushing the boundaries. He even released this as a single.

“So, Cherie my dear,
Could you leave the way clear for sex tonight?
Tell him
“Tony Tony Tony, I know that your horny, but there’s
somethin bout that Bush ain’t right”

The song samples The Human League “Love Action” and uses the sample of the lyrics from that song in the latter stages also. It’s Michael promoting love instead of war but he’s done it in such a piss taking way you have to smile when listening to this one. It’s a great song in my opinion.

“My Mother Had  Brother” is a story about Michael’s Uncle who died the day he was born. For years he had been under the impression that his uncle has simply taken his life but the reasons behind it is because he was gay. With George Michael having struggled with his own issues with his sexuality this revelation was clearly ground breaking for Michael. It’s an extremely emotional song.

“My mother had a brother
Over-sensitive and kind
Seems it all became too much for him..
It seems he took his own life
Mum, I can’t imagine the joy and pain in equal measure
Tears in the dirt, and all over your newborn treasure”

Michael’s empathy of what his uncle went through is quite gut wrenching at times:

My mother had a brother
Same desire, different time
Seems the empty spaces tortured him
Until he took his own life

To lighten the mood of such a deep song Michael offers us “Flawless (go to the city)“. This is the track “Flawless” by The Ones which was a hit a few years previously. Michael has simply added verses to the song and whilst the track remains the same on the whole it transforms the song into one you identify with George Michael. He has made it his own.

“American Angel” is a song about a relationship. It’s uncomplicated in it’s lyric as Michael expresses his adulation for his ‘american angel’.

“Precious Box” is a difficult song to decipher. I think he is talking about a Television (or could be a computer). It could well be a take on people living vicariously through celebrities and being fame hungry. But then I feel the character in the song could be a bit depressed due to a failed relationship and this has pushed him into this rut.

“Please Send Me Someone (Anselmo’s Song)” is about getting over a failed relationship and being eager to move on and find someone else to love.

Next is the quite explicit “Freek”. The inhinbitions have been thrown out and this isn’t a song about love. This is about finding sex on the internet whether this is through porn or meeting others.

“I’ll be your sexual freeek (freeek)
Of the week
I’ll be your inspirational brother (sister) Yo mama can’t you see
I’ll be your sexual freeek
Of the week (Ohh touch it)
I’ll be your educational lover
Your one fuck fantasy”

Michael’s personal life has been well publicized but he really shows that he isn’t going to run away from it anymore. He goes over the line of what is appropriate to say and we are a long way away from the man who gave us “Careless Whisper” – this is more like loud preposition

“You got yourself some action
Said you got your sexy Java
You got your speed connection
Free chat, fuck that, get a little harder

You got yourself a big bed
You shoot off, take your time
In the house with a bitch and a mouse
And your daddy’s plastic how fantastic yeah”

The last full song on the album is “Through”. It starts with the lyrics:

Is that enough?
I think it’s over
See, everything has changed
And all this hatred may just make me strong enough
To walk away”

This is Michael talking about his career, the press and his fans.

They may chase me to the ends of the earth
But I’ve got you babe
And they may strip me of the things that I’ve worked for
But I’ve had my say

Michael is clearly feeling freer than he ever has with this sexuality and drug use public knowledge. He is taking responsibility for his life.

This verse is extremely poignant and honest:

“It’s so clear to me now
I’ve enough of these chains
Life is there for the taking
What kind of fool would remain in this cheap gilded cage
I’ve no memory of truth
But suddenly the audience is so cruel
Oh God, I’m sorry”

Patience Part 2 is just a piano instrumental which sees out the album.

Michael waited a long time to release this album and it was certainly worth the wait. I don’t believe he intended on this being his last album but here in 2015 we have not seen another album of new material released despite a greatest hits and live album topping the charts in that time.

George Michael will never receive the plaudits as a singer nor as a songwriter yet I firmly believe he should because he is one of the greatest pop music artists the UK have ever produced.



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