A quick perusal of the history of rock & roll will tell you that most songs are concerned with three things: getting laid, getting dumped or getting cheated on. Rare is the songwriter that explores the challenges of commitment, fidelity and growing old with dignity – which is not surprising, since rock stars are not well known for any of those things.
But most rock stars are not like Robert Forster, the former Go-Between. Back in 1993, Forster made his second solo album, Calling From A Country Phone. It’s one of the happiest albums you could wish to hear: Forster was newly married and blissfully content. Thirty years later, pushing 65, Forster is still married, still happy, and still wants you to know all about it.
Take his new song Tender Years, from The Candle And The Flame, Forster’s eighth album outside the Go-Betweens. “I see her through the ages / She’s a book of a thousand pages,” goes the opening line, over a shuffling rhythm and a sly melody that Forster, as usual, barely tries to sing. Yet it fades out in a richly harmonised croon: “See how far we’ve come.”
But the shadow of mortality hangs over The Candle And The Flame.… Read more..